A string of recent arms-trafficking scandals in Haiti has ignited anger over a steady flow of US guns that are fueling gang violence.
Haiti’s customs agency on July 14 seized shipping containers holding 18 “weapons of war,” four handguns and nearly 15,000 rounds of ammunition that were shipped from the US to the Episcopal Church of Haiti, which said the documents had been falsified and that it had nothing to do with the containers.
Separately, police investigating gun smuggling this month arrested a state prosecutor and a prominent lawyer who, according to media reports, served as an adviser to Haitian Minister of Justice Berto Dorce.
Guns brought illegally to Haiti are often used in gang wars such as a recent turf battle in the town of Cite Soleil, which between July 8 and 17 left more than 471 people killed, injured or unaccounted for, UN data showed.
“We don’t know how many [weapons] got through. We don’t know how many are left to go through, but it’s a lucrative business,” said former Haitian senator Ronald Lareche, who served on the parliamentary security commission.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Lareche, who says the murder of his sister and brother-in-law led him to speak out while in office about customs corruption and its link to gun trafficking.
Most of the weapons are smuggled from the US to Port-au-Prince, he said.
“It’s some of our citizens in the US who are sending weapons to Haiti and are thus fueling the insecurity,” said Pierre Esperance, executive director of Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network.
A shipping document for the cargo labeled as for the Episcopal Church described the contents as “Donated Goods, School Supplies, Dry Food Items.”
In another case, police early this month arrested Michelet Virgile, a state prosecutor for the town of Port-de-Paix after he unexpectedly released two men who had been jailed for the illegal import of 120,000 rounds of ammunition.
Lawyer Robinson Pierre-Louis, head of Haiti’s Federation of Bar Associations, was jailed last week for alleged involvement in the Port-de-Paix munitions smuggling case, a spokesman for Haiti’s National Police said.
Local media reports said that Pierre-Louis was until recently a staff member for Dorce.
The rivalry between Asia’s two biggest countries has extended into outer space. After India’s landing of its Chandrayaan-3 rover on the moon last month — becoming the first country to put a spacecraft near the lunar south pole and breaking China’s record for the southernmost lunar landing — a top Chinese scientist has said claims about the accomplishment are overstated. Ouyang Ziyuan (歐陽自遠), lauded as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, told the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper that the Chandrayaan-3 landing site, at 69 degrees south latitude, was nowhere close to the pole, defined as between 88.5 and 90 degrees. On Earth,
A cat wearing a black and yellow security vest strolls nonchalantly past security guards lined outside a Philippine office building waiting to receive instructions for their shift. Conan, a six-month-old stray, joined the security team of the Worldwide Corporate Center in the capital, Manila, several months ago. He is one of the lucky moggies unofficially adopted by security guards across the city, where thousands of cats live on the street. While the cats lack the security skills of dogs — and have a tendency to sleep on the job — their cuteness and company have endeared them to bored security guards working 12-hour
NEW ENERGY: Mark Lambert, the next deputy assistant secretary for China and Taiwan, is to head China House, which has been criticized for slowing policymaking Washington on Friday named veteran diplomat Mark Lambert as its top China policy official at the US Department of State at a time when ties between the two strategic rivals remain fraught over issues including Taiwan, trade and US curbs on Beijing’s access to US technology. Lambert is to be deputy assistant secretary for China and Taiwan, and is to head the Office of China Coordination, informally known as China House, the State Department said in a release. The division was created late last year to unify and better coordinate China policies across regions and issues, but has faced criticism for adding
TEMPORARY HITCH? Biden said the US ‘cannot ... allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,’ and he expects House Speaker McCarthy to come up with a solution The threat of a federal government shutdown suddenly lifted late on Saturday as US President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill to keep agencies open with little time to spare after the US Congress rushed to approve the bipartisan deal. The package dropped aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of Republican lawmakers, but increased federal disaster assistance by US$16 billion, meeting Biden’s full request. The bill would fund the US government until Nov. 17. After chaotic days of turmoil in the US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly abandoned demands for steep spending cuts