Updated Mar 11, 2024 - World

U.S., EU and Germany evacuate diplomatic staff from Haiti over violence

Haitian soldiers guard a checkpoint after armed gang members exchanged gunfire with police and soldiers around the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on March 06, 2024.

Haitian soldiers guard a checkpoint after armed gang members exchanged gunfire with police and soldiers around the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 6. Photo: Guerinault Louis/Anadolu via Getty Images

The U.S. military airlifted nonessential embassy staff from Haiti in an overnight evacuation and boosted security in the capital, Port-au-Prince, due to escalating gang violence, American defense officials said on Sunday.

The big picture: Haitian officials have declared a state of emergency and nighttime curfew in response to days of attacks on the capital's airport and other targets by gangs seeking the ouster of the Caribbean nation's Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

  • The violence has forced thousands of Haitians to flee their homes, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that could drive a new surge of migrants to the U.S. border, Axios' Zachary Basu notes.

Zoom in: "This airlift of personnel into and out of the embassy is consistent with our standard practice for embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft," the U.S. military's Southern Command said in a statement to media.

  • The U.S. Embassy in Haiti said in a post to X that it remains open.
  • "Heightened gang violence in the neighborhood near U.S. embassy compounds and near the airport led to the State Department's decision to arrange for the departure of additional embassy personnel," it said.
  • "All arriving and departing passengers work for the U.S. government."

Zoom out: The European Union's delegation in Haiti said on X Sunday that it has temporarily closed its offices and reduced its presence in the country in response to the attacks.

  • A spokesperson for Germany's Foreign Ministry told AFP that due to "the very tense security situation in Haiti, the German ambassador and the permanent representative in Port-au-Prince left for the Dominican Republic today together with representatives from the EU delegation."

What we're watching: CARICOM, a political and economic alliance of Caribbean nations, has asked that officials from the U.S., United Nations, Canada and France attend an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the crisis in Haiti.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include details of responses from the EU, Germany and CARICOM to the crisis in Haiti.

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