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Archive for Haiti

Newsline: Embassy accountant stole ‘hundreds of thousands’ from US military in Haiti

A local employee of the United States Embassy in Haiti is accused of stealing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from the U.S. military in a scheme that went on for years, according to a federal indictment. The indictment says Roudy Pierre-Louis forged paperwork for cash advances by members of the United States Southern Command, known as SouthCom. The scheme ran from 2015 until August 2018, federal prosecutors say. (https://www.bnd.com/news/nation-world/national/article238306638.html) A judge in Charleston, South Carolina, issued an arrest warrant for the Haitian national. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charleston charged Pierre-Louis with 16 counts of fraud, including wire fraud and forgery.

Newsline: Three more Haitian diplomats at Nassau embassy recalled for “wrongdoing”

At least six diplomats at the Haitian Embassy in Nassau have been recalled or transferred as the Haitian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly prepares to eventually replace all personnel at the embassy following a Haitian commission of inquiry into concerns of corruption. According to The Haiti Sentinel, which translated in English an original article by Le Nouvelliste on the recall, Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Bocchit Edmond told the Le Nouvelliste that the commission’s report revealed “unacceptable situations” at the embassy. (https://ewnews.com/three-more-haitian-diplomats-at-nassau-embassy-recalled-for-wrongdoing) The commission completed its investigation earlier this month, according to international reports. Edmond reportedly told the Le Nouvelliste that several diplomats were involved in wrongdoing either directly or indirectly involved in wrongdoing, namely regarding a residence visa scheme in The Bahamas.

Newsline: Haiti Inquiry Into Nassau Embassy ‘Corruption’

The Haitian Government has launched a commission of inquiry into concerns of corruption at its embassy in Nassau. The commission arrives today and will meet with Bahamian officials, diplomatic staff, local recruits and community leaders to conduct investigations until August 3. (http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/jul/29/haiti-inquiry-embassy-corruption/) It was announced in a press statement released by Haiti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the weekend. The ministry’s statement referred to a news report of an important investigation carried out by Bahamian authorities on corruption involving Haitian diplomats in Nassau, printed on July 25. It further advised Haitian diplomats that their mission was to project a positive image of the country, and to behave in a manner above reproach. The move has come as a surprise to embassy staff, according to Herns Mesamours, head consular officer from the Haitian Embassy. Mr Mesamours told The Tribune the statement was responding to media coverage of an arraignment of three Bahamians and two Haitians accused of a fraudulent marriage scheme.

Newsline: US embassy reports gunfire near Haiti mission

The US embassy in Haiti reported gunfire on Apr. 29 near its diplomatic compound as it urged bystanders to take cover. In a travel alert, the US State Department said that gunfire had come from the “rear entrance to the embassy” in Port-au-Prince. It said the staff had taken shelter inside the embassy. “If you are traveling to the embassy, find a safe area to shelter,” it wrote on Twitter. (https://www.france24.com/en/20190429-us-embassy-reports-gunfire-near-haiti-mission) State Department officials did not immediately have further details on the incident, including whether it was ongoing. Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, witnessed widespread riots in February when thousands of people took to the streets demanding better living conditions. Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise earlier this month appointed a new prime minister to tackle mounting problems, including insecurity in the capital.

Newsline: Chilean Embassy vehicles attacked in Haiti

The Chilean Ambassador in Haiti, Patricio Utreras Díaz accompanied by his wife Brenda Iriarte Rojas, the representative of the NGO “America Solidaria” and representatives of the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) went to the Boutin area, located between Thomazeau and Croix-des-Bouquets, to assess the progress of the work undertaken as part of the implementation of the drinking water project for the benefit of this community, funded by the Chile, according to Olga Regueira, General Director of America Solidaria in Haiti. (https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-27303-haiti-flash-the-procession-of-the-embassy-of-chile-attacked-with-weapon-of-war.html) A visit that was brutally interrupted around 11:30 am on Mar. 26 when 5 individuals armed with AK-47 attacked and opened fire on the procession of the Embassy of Chile (about 18 people) leaving many bullet impact on the vehicles. The security agents of the Chilean Embassy responded and managed to put the aggressors to flight. As a result of this attack, a Haitian volunteer from the NGO “América Solidaria”, a Haitian citizen, Frantz Eliancin, died while the ambassador’s driver was shot in the wrist. Olson Regis, co-director of cooperation, was also slightly injured. Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the attack and confirmed that it will continue with the support it has always given to Haiti.

