Haitian crisis: The United States move from words to deeds (sanctions)

CTN News

About 24 hours after the broadcast of an audio-visual message of its chargé d’affaires in Haiti Eric Stromayer on social networks, the U.S. administration announced severe sanctions against two influential figures in the Haitian socio- political landscape. These are the current president of the Haitian Senate Joseph Lambert and the former president of the upper house Yourie Latortue.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced bilateral measures taken with the Government of Canada. These Haitian politicians (Lambert and Yourie) are qualified as corrupt for drug trafficking according to the United States.

In fact, the parliamentarians Lambert and Latortue are pinned for having engaged, or having attempted to engage in activities or transactions that have materially contributed, or present a significant risk of materially contributing, to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production, details a press release from the U.S. Treasury Department.

“Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue have abused their official positions to traffic drugs and have collaborated with criminal and gang networks to undermine the rule of law in Haiti,” the release continued.

”As a result, all assets and interests of the named individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, all entities owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more of the blocked persons are also blocked as a sanction against these two Haitian senators and others who are likely to be designated,” the document states.

Senators Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue are also banned from entering the United States.

Earlier, Canada, through its Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, announced, in conjunction with the United States, targeted sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Regulation for Haiti in response to the unacceptable conduct of Haitian political elites who provide illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs.
This includes (for now) the President of the Senate, Joseph Lambert, and the former President of the Senate, Youri Latortue.

Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue are subject to a transaction ban. Their assets in Canada will be frozen.

The sanctions against these individuals are intended to stop the flow of illicit capital and weapons to weaken and disable the gangs. The Government of Canada will consider further sanctions against other individuals and entities, as well as other measures, to put pressure on those responsible for the violence and insecurity in Haiti,” the Government of Canada said.

The day before the announcement of these sanctions, Eric Stromayer, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Haiti, said that his country was very concerned about the seriousness of the health and security situation in Haiti.

The country has reached a very bad situation with insecurity everywhere where criminals are blocking and restricting access to fuel and holding humanitarian aid hostage. We are part of a major international effort to solve the problem. A small number of people from the political, business and social elite in Haiti and abroad are holding the country hostage for their own personal gain. They are using your suffering to fill their pockets or to achieve their political ambitions,” said the diplomat in a message to the Haitian people.
He went on to say that “the United States is determined to hold these criminals accountable. The U.S. State Department has already imposed visa restrictions on those who commit and encourage violence. We will prevent these bad actors and their family members from entering the United States. We will continue to add names to the list as we identify those responsible for this tragic situation.

Further on, he mentioned other sanctions that the United States is considering.
”There are other sanctions that we will take. Our actions do not stop here. On October 21, the United Nations passed a resolution proposed by the United States and our partner Mexico that will impose international sanctions on those responsible. While the resolution specifically mentions the vagrant known as Barbecue, he is not the only one affected by this decision. The United Nations will sanction malicious actors, regardless of their nationality. Yes, this means that even if American citizens are complicit in committing violence and restricting access to gasoline and aid or participating in arms trafficking, they will be banned from traveling to any country in the world and we will seize their assets,” the US government representative said.

Eric Stromayer noted that the United States, in collaboration with the international community, will work with the Haitian National Police to improve the security situation and allow the delivery of much needed humanitarian aid.

He also made Haitians aware of the resurgence of cholera in the country, calling on them to be cautious.

Finally, Eric Stromayer suggested that Haitians put aside their divisions to resolve this crisis while mentioning that the United States will not abandon the Haitians.

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