SAN JUAN (HPD) — The United States will withdraw the visas of current and former Haitian officials linked to criminal organizations and provide humanitarian and security assistance to Haiti, US officials said Wednesday.
The officials spoke by phone on condition of anonymity as a US delegation arrives in the Caribbean country crippled by gangs and anti-government protests and plagued by shortages of water, fuel and other basic supplies.
The sources declined to reveal how many or which Haitian officials would lose their visas, saying only that the measure also covers family members.
Officials also said the government is working with Mexico on a UN resolution to propose additional sanctions and measures in the face of the many challenges facing Haiti.
Officials declined to say how the aid will be distributed, although they did say the US Coast Guard will deploy a ship to Haiti at the request of local officials.
They also declined to say when, how and what kind of humanitarian and security assistance will be delivered, adding only that detergent, bottles of water and rehydration salts will be delivered in light of a recent cholera outbreak that has killed scores of Haitians and sickened hundreds.
Brian Nichols, head of the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, flew to Haiti on Wednesday to meet with politicians and civil society leaders.
The trip comes days after Prime Minister Ariel Henry called for the immediate deployment of foreign troops to help restore the country’s security. Gangs have blockaded a major gas depot, and the country’s problems have been compounded by the protests against Henry.
The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss Henry’s request in the coming days. In a letter to the council on Sunday, seen by The Associated Press, UN Secretary-General António Guterres offered several options, including a quick reaction force.
It was unclear whether the UN or individual countries, or both, would send troops under that plan.
On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US government is reviewing Henry’s request with other countries “to determine how we can best help remove restrictions on the security of medical and humanitarian measures designed to stop the spread of cholera.
A month has passed since one of the most powerful gangs surrounded a major fuel terminal in Port-au-Prince, preventing the distribution of some 10 million gallons (about 37 million liters) of gasoline and diesel and more than 800,000 gallons (about 3 .6 million liters) of kerosene.