SOUTHCOM Head: 'We Are Prepared' to Send U.S. Troops to Haiti if 'Called Upon'

United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Commander Gen. Laura J. Richardson left open the possibility of sending troops to Haiti as part of an “international solution” to address the ongoing violent situation of the Caribbean nation in remarks given during an event held by the Atlantic Council think tank on Tuesday.

“I think an international solution, a solution that also includes Haiti’s perspective, is very important,” Richardson said. “So I don’t think a U.S.-only solution is where we should be heading.”

Richardson asserted that the Biden administration is trying to “do exactly that, work on an international solution.”

Armed members of the G9 and Family gang stand guard at their roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

During the event, Richardson was asked if U.S. forces could be part of said international solution. The SOUTHCOM commander answered, “They could be at the end of the day, we wouldn’t rule it out at any time” given “what’s going on in that country.”

“We are prepared if called up​​on by our State Department and our Defense Department,” she asserted, adding that the United States does not presently have plans to send troops to Haiti and pointing out that SOUTHCOM has a “wide range” of contingency plans and is prepared for possible mass migration from Haiti or elsewhere.

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“The military always continues to plan and be ready for any possible situation. Certainly, what’s happening in Haiti is disappointing and is very concerning,” Richardson said. “And so, with US SOUTHCOM and what we are prepared to do, we want to make sure that we take care that our responses are humane in this crisis that is currently happening.”

Large sectors of Haiti continue to be under the control of violent gangs led by Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who has openly called for a “bloody revolution” in the Caribbean nation. The gangs have continued to launch violent attacks, killing civilians and looting houses.


Gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier with G-9 federation gang members in the Delmas 3 area on February 22, 2024, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Haiti’s national power company announced on Monday that gangs assaulted a power station and “destroyed” four substations in Port-au-Prince, leaving areas of the country without power. Similarly, the nation’s central bank was reportedly attacked by armed men on Monday, leading to a clash between gang members and the police that left at least three criminals dead.

The Central Bank of Haiti is considered one of the few institutions still operating in the country. The police department is also deemed one of the last functional branches of the Haitian state. The police continued to engage in street warfare against the violent gangs this week, reportedly receiving the assistance of the local anti-gang vigilante movement known as Bwa Kale (a slang term for street justice) that surged in 2023.

The Associated Press

People walk past burning tires during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on February 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Following Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s announced plans to resign, Haiti’s political parties began negotiations to elect a transitional council to eventually select a new prime minister and other authorities for the Caribbean nation. The plan has the support of other regional governments as well as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc, which is acting as a mediator in the process.

Henry, who is presently stranded in Puerto Rico and unable to return to his country, said he would formally resign once the transitional council is established. Finance Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert is presently acting as interim prime minister.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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