The United States is set to double its backing for a Kenyan-led multinational task force aimed at restoring security in Haiti. This announcement comes from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a crucial CARICOM meeting in Kingston on Monday.

Last year, the Biden administration initially pledged $100 million to support this effort, recognizing the urgent need to address the escalating violence perpetrated by gangs in Haiti. The country has been plagued by the presence of approximately 200 gangs, with around 20 of them operating in the capital city alone.

The situation has prompted Haiti to declare a state of emergency in Port-au-Prince, where authorities are grappling with the influence of powerful armed gangs.

However, the Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, was notably absent from Monday’s meeting. Henry has been unable to return to Haiti since gang leaders seized control of the main international airport, leaving him stranded in Puerto Rico. Despite mounting pressure for his resignation amidst threats of civil war, Henry has reportedly refused to step down.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has also declined to accommodate Henry’s return. The developments underscore the severity of the crisis facing Haiti and the region as a whole.

(Ramon Gordon for CVM News)