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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

US will withdraw visas of some Haitian officials

The US government will withdraw the visas of current and retired Haitian officials linked to gangs and other criminal organizations, and will also provide humanitarian and security assistance to Haiti, US officials said on Wednesday.

Officials spoke to reporters on the phone, speaking on condition of anonymity, as a US delegation arrived in the Caribbean country that has been crippled by gangs and anti-government protests and is facing severe shortages of water, fuel and other basic supplies. Is.

For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday that Washington would increase “security assistance” to the Haitian National Police to “strengthen its ability to counter gangs and restore a safe and stable environment.” Security.”

US sources who spoke to reporters refrained from specifying the names and numbers of Haitian officials whose visas would be revoked, saying only that the measure would also cover their immediate family.

Officials also said the government was working with Mexico on a UN resolution to propose specific sanctions and additional measures to address the many challenges Haiti faces.

He declined to say how further aid would be distributed, although he noted that the US Coast Guard has deployed a Coast Guard cutter at the request of local officials. The agency said it used the 270-foot (82-metre) ship to patrol the waters near the capital Port-au-Prince.

He also did not mention when, how and what kind of humanitarian and security aid would be sent, only bleach, water bottles and rehydration salts to be distributed amid the cholera outbreak.

As of Sunday, Haitian authorities had reported 18 deaths and more than 260 suspected cases from the disease in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

“Cholera comes in the midst of a serious social and political crisis,” said Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization.

Etienne warned Wednesday that the actual number of cases is likely to be higher than the number being reported because they are concentrated in areas prone to street violence and gang activity.

Brian Nichols, the head of the State Department’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau, flew to Haiti on Wednesday to meet with politicians and civil society leaders, including Prime Minister Ariel Henry and a key group advocating for the government’s two-year transition and opposes Henry’s request. Foreign troops will be deployed.

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Associated Press journalist Gisela Salomon in Miami contributed to this report.

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