Band-Aids Versus Stitches
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The United Nations has approved sanctions against Haiti’s most powerful gang boss for blocking fuel and aid supplies in the ailing Caribbean country but stopped short of ordering the deployment of a multinational security force to restore the nation’s security, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The resolution calls for nations to immediately freeze gang leader Jimmy Cherizier’s assets and ban him from entering their countries. Cherizier leads a coalition of nine gangs and his gunmen have been blockading the main fuel terminal at the port in the capital of Port-au-Prince since last month.
The blockade has halted most fuel, food and medicine from entering Haiti, which continues to grapple with a political crisis, gang violence and natural disasters. The country has been paralyzed by the violence and sporadic political protests against Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Recently, cholera broke out as a result of deteriorating sanitary conditions.
Meanwhile, the criminal leader has demanded Henry’s resignation and rejected requests by the government to open humanitarian corridors.
UN officials said the resolution is the first step to aiding Haiti but many analysts questioned whether the move will impact Cherizier. The US sanctioned the gang leader in 2020 for his role in organizing a 2018 attack on a Haitian slum that destroyed more than 400 homes and left at least 71 people dead.
Others noted that the resolution dropped an earlier proposal encouraging the immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force to support Haiti’s beleaguered security forces. The US and Mexico are working on a second resolution but diplomats said that it will take time to put together such a force.
While some Haitians say a delay would result in worse gang violence, opposition groups worry that foreign intervention would just shore up Henry’s government, which is considered illegitimate by some.