Canada has announced additional sanctions on Haitian political elites who “provide illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs,” a news release from Global Affairs Canada said Saturday.
Three new individuals have been sanctioned and a dealings prohibition has been imposed on them, which effectively freezes any assets they may hold in Canada, according to the statement.
Haitian senator Rony Célestin, former senator Hervé Fourcand and Gary Bodeau, former president of the Chamber of Deputies, are the latest to make it to Canada’s sanction list.
Since the 2021 assassination of former Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, Haiti has been dealing with several internal issues — the situation escalated severely in September when Haitian gangs blocked a gas depot that resulted in fuel shortages.
On Nov. 4, the Canadian government announced sanctions against Joseph Lambert, president of Haiti’s Senate, and Youri Latortue, a former Senate president, for their participation in “gross and systematic human rights violations” and engaging in acts that “threaten the peace, security, and stability of Haiti.”
In the statement released Saturday, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said the government will continue to put “pressure on armed gangs and their supporters to help the people of Haiti emerge from this crisis and restore peace and security in their country.”
“We will consider additional sanctions against individuals and entities in Haiti and other measures to end the ongoing violence,” Joly added.
What has Canada done so far?
In October 2022, Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., called on Canada and the U.S. to help the Haitian government confront the gangs causing violence.
Canada partnered up with U.S. armed forces to airlift a commercial delivery of specialized vehicles to Haiti on Oct. 15.
During the same month, Canada also sent a team to Haiti to assess the crisis in order for the government to weigh in on a potential military mission to assist the nation.
Besides imposing sanctions on Haiti’s political elites, Canada also sanctioned Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier on Nov. 14 over human rights abuse.
Moreover, on Sept. 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $20 million in aid to help Haiti rebuild following the 2021 earthquake.