SOUTHCOM Commander Claims American Troops Could Deploy

( – Haiti is under siege by violent gangs. The criminals have released prisoners, forced the resignation of the country’s prime minister, and have caused the nation to grind to a halt. The situation is so bad that the US is currently evacuating American citizens. A military official recently stated US troops could be deployed to the island.

Haitian Crisis

In 2021, assassins murdered Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in his bed. Members of a Colombian cartel were later arrested and accused of participating in the assassination. After his death, the government was thrown into chaos. An interim president took over, but his time ran out, and Prime Minister Ariel Henry took over. He canceled the presidential elections, leaving himself in charge.

The gangs in Haiti have long been a problem. The economy has also struggled for several years, made worse by repeated natural disasters. Ariel traveled to the African continent in early March to get security help. When he tried to reenter his country, the gangs prevented him from doing so. He had to travel to Puerto Rico and eventually resigned from office.

US Troops?

On March 19, General Laura Richardson, the commander of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), attended an Atlantic Council Front Page event hosted by the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. During the event, she said the US was not ruling out the possibility of troops being deployed to the island.

“We wouldn’t discount that at any time,” Richardson said of possible deployments. However, she made it clear that it would be part of an “international solution.” The commander also said the military made sure Guantanamo Bay’s naval station was ready to deal with an influx of Haitian refugees trying to escape the violence.

Richardson’s remarks came the same week that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres celebrated news that political groups in Haiti selected members for a transitional council that will move forward with presidential elections. The council is going to appoint a replacement for Henry as well.

Gang Leaders Killed

According to reports, a police operation took place in Port-au-Prince on March 21. Ernst “Ti Greg” Julme, head of the violent Delmas 95 gang, was killed by officers.

Julme recently escaped from prison after gang members released thousands from the jails. He was a close ally of the most powerful gang leader in the country, Jimmy “Barbeque” Cherizier. His death came one day after vigilantes attacked members of another gang and set them on fire. Another gang leader was reportedly killed in the violent attack.

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