Haiti news live: US evacuates embassy staff as gang violence plunges country into chaos

Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison

Caribbean leaders met in Jamaica on Monday to discuss the ongoing state of emergency in Haiti, where gangs have taken over most of the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, and have forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry out of the country.

Mr Henry is currently in Puerto Rico and has been barred from returning to his home country. A growing number of officials in Haiti are calling for his resignation. According to the Associated Press, the prime minister has rejected the calls. Patrick Boivert, a finance minister, is currently serving as the country’s acting prime minister.

Earlier this month, gangs stormed some of the country’s prisons and set at least 4,000 inmates free, leading to violence and chaos. The gangs also burned police stations and closed the main international airports.

The country then declared a state of emergency. Mr Henry did not attend the meeting in-person on Monday but it was not clear if he attended virtually. It was organised by CARICOM, a regional trade bloc that has pressed for a transitional government in the country for months amid failed promises of general elections.

Mr Henry has served as the country’s prime minister since 2021 and has served the longest term since the Haitian constitution was drafted.


Antony Blinken arrives at emergency meeting in Jamaica

Michelle Del Rey12 March 2024 03:43


In photos: Haiti’s ongoing state of emergency

Workers put down a fire set at an office of Haiti’s power company during a protest to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, March 1, 2024


Residents flee their homes during clashes between police and gang member at the Portail neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024


An injured journalist is helped after he was reportedly hit by a tear gas canister fired by police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 9, 2024. Sporadic gunfire rang out in Port-au-Prince late March 8

(AFP via Getty Images)

A woman with a gunshot wound is transported by two men on a motorcycle as Haiti remains in state of emergency due to the violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 9, 2024


Members of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, USGPN, set up a security perimeter around one of the three downtown stations after police fought off an attack by gangs the day before, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, March 9, 2024


People walk near the cars consumed by a fire, as Haiti remains in the state of emergency due to the violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 9, 2024


Michelle Del Rey12 March 2024 02:43


Haiti’s crisis is prompting thousands of residents to flee to the Dominican Republic

Fifteen thousand people have been displaced in Haiti since the end of last month, when the gang attacks began, according to Le Monde. This has led to some of the country’s residents attempting to cross into neighbouring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Despite the ongoing crisis, border officials in the Dominican Republic have been filmed deporting some of the residents back into Haiti, according to Al Jazeera.

Last year, the Dominican Republic closed its border with the country over the construction of a canal on the Massacre River, which lies in between the two countries. In October, the Dominican Republic partially reopened the border but maintained a ban on issuing visas to Haitian migrants.

Diplomatic tensions continue. After the gang attacks, Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry was denied entry into the Dominican Republic, forcing him to take shelter in nearby Puerto Rico.

Michelle Del Rey12 March 2024 01:43


US and EU embassies begin evacuating staff

The US military said it has evacuated additional nonessential personnel from the country’s Haiti embassy while bolstering its security.

The embassy continues to remain 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. All arriving and departing passengers work for the U.S. government,” the embassy said in a statement posted to X.

According to CNN, the German and European Union embassies have also evacuated some of their diplomatic staff, including their ambassadors, Peter Bauer and Stefano Gatto.

The Dominican Republic’s airspace is currently closed to Haiti.

Michelle Del Rey12 March 2024 00:43


US forces deployed to protect US embassy in Haiti

Over the weekend, US military officials said they had flown in forces to Haiti to up security at the country’s Port-Au-Prince embassy. Authorities were careful to mention that no residents of the country were on the aircraft, amid rumours that senior Haitian officials might be attempting to flee the country as attacks worsen.

The aircraft landed at the embassy compound, meaning that helicopters were involved in the operation.

“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,” according to a statement released by the military. The military had previously ordered the departure of nonessential staff and all family members in July, according to the Associated Press.

Michelle Del Rey11 March 2024 23:43

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