Under The Cover of Darkness

In an operation executed under the cover of darkness overnight on March 10th, the United States deployed a contingent of Marines to bolster security at our embassy in Haiti. This action came in response to a direct request from the Department of State, aimed at reinforcing the security apparatus in the face of escalating gang violence that has effectively transformed the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, into something resembling a war zone. The U.S. Southern Command, in a formal communication, explained that the operation involved the tactical airlift of personnel, emphasizing the augmentation of embassy security. The operation excluded Haitian nationals from transport on military aircraft, keeping in line with our standard operational protocols.

US Southern Command released the following statement regarding the operation:

“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.”

A police officer takes aim at protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

A Rapidly Deteriorating Situation

This operation was necessitated by the badly deteriorating security situation in Port-au-Prince, where heavily armed factions have mounted aggressive armed challenges against the Haitian government, thereby destabilizing the region. Notably, the vicinity of the U.S. embassy in Tabarre has witnessed significant fighting, with gangs taking control of over 80% of the capital. These factions have orchestrated comprehensive attacks against the local infrastructure, including police stations and the main seaport, and this has led to a mass exodus of inmates from the country’s prisons.

Amid these developments, residents reported being able to hear the evacuation, with aircraft and helicopter activity audible in the early morning hours. A National Security Council spokesperson confirmed that President Joe Biden directly approved the plan, highlighting the administration’s concern for the Haitian crisis and its implications for stability in the region.

The geopolitical landscape in Haiti has been further complicated by the gangs’ demands for Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation. This stance has garnered attention from the United States as well as the Caribbean Community. Despite these pressures, Henry remains abroad, hindered in his ability to return in the face of the current chaos.

In response to the escalating violence, the Haitian government has extended a state of emergency, attempting to curtail the unrest through the deployment of its military forces in support of the National Police. In addition, the U.S. has supplied additional resources to bolster local law enforcement efforts.