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Canada imposes sanctions on ex-president and prime ministers of Haiti

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DJERBA, Tunisia – Canada has extended its economic sanctions, which freeze the Canadian assets of Haitian political elites, to former President Michel Martelly and former Prime Ministers Laurent Lamothe and Jean-Henry Céant.

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly this weekend accused the trio of helping gangs undermine Haiti’s current government and called on international partners to follow Canada’s example. She made this known at a two-day Francophonie summit in Tunisia.

The Caribbean country has been paralyzed by gang warfare.

“Our goal is to ensure that these people who profit from the violence, who are part of a corrupt system, are held accountable,” she said.

Haitian Foreign Minister Jean Victor Généus said the new sanctions have real consequences for those who are causing a “nightmare” in his country.

“These sanctions will have a deterrent effect,” he said in French, sitting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Joly on Saturday.

Haiti’s government has called for an international military intervention to combat gangs that have been strangling access to fuel and critical supplies in the midst of the outbreak. Canadian military intervention in Haiti can only take place if all political parties in the stricken country agree, Trudeau said Sunday.

The country is seeing increasing violence and increasingly brutal attacks from Haitian gangs that have grown more powerful since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. The chaos has led to a massive exodus of migrants from the island.

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