Millions In Taxpayer Funds Fail To Stabilize Haiti

Federal spending records show that the Biden administration has spent $680 million trying to bring security and stability to Haiti. The money was spent through various schemes aimed at helping Haitian politicians restore order and tackle gang violence and organized crime. It also paid for healthcare, infrastructure, and programs to boost economic growth. Despite the spending, however, Haiti has descended into chaos, and gangs control around 80% of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, prompting Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign.

The violence broke out on February 29 while Henry sought international support in Kenya. By March 3, the government declared a state of emergency as gangs broke into several prisons and released almost 4,000 convicts. Mr. Henry, who is in Puerto Rico, resigned days later and said he would stand down when a temporary successor is in place. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with regional leaders in Jamaica, where a committee opted to establish a council of business, civic, and religious leaders tasked with appointing an interim government.

Subsequent reports reveal that the violence is primarily facilitated by weapons smuggled into Haiti from the US. Haiti’s disarmament commission determined in 2020 that there are around half a million weapons in the country despite there being no arms manufacturing facilities. Security expert Robert Muggah said these are obtained via straw purchasers – buyers who acquire weapons in states including Texas and Florida and pass them on to smugglers.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has deployed state guards to prevent an influx of migrants from Haiti. In a press statement, Mr. DeSantis said he had directed various law enforcement agencies, including the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida State Guard, to protect the southern coast. “We cannot have illegal aliens coming to Florida,” he said.

Haiti is situated around 700 miles from the Sunshine State, and records show there were 626 Haitian encounters at the Floridian border in 2021. This figure had exploded to 69,435 in 2022.