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Haiti – Insecurity: DHS tries to stop the illegal flow of weapons and ammunition from the USA to Haiti

  • April 3, 2024
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Haiti – Insecurity: The DHS tries to stop the illegal flow of weapons and ammunition from the USA to Haiti
03/04/2024 09:34:11

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is attempting to stop the illegal flow of high-powered weapons from the United States to Haiti, which is plagued by violence and instability caused by armed groups that control more than 90 % of the capital Port-au-Prince.

A United Nations report (2023) identified the United States, particularly Florida, as the main source of firearms and ammunition widely smuggled into Haiti. Today, armed groups are seizing vast territories with sniper rifles, machine guns and other powerful weapons… Special Agent Anthony Solvere of the DHS emphasized these “very powerful weapons go far beyond of what you can have in the Caribbean…”

Matt Schroeder, senior researcher at the Swiss think tank Small Arms Survey, said the smugglers’ goal was to hide shipments in order to evade authorities, who face the daunting task of controlling millions of shipments entering and exiting ports. “It’s effective because authorities cannot control every shipment which leaves American ports. »

Adding, “the impact of arms smuggling is indisputable in situations like Haiti […] If you see violence and the ability to challenge authority, it depends on access to illegal weapons. They could not do what they are doing now in terms of taking control, capturing and effectively controlling territory, contesting control and terrorizing the population if they did not have access to these illegal weapons. »

Solvere, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, explained the difficulties linked to the detection of these weapons leaving the country, adding that they could be hidden in a variety of ways, including inside consumer products, electronic equipment, frozen food products or even the hulls of cargo ships. Some weapons were found hidden in wooden pallets disguised as humanitarian aid.

He added that traffickers are exploiting a loophole that allows goods with a handwritten manifest worth less than $2,500 to avoid inspection, making these packages an ideal place to hide weapons and ammunition…

SL/ HaitiFree

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