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US Marines deployed to Haiti

The Haiti National Police force. (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald/TNS)
March 12, 2024

The United States deployed Marines to the U.S. embassy in Haiti over the weekend to provide additional security and support the airlift evacuation of non-essential staff as increased gang violence threatens to overwhelm the Caribbean country.

A statement released by U.S. Southern Command explained that the operation was requested by the U.S. State Department in order to “augment the security” of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to allow the embassy to continue essential operations, and to provide the safe evacuation of non-essential personnel. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the operation was carried out at night by a U.S. military helicopter.

“This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” U.S. Southern Command stated. “Our Embassy remains focused on advancing U.S. government efforts to support the Haitian people, including mobilizing support for the Haitian National Police, expediting the deployment of the United Nations-authorized Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, and accelerating a peaceful transition of power via free and fair elections.”

READ MORE: US military evacuates staff from US embassy in Haiti

An anonymous National Security Council official told The Miami Herald that the deployment of U.S. Marines to increase security at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and help with the evacuation of non-essential staff members was personally directed by President Joe Biden.

“President Biden approved the operation,” the official stated. “He has been briefed, receives updates from his team, and is deeply concerned about the situation in Haiti.”

According to Fox News, recent gang raids in Haiti have resulted in over 4,000 criminals being released from prison. Fox News reported that the surge in crime has led to over 15,000 Haitian residents fleeing their homes as the violence and death toll continues to rise.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States would commit an additional $100 million to help fund the deployment of a multinational force to Haiti. Blinken also announced that the United States would provide $33 million in humanitarian aid for the Caribbean nation.

On Tuesday, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced he will immediately resign after a transitional presidential council is established and an interim prime minister is appointed. Fox News reported that the prime minister’s announcement came after Blinken met for an emergency meeting with Caribbean leaders in Jamaica to discuss how to prevent Haiti from collapsing in light of the criminal gang attacks against multiple police stations, the country’s main airport, and two of the largest prisons in Haiti.