U.S. and Mexico officials told the United Nations Monday both countries stand ready to intervene in the dire humanitarian crisis crippling Haiti with civil unrest sparked by gang violence, widespread famine, and a cholera outbreak.
Representatives from the U.S. and Mexico presented two resolutions during a special session of the U.N. Security Council that would impose financial sanctions on criminal actors and authorize “a limited carefully-scoped non-UN mission led by a partner country with the deep, necessary experience.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said during a Security Council meeting on Monday that the resolution would “improve the security situation on the ground so that the delivery of desperately needed aid could reach those in need and address the ongoing cholera crisis.”
The nation’s economy has tanked since gangs blocked a major fuel terminal last month, which has forced the closure of businesses and hospitals, according to The Guardian. As a result, U.N. officials warned that about five million Haitian citizens could face catastrophic famine.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has requested international military aid from U.N. officials.
Reuters reported earlier this month that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggested sending “a rapid action force” to help Haiti’s police remove a threat posed by armed gangs, with gang leaders like Jimmy Chérizier, a former police officer known as “Barbecue.”
“[Cherizier] is directly responsible for the devastating fuel shortage that is crippling the country,” U.N. officials said.
Guterres called the situation for the nation’s population, especially in Port-au-Prince, “nightmarish.”
“I believe that we need not only to strengthen the [Haitian] police – strengthening it with training, with equipment, with a number of other measures – but that in the present circumstances, we need an armed action to release the port and to allow for a humanitarian corridor to be established,” he said, according to Al Jazeera.
Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, Mexico’s representative to the United Nations, said the sanctions would be imposed on the regime responsible for the violence and an arms embargo.
“It is not a question of sanctions against the Government, but against those who strike blows against the Government and terrorize citizens,” Ramírez said, according to a transcript from the U.N.
President Joe Biden’s administration said it was reviewing the request last week.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that U.S. officials would deliver humanitarian aid to the Haitian population, adding that the administration would impose new visa restrictions against Haitian officials.
Ambassadors from China and Russia said foreign intervention in the crisis in Haiti could trigger violent confrontation from the population, with many opposition groups refusing support from other nations.
Haitian citizens told Al Jeezera that previous international support failed to bring a resolution, and have called on the resignation of Prime Minister Henry, who has been the country’s 12th leader since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake decimated the country and killed about 220,000 people in 2010.