Haiti Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 2019

Haiti is on fire. Literally, and not in a good way. Are the Nero(es) in the State Department and Senate Foreign Relations fiddlin’ around?  Are they incapable of doing more than 3 things simultaneously? To watch America’s State department and Congress,  all their fires are Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hamas’ terror  in Israel, and man made climate change. Each fire swaps its place in the weekly news cycle.

            And then, on slow news days for the media, there is  an occasional foreign relations news story about invasion on the southern border and foreign state implications, China mulling an invasion of Taiwan, a North Korean missile launched over the Sea of Japan, World cup or Olympics, international golf, pirates in the Indian ocean, Golden Globes of the foreign press, and electric vehicle batteries from China.  All worthy topics to be sure.

Oh wait, stop the press. Some in Congress and social media are in a dither over Tik Tok’s 2 million or is it 2 billion tweens? Gen Zs? littles, or whomsoever uses it daily.

Haiti is located on the  island of Hispaniola,  80 miles to American Puerto Rico. The Caribbean  and Haiti history has impacted America for 2 centuries. The Haitian revolution from 1791 to 1803 overthrew the French, which resulted in the Louisiana purchase, doubling the size of the United States.  Over two centuries, the United States has sent in the Marines a half dozen times, including during the Clinton years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints newsroom reports membership of just over 25,000 members in 5 stakes, 50 units, with 12 family search centers. The first Haitian Temple was  dedicated in 2019.

In the meantime, this week CNN noted the UN resolved last summer to sponsor peacekeepers to go into Haiti.  The Haiti anarchy in the capital is reflected in the assassinations of the Haitian leaders, kidnappings, gang violence, and war. CNN wrote ‘yet the multinational security mission long touted by Haiti’s neighbors … is nowhere to be found.’  CNN summarized the recent reign of terror. 

Matthew Miller, the  State Department spokesman, commented, that as of March 14, 2024, ‘’I would remind you and others that Haiti has been a Level 4 country with respect to our Travel Advisory since 2020. So what that means is for four years we have been telling Americans do not go to Haiti; do not travel there, it’s not safe to do so; and for those who are there, leave as soon as you can feasibly do so without putting yourself at risk.’’ 

Haiti’s Minister requested military assistance in the fall of 2022. The UN Security Council authorized Haiti peacekeeping last summer, with the United States covering the costs.  The peacekeeping is referred to as the Multinational Security Support Mission.

The port and air port are closed. The US State department called to evacuate Americans trapped on the island. Apparently Haiti government buildings are occupied by refugees.

The UN force was to be lead by Kenya, with troops from Jamaica, Benin, Bahamas,  Barbados and Chad.  The AP reported Kenya’s high court blocked the deployment of Kenya’s participation in the Haiti UN  peacekeeping, as of January 26, 2024.

Not so with Chad, which is a central African nation the size of Alaska. Chad’s army is ready to go with or without the other participants.  Chad’s army wants the work.  It is frustrating that Chad’s army needs the ‘go ahead’ from the Senate Foreign Relations or the Department of State, or both. 

Miller advised, ‘’ There is an additional $300 million that the United States is providing to support the Multinational Security Support Mission.’’

Miller did not say so, but if history teaches anything, if Chad does not go in, the mission will ultimately evolve on  American Marines. But since nothing else has been tried, you can expect the Marines.

Remember, as of the end of January, AP reported Kenya was out of the deployment MSS business? At least the Haiti job?  But hope springs eternal in the  State department as it seems, like an old time western movie, Kenya’s cavalry is riding over the ridge to the rescue. This is based on Miller’s comment,  ‘’ Kenya will be launching in the coming days and weeks.’’ ‘’Money will be provided … to the Government of Kenya to support the Multinational Support Mission.’’  This was last week in March 2024, some 7 weeks after Kenya’s court said no way, Jose. Of course the court didn’t exactly say ‘Jose,’ but, according to the BBC,  the court did say Kenya couldn’t deploy police without a reciprocal agreement with the host nation, all subject to appeal, and further review. Apparently no one told State what the AP reported, in that Kenya was not coming, anytime soon, if ever and at all.

Utah Senator Mike Lee stated his concern. “The safety of Americans in Haiti is of great concern, as is the potential for this unrest to worsen our current border crisis. Further, the situation in Haiti is demonstrative of why the United States must treat our own hemisphere as a national security priority. As the regional power house, the United States is responsible for protecting our borders and deterring threats to our hegemony in the hemisphere. The deterioration of an entire nation, which we are seeing first-hand in Haiti, is a ripe opportunity for our peer and near-peer adversaries to exploit. I am not an interventionist and regime change efforts have a long history of failure in the region. But I am a constitutional realist, and believe the situation in Haiti is yet another trigger for a hard look at how the United States approaches hemispheric defense.”

            Hire Chad to step up and keep the peace. It can’t be a surprise, as State’s travel advisory is 4 years old and counting. Don’t wait for Kenya. Act 18 months ago when Haiti begged for help, or if not, act 6 months ago when the UN approved, or if not, act a week ago when the American evacuation went into hi gear.  Copyright.