Newsline: U.S. State Department deploys envoy to break political stalemate in Haiti

A relatively unknown diplomat who once served as special envoy for Middle East peace has been charged by the Trump administration with trying to break a political stalemate in Haiti. After violent protests last month, a relative calm has returned to Haiti where a deepening political crisis, sinking economy and corruption charges sparked violent protests and ”do not travel” warnings from Canada and the U.S. government. David Hale, under secretary of state for political affairs, is scheduled to visit Port-au-Prince to meet with a handful of political and civil leaders. Among them: President Jovenel Moise, the head of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and an opposition senator representing the Secteur Démocratique et Populaire, often referred to as the radical opposition that’s been demanding Moise’s resignation. (Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article226972459.html#storylink=cpy) Hale’s goal during his brief visit is to see if he can encourage a national dialogue, the U.S. State Department said in a statement announcing the trip.

Newsline: Canada closes Haiti embassy as violent protests trap Quebec tourists

Canada closed its embassy in Haiti Thursday amid violent street protests that have trapped dozens of Canadians in the Caribbean country (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/02/14/canada-closes-haiti-embassy-as-violent-protests-trap-quebec-tourists.html). Global Affairs Canada had updated its travel advisory for Haiti a day earlier, advising against all non-essential travel to the country. “We will continue to evaluate the security situation over the coming days to determine what steps are necessary to ensure that our diplomats and their families are safe,” Global Affairs said in a statement Thursday. It said it has people on the ground to provide assistance to Canadian citizens in Haiti as needed. A group of tourists from Quebec are stuck in a Haiti hotel, unable to make it to the Port-au-Prince airport because of violent street protests. The only highway linking the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Indigo Beach resort to the airport is considered extremely dangerous, and people are staying off it. The hotel on the Caribbean country’s Cote des Arcadins is about 75 kilometres north of the capital.

Newsline: Haiti closes only Embassy in Africa

Haiti no longer has an Embassy in Africa, following the closure of its Embassy in Benin last week. According to Government officials, in July 2016, announced plans to close its only Embassy on the African continent but without specifying at that time the definitive nature or a date for the official move. “It remains understood that this decision will in no way affect the excellent relations of friendship, solidarity and cooperation that exist between Haiti and Benin, two sister countries united by strong historical and cultural ties,”the government noted. The Embassy says that while waiting for new provisions, members of the Haitian community living in Benin and elsewhere on the African continent will want to address to the Consulate General of Haiti in Paris for their consular documents request.


Newsline: Bahamas embassy in Haiti closes as unrest continues

The Bahamas’ embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remained closed following countrywide protests that began over the weekend, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield, who advised against travel to the country until calm has returned. Unrest has been steadily brewing for months over allegations that billions of dollars in foreign aid was embezzled or misused by former government officials under former Haitian President Michel Martelly. “The Bahamas follows the protocols of the United Nations’ missions to Haiti,” Henfield told reporters. “Following that protocol and after speaking with the ambassador and our personnel on the ground, we decided to close the mission yesterday (Monday), [and] today, I think. That’s where we are [as] apparently, there is civil unrest. Bahamasair has also suspended service to the impoverished country.


Newsline: US Embassy in Haiti requests more Marines, security personnel amid violence

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has requested additional security personnel including Marines as the Haitian capital has been gripped by days of protests over a government plan to raise fuel prices and cut food subsidies, according to multiple reports. A request made by the embassy includes a Marine Security Guard Augmentation Unit consisting of about 13 Marines and other personnel to reinforce existing embassy security, CNN reported. The request has been approved by Trump administration officials, the network added. Staff at the embassy have been instructed to shelter in place by State Department officials, and a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to stay away from the airport unless absolutely necessary was issued.