The US plans to supply the armed forces of Haiti with high-powered weapons and armored vehicles to assist the country in addressing its security challenges.
The plan was disclosed during a recent virtual meeting initiated by the US government to address the security, political, and economic challenges Haiti is facing and offer support in providing safety for its people.
Haitian Chancellor Jean-Victor Généus said that the island nation has made specific requests to Washington, including training security personnel and providing armaments to confront enemy firepower.
He added that Haiti wants US help in establishing an intelligence service to dismantle Haitian gangs.
“There will be armored vehicles, troop carriers, lethal weapons to fight the gangs,” Généus said, as quoted by CNW. “Americans seem to have changed their minds whereas previously they were opposed to providing lethal weapons to Haiti.”
Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd Robinson said that the US would send personnel to train Haitian armed forces in the first half of 2022.
The virtual meeting between Washington and Port-au-Prince took place a day after 12 of 17 US missionaries kidnapped in Haiti two months ago escaped the street gang 400 Mawozo on Thursday.
Christian Aid Ministries spokesman Weston Showalter said that the missionaries prepared overnight for their escape. When they saw that the timing was right, the spokesperson explained that they escaped through a door and crept silently away along a path with gang members nearby.
Because of the numerous security crises in Haiti, the US has tapped the help of France and Canada to help lead an international effort to bolster security in Haiti and provide better protection for its people.
US Vice President Kamala Harris raised the possibility of an international coalition to support Haitian law enforcement agencies, increasingly outmatched by drug-fueled gangs operating throughout the country.
“The structure of how that would happen, the coordination pieces is something that we all agreed. We needed to explore further,” Western Hemisphere Affairs assistant secretary of state Brian Nichols said, as quoted by the McClatchy news agency.