How a foreign intervention would affect the crisis in Haiti

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

(Image credit: Illustrated | REUTERS, Getty Images)

The Biden administration this week sent a delegation to Haiti to discuss ways to help Haiti's police confront gangs that have taken control of most of the struggling nation's capital, Port-au-Prince, deepening a humanitarian crisis in the struggling Caribbean nation. The U.S. is considering Prime Minister Ariel Henry's appeal for an international force to help Haiti's outgunned police fight the gangs, one of which has blockaded the country's main fuel terminal, crippling transport and worsening shortages of food and potable water as Haiti faces its first cholera outbreak in three years. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged foreign leaders to answer Henry's call for an international force of specialized troops.

Anti-government protesters are calling for Henry's resignation, and some rights advocates argue against intervention, saying the foreign troops have only added to Haiti's problems. France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, demanded massive reparations in the 19th century that crushed the country with debt. The U.S. occupation from 1915 to 1934 stifled dissent and benefited American businesses. United Nations peacekeepers were blamed for bringing cholera to Haiti and sparking a 2010 outbreak that killed 10,000 people. And some of the U.N. peacekeepers were accused of sexually exploiting and abusing Haitian women and girls. "History has shown us more than once that foreign forces bring us more problems than solutions," Rosy Auguste Ducena, a lawyer and program director at the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti, told Al Jazeera. Will a foreign intervention help Haiti, or make matters worse?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.