Thursday, September 23, 2021

US Haiti envoy resigns (Sept. 23, 2021)

 The US Biden administration's special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, a veteran diplomat with a reputation for working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, resigned today protesting “inhumane” large-scale repatriations of Haitian migrants this week. (See yesterday's post.)

“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” he wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.” (Associated Press)

He also lashed out at what he called “puppeteering” of Haitian politics by the U.S. and other nations.

“Last week, the U.S. and other embassies in Port-au-Prince issued another public statement of support by for the unelected, de facto Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry as interim leader of Haiti, and have continued to tout his political agreement over another broader, earlier accord shepherded by civil society,” Foote said. “The hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner— again— is impressive. This cycle of international political interventions in Haiti has consistently produced catastrophic results. More negative impacts to Haiti will have calamitous consequences not only in Haiti, but in the U.S. and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”

And estimated 14,000 people crossed into the US across the Rio Grande to Del Rio, Texas, in the past two weeks, many of Haitian origin, provoking a sudden migration crisis for the US government, which moved quickly to disperse what became a sprawling makeshift camp. (See Monday's post and yesterday's.) Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers there are facing desperate conditions, including high temperatures, squalid living conditions, probable deportation and shocking mistreatment by border patrol agents, reports the Guardian.

Since Sunday, 12 repatriation flights have left the United States and 1,401 Haitian nationals have been returned to Haiti. Another 3,206 Haitian nationals have been moved from a camp in Del Rio, Texas, to US Customs and Border Patrol custody or to other sectors of the United States border to either be expelled or placed into removal proceedings, reports the Miami Herald.

The deportations are being carried out under a previously obscure public health law, Title 42, which was used for summary expulsions by the Trump administration and has been continued under Joe Biden, reports the Guardian.

News Briefs

More Migration
  • The deportation of Haitian migrants is a stark example of how US President Joe Biden has deployed some of the most aggressive approaches to immigration put in place by his predecessor, according to the New York Times. "Having failed in his attempts to build a more “humane” set of immigration laws, Mr. Biden has reacted in a way that few of his supporters expected. In case after case, he has shown a willingness to use tough measures."

  • The border crisis is a symptom of a hemisphere in crisis, according to Politico

  • Treatment of Haitian migrants this week in the US has spurred protests against what activists say is a racist and unequal immigration system that forces Black immigrants to face extra hurdles compared to their lighter-skinned counterparts, reports the Washington Post.
Regional Relations
  • Brazilian health minister, Marcelo Queiroga, has tested positive for Covid and gone into isolation, 24 hours after participating in UN General Assembly events in New York, including a meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, reports the Guardian.
  • A dossier prepared by doctors and former doctors of Prevent, a health insurance company, for the Brazilian Senate Parliamentary inquiry into the Bolsonaro administration’s handling of the pandemic, alleges that the spread of chloroquine and other ineffective medications against Covid-19 was the result of an agreement between government officials and Prevent. (Globo)

  • A new poll by IPEC puts former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva firmly in the lead for next year’s election, with a more than 20 point advantage over Bolsonaro. (Globo)

  • While Bolsonaro has consistently sought to undermine environmental protection policies, ""The vast majority of Brazilians want the forest standing," said Lula in an interview with UOL columnist Leonardo Sakamoto.

  • A historic drought in Brazil, attributed to climate change, is devastating the country's coffee farmers, whose crops supply much of the world, reports NPR.

  • Brazilian budget airline Gol struck a deal to purchase hundreds of aircraft that would be used as low-cost zero-emission electric air taxis for São Paulo commuters, reports the Guardian.
  • Impunity has been the common denominator in assassinations of social leaders in Colombia since the 2016 peace deal with the FARC, writes journalist María Fernanda Fitzgerald in the New York Times Español.
  • The issue with the new Peruvian government isn't the traditional left-right political polarization, rather it's President Pedro Castillo's rudderless path, which is the opposite of the planning the country needs to resolve its ongoing crisis, argues Eduardo Dargent in the New York Times Español.
  • Both Cadem and Activa released new polling data on Chile’s upcoming presidential election. In both polls, Gabriel Boric of the Convergencia Social party leads voter intent. (Latin America Risk Report)

  • Chilean presidential candidates held their first debate yesterday.
  • Suriname’s 60-year-old vice president inserted himself into a pro soccer match this week, becoming the world’s oldest professional soccer player, reports the Washington Post.

Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

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