Crisis in Haiti: towards a military intervention?
Political and social instability still affects Haiti, which has led to sanctions and Canadian financial assistance for the country.
As Canada announced new measures regarding the crisis in Haiti on November 20, some members of the Haitian diaspora in Montreal believe that additional sanctions are necessary, while others dispute Canadian interference.
In interview with Metro, the federal deputy for Bourassa, Emmanuel Dubourg, explains that Canada has imposed historic sanctions since Sunday against nine Haitians contributing to the country's instability.
“In addition to gang leader Jimmy Chérizier, Canada imposes sanctions on eight political figures who are using the crisis in Haiti to enrich themselves. From now on, these nine people are prohibited from entering Canada and their assets and bank accounts are frozen; it has never been done in the history of Haiti and it created a shock wave in the country,” explains the deputy, recalling that one of the people sanctioned owned a villa in Laval.
On the other hand, the Haitian political class is asking for direct military aid, to which Canada has still not consented, a situation that has raised concerns reactions among local elected officials.
“Canada wants to go gradually with sanctions that target gangs and ill-intentioned people directly, underlines Emmanuel Dubourg. It is to be hoped that the international community will apply more pressure.”
The provincial deputy for Viau, Frantz Benjamin, believes that even stronger and more symbolic sanctions would be desirable.
There are still other people to punish, gangsterism is a lucrative business, we see it in the way the Haitian people have been taken hostage in recent months. These are sanctions that we want to be stronger, which will send a clear message that impunity will not be tolerated.
Frantz Benjamin, provincial deputy for Viau
A solution on which there is no consensus
Although the financial assistance provided by Canada to Haiti is generally viewed favorably by the Haitian diaspora in Montreal, a possible Canadian military intervention creates differences of opinion perspective on Canada's role in the Haiti crisis.
“Haiti is an independent country,” says Dorcelan Altidor, general coordinator of the Canadian Association of Christians of Haitian Origin in Montreal (ACCOHAM). We, as Canadians of Haitian origin, are in favor of helping the police who are already there, both in terms of training and the supply of weapons. The Canadian army does not know the realities on the ground.”
Recall that on this issue, the community and cultural organization Maison d'Haïti had declared to the Journal de Montréallast October that the Haitian population did not want it and “that none of the forms of occupation has ever brought anything to Haiti”.
Emmanuel Dubourg recognizes that there are divisions as to to the Canadian intervention in Haiti according to the committees in which he participated. He is, however, reassuring in the face of the specter of a potential Canadian military intervention, affirming that there will not be one until there is a clear political and popular consensus in Haiti.
“Military intervention is something that must be done by consensus of the Haitian population, argues Mr. Benjamin. It is clear that there is an urgency to act in terms of security, but without going through a military intervention or occupation. There may be other formulas to explore that would be in the interest of the Haitian people.”
Mr. Dubourg concludes by stating that Canada continues to monitor the evolution of the crisis that is shaking Haiti and that other sanctions will come depending on the results on the ground.