US announces $100M for deployment of multinational force to violence-stricken Haiti

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The deployment of a multinational force to Haiti with a price tag of $100 million was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken following a meeting with Caribbean leaders in Jamaica on Monday. 

Blinken also announced another $33 million in humanitarian aid and the creation of a joint proposal agreed on by Caribbean leaders and “all of the Haitian stakeholders to expedite a political transition” and create a “presidential college,” according to the Associated Press.

The meeting in Jamaica was organized by members of a regional trade bloc known as Caricom, which for months has pressed for a transitional government in Haiti while protests in the country have demanded Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation. Henry said Tuesday that he would step down after a transitional presidential council is established.

“It is clear that Haiti is now at a tipping point,” Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, according to the AP. “We are deeply distressed that it is already too late for too many who have lost far too much at the hands of criminal gangs.”

HAITI ORDERS NIGHTLY CURFEW AFTER ARMED GANGS JAILBREAK THOUSANDS OF ‘VIOLENT INMATES’

Members of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, USGPN, set up a security perimeter around one of the three downtown stations after police fought off an attack by gangs the day before, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, March 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Powerful gangs continue to attack key government targets across Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Since Feb. 29, gunmen have burned police stations, closed the main international airports and raided the country’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Last week, American citizens in Haiti were told to depart as soon as possible and a travel alert was issued for the Caribbean country. 

ARMED GANGS JAILBREAK 4,000 INMATES IN HAITI AFTER DAYS-LONG GUN BATTLE WITH POLICE

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, poses for a photo with Jamaica’s Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith, right, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica N. Nick Perry, left, during a meeting on Haiti at the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Kingston, Jamaica, on Monday, March 11, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Pool via AP)

Scores of people have been killed, and more than 15,000 are homeless after fleeing neighborhoods raided by gangs. Food and water are dwindling as stands and stores selling to impoverished Haitians run out of goods. The main port in Port-au-Prince remains closed, stranding dozens of containers with critical supplies.

Late Monday, the Haitian government announced it was extending a nighttime curfew until March 14 in an attempt to prevent further attacks.

An armed member of the G9 and Family gang rolls a tire to burn at a roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for the urgent deployment of the multinational force and that the mission be adequately funded, said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Currently, funding is at only $10.8 million, with officials in Kenya demanding more than $230 million.

An inmate waves at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, March 3, 2024.  (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Enry did not attend the Jamaica meeting. He has been locked out of his own country while traveling abroad, due to the surging unrest.

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Henry remained in Puerto Rico and was taking steps to return to Haiti once feasible, according to a brief statement from the U.S. territory’s Department of State.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.