Brian A. Nichols

Brian A. Nichols and Eric Farnsworth (Photo: Mark Finkenstaedt)


Brian A. Nichols: Helping Haiti Is a "Top Priority for the Administration"

By Juan Forero and Ryan Dubé

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs was quoted by The Wall Street Journal, during his remarks at AS/COA.

Thirty years ago, a U.S.-led multinational force of some 25,000 troops landed in Haiti backed with air support and two aircraft carriers to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.

“Now we must act,” President Bill Clinton said after the former priest turned politician was overthrown in a coup and violence began to spread.

Today, there is little appetite for a similar rescue mission as Haiti again teeters on the precipice of collapse, just 700 miles from Florida. Large parts of the country are under the control of heavily armed gangs, and its prime minister is stranded in Puerto Rico, unable to return after a trip to secure peacekeepers in Kenya. The U.S. and other Western powers remain focused on the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

The U.S. has advised its citizens not to go to Haiti—assuming they could find a way after the airports closed—while urging Ariel Henry, the prime minister, to appoint a transitional council to pave the way for new elections and help bring in international peacekeeping forces. [..]

On Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols called on other countries to provide support to Haiti. He said the Defense Department was pledging $100 million and providing airlifts, communications and medical support to Haiti.

“We continue calling for broad donor support for the mission especially from the region in the form of funding, personnel and in-kind assistance,” he said in a speech at the Council of the Americas think tank in Washington. “Helping Haiti restore security and democracy, especially at this critical moment, represents a top priority for the administration.”

Haiti, one of the world’s poorest nations, has rarely been a top foreign-policy priority for Washington even though the U.S. has long been involved in the country.

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