Haiti is a perpetually failed state in a permanent state of failure that bounces between natural disasters and waves of criminal violence. This isn’t due to a terrorist takeover, any particular leader or any specific cause that can be remedied by foreign intervention.
And the “international community” has tried. Now Biden has decided to try again.
The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that will encourage the “immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force” to Haiti to address the nation’s worst security and health crisis in decades, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald.The draft resolution, confirmed by multiple U.S. and U.N. officials, comes in response to a call by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres last week for the establishment of a rapid reaction force to assist the Haitian National Police. Over the past four weeks, powerful armed gangs have all but sent the country into anarchy, blockading the country’s largest fuel terminals and cutting off its critical roadways.It is the first public indication so far that the Biden administration is willing to participate in a military force in Haiti — although the resolution does not specify what role various nations would play.
A former police officer who leads a gang alliance known as “G9 and Family” has proposed his own plan for Haiti’s future — even seeking seats in the Cabinet — while demanding that the administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry grant amnesty and void arrest warrants against the group’s members, a demand that so far has gone unanswered.
In mid-September, the gang surrounded a key fuel terminal to demand Henry’s resignation and to protest a spike in petroleum prices after the prime minister announced that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel.
That move, coupled with thousands of protesters who have blocked streets in the capital of Port-au-Prince and other major cities, has caused major shortages, forcing hospitals to cut back on services, gas stations to close and banks and grocery stores to restrict hours.
In a recent video posted on Facebook, G9 and Family leader Jimmy Cherizier, who goes by the nickname “Barbecue,” read a proposed plan to stabilize Haiti that includes the creation of a “Council of Sages” with one representative from each of Haiti’s 10 departments.
Henry and 18 members of his Cabinet appealed nearly a week ago for the deployment of foreign troops to quell violence and end the fuel blockade, a proposal that has yet to be formally discussed by the United Nations Security Council, which meets on Monday.
These aren’t just gangs, they’re quasi-political movements that can conduct protests and rally thousands of Haitians. They’re bad guys, but considering that gangs already control much of Haiti’s capital and always have, there doesn’t seem to be much of a solution here. These gangs have government connections and the government arguably already operates as a gang.
I don’t see much of a national interest here except perhaps stemming the further flow of migrants from Haiti to America. And historically our intervention in Haiti has only accelerated migrants rather than stopping migration.