Canada Sanctions 6 More Haitian Politicians

Canada has sanctioned six additional Haitian politicians for allegedly providing financial and operational support to armed groups who threaten Haiti’s national security, Global Affairs Canada told OCCRP Monday.

Haiti 2010 EarthquakeCanada has sanctioned six more Haitian government officials who are said to have helped armed crime groups that terrorized the island’s poor in the wake of multiple natural disasters. (Photo: United Nations Development Programme, Flickr, License)Those sanctioned include two former presidents, two former prime ministers, and two senators, one of whom is still in office. The individuals are suspected of using their public offices to protect the interests and illegal activities of armed criminal gangs via money laundering and other acts of corruption.

“These gangs and their supporters continue to terrorize vulnerable populations in Haiti with impunity,” Global Affairs Canada said in a public statement. “They are also committing unspeakable violence, including widespread sexual violence, against affected populations and impeding the delivery of critical services and humanitarian aid.”

Canada has sent more than CDN$1.87 billion (US$1.4 billion) to Haiti in the wake of the catastrophic 2010 and 2021 earthquakes, in which hundreds of thousands died and millions more were displaced from their homes.

Since then, armed groups have encircled Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, and disrupted critical services such as water, electricity, health, and sanitation. The resulting cholera outbreak has been made worse by the gangs’ efforts to block delivery of humanitarian assistance to the island’s most vulnerable.

Global Affairs Canada told OCCRP that by sanctioning the six politicians, the country is “helping to restore peace and security by limiting the control and influence of armed gangs and their supporters.”

This action comes weeks after Canada levied similar sanctions against ​​Haitian Senate President Joseph Lambert and former Senate President Youri Latortue, also accused of using their positions to protect and enable criminal organizations responsible for the destabilization of Haiti and its rule of law.

The two have allegedly engaged in mass corruption by facilitating and funding acts such as armed violence and drug trafficking. Lambert is allegedly tied to an extra-judicial killing, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The State Department did not comment when asked by OCCRP to expand on this accusation.

For now, the six politicians join three others sanctioned under Canada’s Special Economic Measures (Haiti) Regulations for inciting violence and instability in Haiti. As a result, any assets they possess in Canada are now frozen.

“Canada will continue to help Haiti’s citizens and will not remain idle while gangs and their supporters terrorize the Haitian people,” Global Affairs Canada told OCCRP. Likewise, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said that the country “will consider additional sanctions … and other measures to end the ongoing violence” in Haiti.