Marines Sent to Protect US Embassy in Haiti

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A new U.S. Marine Corps embassy fleet anti-terrorism security team was sent to Haiti to protect the American embassy Wednesday, a day after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry amid the country’s rising gang violence and unrest.

According to the U.S. Southern Command, the team, known as FAST, was sent to Port-au-Prince to “maintain strong security capabilities” while conducting “relief in place for our current Marines, a common and routine practice worldwide,” NBC News reported.

The command’s statement added that the U.S. embassy remains open but is operating under limited operation while “supporting Haitian-led efforts to secure a peaceful transition of power.”

“U.S. Southern Command is prepared with a wide range of contingency plans to ensure the safety and security of U.S. Citizens in Haiti,” a spokesperson said.

The U.S. military flew in forces Sunday to bring nonessential personnel out of Haiti, with experts warning that the situation could worsen.

Henry on Tuesday agreed to stand down after a transition government has been appointed. The government was agreed on during a meeting between U.S. officials and Caribbean leaders Monday.

Henry remains in place as prime minister, as there is no timeline for the transition. He is in Puerto Rico, unable to return to Haiti after armed gangs demanding his resignation seized control of the nation’s airports.

The U.S. Department of Defense has doubled funding for a multinational security mission in Haiti, according to the Southern Command statement.

It is working with Kenya and other partners to restore security to Haiti, with additional support that could include airlifts, medical support, sharing information, and planning.

The armed gangs that control Haiti’s capital are saying that even though Henry agreed to step down, their violence won’t stop.

Gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, known as “Barbecue,” told Reuters on Tuesday that hotel owners sheltering politicians should be warned that, “We are coming for you.”


“We won’t lie to people, saying we have a peaceful revolution,” Cherizier said. “We do not have a peaceful revolution. We are starting a bloody revolution in the country.”

Americans are continuing to flee Haiti amid the violence.

Journalist and author Mitch Albom, founder of the Have Faith Haiti nonprofit organization that works with children and orphans, posted on Instagram that he, his wife, and eight volunteers were evacuated from Haiti on Tuesday.

“My wife and I are safe tonight,” Albom said. “Many Americans, Canadians, and others who are still stuck are not. The people of Haiti are not.”

Albom added that he hopes attention can be turned to restoring peace and stability “to a beautiful country and its people, including our kids, who deserve so much better.”


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