Canadian diplomats evacuate Haiti

As the situation worsens in Haiti, some Canadian diplomats are getting out. 

What happened: Canada evacuated most of its embassy staff in Haiti, leaving only essential employees in the Caribbean nation, including Ambassador André François Giroux. Meanwhile, the ~3,000 Canadian citizens in Haiti have received shelter-in-place orders. 

Catch-up: Haiti has faced a major ongoing crisis since the 2021 assassination of then-president Jovenel Moïse, which led to much of the capital city of Port-au-Prince falling under gang control. Ariel Henry, an unelected prime minister, largely failed to rein in this chaos.

  • Now, the situation is, per one Canadian living there, “the worst it has ever been” after a mass prison break, which resulted in a state of emergency and Henry’s resignation

Why it matters: Canada has deep diplomatic ties with Haiti. It’s partaken in peacekeeping missions there, it’s Haiti’s second-largest donor, and Québec is home to over 140,000 citizens of Haitian descent — making it one of the largest centres of the Haitian diaspora. 

Yes, but: Canada has grown weary of meddling in Haitian affairs, as it did in 2004 when it sent troops there in a “stabilization mission” that very well may have made things worse. Last year, Canada denied calls to lead a security mission to Haiti. 

What’s next: The creation of a new council of Haiti’s political factions meant to choose a new prime minister has hit a roadblock after one party leader refused the plan. Until a new leader takes office, a Kenyan-led security mission to help restore order is off the table.—QH