On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State intensified its previous advisories, recommending all American nationals in Haiti to leave due to rising safety issues.
The department stated, “Considering the prevailing security conditions and infrastructure hurdles, we advise U.S. nationals in Haiti to exit the nation promptly, whether through commercial or private means.”
Recently, the situation in Haiti, particularly in its capital Port-au-Prince, has seen significant decline. Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy had to temporarily shut its doors due to rampant gang conflicts and gunshots on city roads.
In a concerning event this past July, a U.S. nurse and her child were abducted for ransom in Haiti. Fortunately, they were safely released around two weeks later.
By the end of July, the U.S. Department of State had already released a travel advisory against going to Haiti, citing the kidnapping risks. The embassy also requested its non-essential staff to evacuate the region.
There was a noticeable 28% surge in gang-related violence in Haiti during the initial months of 2023. A senior U.N. official in Port-au-Prince informed the U.N. Security Council that 2022 witnessed a peak in gang violence that hadn’t been seen in years.
This upswing in criminal activities started after the tragic assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, and it hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.
Due to these unsafe conditions, an estimated 165,000 Haitians have been forced to abandon their homes, seeking refuge in makeshift shelters.
In response, the U.S. is endorsing a U.N. proposal for an international police team in Haiti, with Kenya at the helm. This force would mainly address the escalating gang conflicts, particularly in the capital.