Some top Biden administration officials are pushing for an international military intervention in Haiti over concerns of a migration crisis, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The government of acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been under pressure over growing gang violence in the country and from demonstrators that are demanding Henry resign. Henry requested foreign military intervention last month to break a blockade of a key fuel terminal in Port-au-Prince, but the Haitian national police have since broken the blockade.
The US proposed a UN resolution calling for a foreign military force to enter Haiti after Henry’s request but has struggled to find a country willing to lead the intervention. The Times report said that while the Biden administration officials want to see military intervention in the country, they don’t want it to involve US troops.
US officials said that the deployment of 2,500 troops and police officers could be enough to secure key areas in Haiti. But countries the US has looked to lead the intervention are hesitant, including Canada and Brazil.
While Haitians are facing violence and food shortage, most people in the country are against the intervention due to the country’s dark history with foreign military occupations. The most recent UN peacekeeping deployment that ended in 2017 involved extensive human rights abuses, including the sexual assault of underage girls, and a cholera outbreak.
A report from NPR earlier in November found that most Haitians oppose foreign military intervention. “All they brought was kidnappings and rape and cholera,” a protest organizer told NPR of the UN peacekeeping deployment. “If the UN sends troops to Haiti, the fighting will get even more intense.”
Henry has little popular support as he was never elected. He was made the country’s acting leader following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, whose killing was never solved.