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US sanctions two Haitian politicians for drug trafficking




Washington
CNN

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on two Haitian politicians accused of involvement in drug trafficking.

The US Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on Joseph Lambert, “the current President of the Haitian Senate (who) held political positions in Haiti for 20 years” and Youri Latortue, ” a former Haitian Senator and a longtime politician.”

In addition, the State Department has imposed visa sanctions on Lambert and his wife, making them generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

The actions come as the Haitian government, led by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, has appealed to the international community for support as a nation grappling with security and humanitarian crises.

Friday’s financial sanctions, imposed with Canada’s coordination, target two politicians who “abused their official positions to transport drugs and cooperate with criminal networks” criminals and gangs to undermine the rule of law in Haiti,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement from the Treasury Department.

According to the statement, “Lambert used his position to lead and facilitate the cocaine trade from Colombia to Haiti and to enable other Haitian drug traffickers to go impulsively in Haiti.”

“Lambert has also directed others to engage in violence on his behalf,” it said. “His drug trade, corrupt practices and continued disregard for the rule of law have contributed to Haiti’s continued instability.”

“Like Lambert, Latortue has also been involved in the drug trade for a long time,” the statement said. “Latortue was involved in the cocaine trade from Colombia to Haiti and directed others to engage in violence on his behalf.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a separate statement announcing the visa sanctions, said, “there is credible information about Lambert’s involvement in a serious violation of human rights, namely a murder. extrajudicial person, during his term of government”.

CNN has reached out to Lambert and Youri for comment.

American officials have spoken out about the situation on the ground in Haiti, and Blinken previewed the upcoming sanctions during an event with Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly in Montreal last week.

“We have a minority of gangs that are controlling access to everything needed to deal with the problem, the problems facing the Haitian people. There are elites directing them, funding them, and the government doesn’t control anything. So for everyone to have access to drinking water, medicine, when the ports and roads are blocked by these gangs and by the elites who control them – hence the sanctions that together we will impose to put pressure on the elites that control the gangs,” he said.

The United Nations in recent weeks adopted a security council resolution, proposed by the US and Mexico, imposing sanctions on criminal leaders in Haiti.

The United States and Mexico also supported another resolution that would create “a limited, carefully scoped, non-UN mission led by a partner country with the necessary, in-depth experience needed.” necessary for efforts to be effective,” said US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

To date, no country has been identified to lead that mission, and the possibility of military intervention has been met with resistance.

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