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haiti

Dozens Of US Citizens Evacuate Haiti On State Department Charter Flight Amid Increase In Gang Violence 

Dozens of US citizens have been evacuated from Haiti on a State Department charter flight this past Sunday while others wait to be taken back to the states as well. The departures are a result of increasing gang violence and political instability which has left necessities like food and gas in short supply. 

The State Department said that the flight departed from Cap-Haitien and landed in Miami International Airport, but they warned Americans to only consider taking the flight if they could reach Cap-Haitien safely. Government officials are now “assisting with next steps,” after more than 30 Americans made it safely to Miami over the weekend, according to CNN

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A Florida-based nonprofit has also been working to rescue the more than 100 people that are asking for assistance in leaving Haiti. 

The problems in Haiti have increased greatly within the last month. Security sources have stated that rival gangs and coalitions have been “wreaking coordinated havoc,” according to CNN

More than 100 miles from Cap-Haitien, in Port-au-Prince gangs took the airport under siege, and they now control 80% of Port-au-Prince, according to estimates from the United Nations. Through this control, the gangs have “severely limited supplies of food, fuel, and water across the city.” 

Vedant Patel of the State Department said that they will continue to help US citizens truing to leave Haiti, calling it a “fluid and quickly evolving situation on the ground.” 

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“We’ll be in touch with them should additional measures materialize. [Haiti is now] one of the most dire humanitarian situations in the world.”

Project DYNAMO is a non-profit, veteran-led, donor-funded international search, rescue, and aid group based in Florida that has also been conducting evacuations, receiving more than 100 rescue requests from Americans currently in Haiti. 

“What we find is, every time we rescue one person, that actually turns into three or four or five. That’s usually how it works. It is very hard, [we’re] trying to focus on Americans who are in remote areas where no other rescue resources exist. We’ve been working day and night,” co-founder and CEO Bryan Stern told CNN Monday afternoon.

Stern also stated that the waiting list of Americans needing rescuing in Haiti is currently in triple digits, but Project DYNAMO is in need of more funding.

“We need people’s help, and we need it badly. Some of these people are in extremely dire circumstances, and we can do it. I just need help with resources,” he said. 

US Special Envoy To Haiti Resigns Over ‘Inhumane’ Expulsions Of Haitian Migrants 

The Biden Administration’s special envoy to Haiti resigned this week after citing “inhumane large-scale expulsions of Haitian migrants to their homeland,” which has already been ravaged by natural disasters, and civil unrest. 

Daniel Foote was appointed to the envoy position back in July after Haiti’s president was assassinated. An envoy refers to a messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission, within the government. Beyond the recent headlines regarding the harsh treatment Haitian migrants have been enduring, Foote was known for often complaining about the lack of urgency coming from Washington when it came to improving Haiti’s conditions and infrastructure after so many natural disasters. 

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Foote wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week, stating that he was “stepping down immediately with deep disappointment and apologies to those seeking crucial changes.”

“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life.”

“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own,”  he wrote

One official within the White House claimed that Foote had consistently tried to have a greater oversight presence in Haiti, especially when it came to policies that would improve the nation’s infrastructure. The administration consistently told Foote his requests were not appropriate, according to the official who chose to remain anonymous. 

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The White House and Biden Administration has been under major fire in recent weeks when it comes to Haiti. Many Democrats and immigration rights activists have gone online to condemn the government for expelling thousands of Haitians without a chance to seek asylum; which violated American principles.

Even more recently, images were blasted all over social media showing Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against Haitian migrants, including a whip, leading many to make the obvious comparison to slavery and the power dynamics that still exist within the American system to this day. 

US officials are currently ramping up their deportation efforts and organizing to get seven expulsion flights from the US to Haiti a day; this would mark one of the swiftist and large-scale expulsions from the US in decades, and in the middle of a worldwide health crisis. 

“When someone who is tasked with Haiti policy at the highest level resigns because recommendations are ignored and dismissed it’s not only troubling, but shows you this administration does not tolerate anyone who won’t go along with their distorted view of the facts. Dan Foote is a world class diplomat who refuses to be told what to do. I wish more foreign service officers had his courage to stand up and call out their bosses,” said Damian Merlo, a Republican strategist who has worked for years on Haiti policy and is now a registered lobbyist for the country’s government.