Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained how the US plans to support a proposed UN deployment to Haiti aimed at restoring order in the country. The Whtie House intends to spend $100 million to support the Kenyan soldiers sent to the Caribbean nation. Washington believes the troops could be deployed to Haiti within a few months.
On Friday, Blinken hosted a meeting in New York of countries that support Washington’s effort to get the UN Security Council to approve a resolution that would see Kenya lead an international force in Haiti.
“As the Haitian National Police works to get to full strength and capacity, security assistance from international partners can play a critical bridging role. That’s why the United States supports the UN-backed Multinational Security Support mission,” the American diplomat said in his address.
Blinked went on to pledge $165 million in military assistance to Port-au-Prince and Nairobi. “[The US] also announcing an additional $65 million to further professionalize the Haitian National Police and strengthen its capacity to dismantle the gangs and to safeguard communities,” he announced. “[The White House] intends to work with our Congress to provide $100 million in support, and our Department of Defense is prepared to provide robust enabling support – including planning assistance, intelligence support, airlift, communications, and medical support.”
Blinken noted the White House previously provided Port-au-Prince with over $120 million in security assistance.
The Joe Biden administration has wanted to deploy an international force to Haiti for over a year. In 2021, more Haitians began to arrive at the US border seeking entry. As a candidate, Biden repeatedly denounced then-President Donald Trump’s immigration policy as inhumane.
The situation proved a political nightmare for the White House. US Border Patrol agents were photographed using questionable tactics to round up Haitian migrants near the southern border. The White House has deported tens of thousands of Haitians back to their home country despite the rampant violence.
The White House attempted to resolve the issue by helping Haitian leader Ariel Henry restore order. Henry ascended to power in Port-au-Price with the support of Washington after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July 2021. While it is unclear who is behind the plot to kill Moise, Henry has been named as potentially involved.
Since Henry became Prime Minister, gangs have taken control of more territory. The Haitian leader has responded by supporting Washington’s effort to deploy UN peacekeepers to his country. “Democracy is at peril. Our country needs a return to normalcy,” Henry said. “Improved security must be accompanied by real progress to resolve the political crisis. The support mission will not be a substitute for political progress.”
Last year, the White House pressured Canada to lead the UN mission to Haiti, but Ottawa resisted the Biden administration’s request. In August, Washington announced it had enlisted Nairobi to lead the mission.
There are significant potential issues if UN soldiers are deployed to Haiti. In 2010, UN personnel released sewage into water that contained the country’s drinking supply, causing a cholera outbreak that claimed nearly 10,000 lives. Additionally, according to the State Department, Kenyan security forces routinely commit human rights atrocities.