US to pull visas of Haitian officials, send assistance

Oct 12, 2022, 11:40 AM | Updated: 4:42 pm

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. government will pull visas belonging to current and former Haitian government officials involved with gangs and other criminal organizations as well as provide security and humanitarian assistance to Haiti, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The officials spoke to reporters by telephone on condition of anonymity as a U.S. delegation was arriving in the Caribbean country that has been paralyzed by gangs and antigovernment protests and is facing severe shortages of water, fuel and other basic supplies.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday that the U.S. will increase “security assistance” to Haiti’s National Police “to strengthen their capacity to counter gangs and reestablish a stable security environment.”

The U.S. officials who briefed reporters declined to name which Haitian officials would see their visas revoked or how many would be affected, adding only that the measure also applies to their immediate family members.

The U.S. officials also said the government is working with Mexico on a U.N. resolution proposing specific sanctions and additional measures to address the many challenges Haiti faces.

The officials declined to say how the upcoming aid would be distributed, although they noted that the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a major cutter at the request of local officials. The agency said it diverted a 270-foot (82-meter) cutter to patrol waters near the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Officials also declined to say when, how and what kind of security and humanitarian assistance will be deployed, adding only that supplies such as bleach, water jugs and oral rehydration salts will be distributed amid the cholera outbreak.

As of Sunday, authorities in Haiti had reported 18 deaths and more than 260 suspected cases of cholera in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

“Cholera has arrived amid serious ongoing social and political unrest,” said Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, adding that the situation complicates “efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and to respond the outbreak.”

Etienne warned on Wednesday that cases are likely significantly higher than what’s being reported because they are concentrated in areas affected by escalating street violence and gang activity.

Brian Nichols, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, flew to Haiti on Wednesday for meetings with politicians and civil society leaders, including Prime Minister Ariel Henry and a prominent group that has pushed to lead a two-year transitional government and opposed Henry’s petition for foreign troops.

Nichols was accompanied by the military deputy commander of the Defense Department’s Southern Command, White House senior advisers and other officials.

The trip comes just days after Henry requested the immediate deployment of foreign troops to help with security. Gangs have blockaded a major fuel depot and protests against Henry have added to the problems.

“The delegation will assess how the U.S. government can continue to provide various forms of assistance and promote accountability for those responsible for criminal acts,” the U.S. State Department said.

Since last year, the U.S. has provided Haiti with more than $170 million in humanitarian assistance and another $90 million to strengthen Haiti’s National Police. But the department remains understaffed and has limited resources, with only about a third of some 13,000 officers operational in a country of more than 11 million people where gangs have grown more powerful since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021.

The United Nations’ Security Council is scheduled to discuss Henry’s request later this month. In a letter sent to the council Sunday that was viewed by The Associated Press, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres offered several options, including a rapid action force.

It was not clear whether the U.N. or individual countries or both would send troops under such a plan.

One senior official said it was premature to talk solely about a U.S. security presence, adding that the government was exploring a number of options with the international community and that it doesn’t have to be limited to boots on the ground.

One month has passed since one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a key fuel terminal in the capital of Port-au-Prince, preventing the distribution of some 10 million gallons of gasoline and diesel and more than 800,000 gallons of kerosene stored on site.

In addition, protesters have blocked streets in the capital and other major cities to demand Henry’s resignation. Prices have soared since the prime minister last month announced that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel.

On Monday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the U.S. government wants “to be prudent and responsible in terms of what any such action might look like.”


Associated Press writer Gisela Salomón in Miami contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Lead water pipes pulled from underneath the street are seen in Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Pho...

Associated Press

Biden to require cities to replace harmful lead pipes within 10 years

The Biden administration has previously said it wants all of the nation's roughly 9 million lead pipes to be removed, and rapidly.

3 days ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

3 days ago

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

7 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

11 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

11 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

US to pull visas of Haitian officials, send assistance