Vice President Kamala Harris will renew the Biden administration’s push for an international force to assist Haiti in its ongoing security crisis when she meets with Caribbean leaders in the Bahamas on Thursday.
U.S. officials told McClatchy and the Miami Herald that the multilateral force could provide “near-term support” for the Haitian National Police by securing “a limited number of critical infrastructure sites in Port-au-Prince, such as the airport and ports,” relieving the burden on the local police to focus resources on its battle with gangs.
The Biden administration has pushed for a multinational force to be deployed to Haiti since October. But the plan has faltered due to the lack of any nation – including the United States – willing to step up to lead the force, and has run into opposition at the United Nations Security Council, with Russia and China expressing skepticism over the plan.
“In Nassau, the vice president will reiterate our administration’s support for a multinational force in Haiti,” a senior administration official said. “We’ve made it clear that we believe the security and humanitarian situation in Haiti is worsening and the situation on the ground will not improve without armed security assistance from international partners.”
“Any decisions about such a security force would be done in consultation with the Haitian government as well as the UN. Those discussions are still ongoing,” the official added. “We will remain in coordination with partners on next steps to address urgent security needs.”
More than 165,000 people are internally displaced in Haiti due to gang violence, the International Organization for Migration said on Thursday, hindering their efforts to distribute aid. The agency said that severe floods caused by torrential rains are affecting over 46,000 people and displacing another 13,000 others, and that an earthquake that hit the country on June 6 is further compounding the humanitarian crisis.