One year ago today Haiti's acting president, Jovenal Moïse, was assassinated in his own home. A group of two-dozen mercernaries, most apparently hired from Colombia, were arrested in the days following Moïse's murder, but the story of who was ultimately behind the plot to kill Moïse continues to unfold.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio promoted his policy ideas for Haiti in a recent op-ed. He called out the Biden Administration for a failure to fully engage what Rubio calls a looming crisis of political collapse and unauthorized migration. Rubio's arguments are similar to other recent opinion pieces in The Washington Post and elsewhere, calling on the administration to “do more!”
There has been a brief, no doubt temporary, respite from the expulsion of people back to Haiti under Title 42 this week.
[Warning: This post contains descriptions of extreme violence]
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement on March 17, that read, “Armed violence has reached unimaginable and intolerable levels in Haiti…It is crucial for urgent steps to be taken to restore the rule of law, to protect people from armed violence and to hold to account the political and economic sponsors of these gangs.”
The statement offered the following account of recent violence:
The Biden Administration expelled 450 people to Haiti, including 44 children, 20 of whom were infants, on three flights this week. These flights bring the total to 235 expulsion flights to Haiti since Biden took office, more than 23,000 people in total, and 21,000 in the eight months since the debacle in Del Rio last September. Another 8,000 people were summarily expelled into Mexico during the Del Rio crisis.
As we've been discussing now for a few weeks, the Biden Administration decided to bring enforcement of Title 42 policies, which enable the US government to expel asylum-seekers without allowing them to apply for asylum, to a close on May 23. The announcement has led to a political backlash from Republicans and even many Democrats. As a result, several GOP attorneys-general sued the Biden administration for ending Title 42 too quickly.
In Haiti 4.5 million people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity today, with roughly 45% of the population expected to face severe hunger over the next several months; 1.3. million of them are in an emergency situation. Based on IPC classifications of food insecurity, all of Haiti's regions are at level 3 or 4, meaning that in every department, there is hunger. Level 3 means there is either not enough food, or people can only eat enough if they forego other necessities.
The Washington Post has maintained a consistent editorial line over the past two years: Haiti is becoming ungovernable, Haitians are not able to figure it out on their own, therefore, the United States must step in to solve the problem.
Workers in Haiti's free trade zones are protesting for better wages and improved work conditions. The latest demonstrations began in the CARACOL industrial park near Cap Haitien, but shifted to the industrial zones near the airport in Port au Prince over the last two weeks.
"We are looking for a way to get out of Chiapas because in Chiapas there is no way to live because people are treating you like animals, your rights are being violated. So if we are refugees we are fighting so that we can get out and looking for a way to live so that we can eat.” —Haitian migrant statement to the Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Méxicano, August 2021.
For this week's Black History Month series at the Quixote Center, our board member Serge Hyacinthe explains the cultural and historical significance of Haitian vodou, and how it is often misrepresented.
Biden has deported nearly as many Haitians in his first year as the last three presidents - combined
Biden has expelled nearly as many Haitians in 12 months (20,200+) as were deported during the previous 20 years (22,000-23,000)*** under three different presidents. Indeed, Biden’s administration has likely expelled far more: In addition to these official removal numbers, another estimated 8,000 Haitians were expelled back into Mexico in September of 2021, voluntarily according to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, but in circumstances that make that characterization suspect.