Canada is imposing more sanctions on Haitian elites it accuses of empowering gangs in the Caribbean country.
The new sanctions freeze Canadian assets held by three of the country’s wealthiest people. They include Gilbert Bigio — who is often called the richest person in Haiti — Reynold Deeb and Sherif Abdallah.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly accuses the trio of providing “illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs” through money laundering and “other acts of corruption.”
Frantz Andre, a Haitian-Canadian activist in Montreal, said in an interview with CBC he believed the Canadian government should target Bigio, who owns and operates a private port that has been used to smuggle contraband to gangs in Haiti.
Gangs have paralyzed Haiti by blocking access to roads, fuel and essentials, leading the government to call for an international military intervention mission. Ottawa is considering leading such a mission.
But some Haitians fear that would only help parts of the government — which they say is responsible for corruption and a worsening cholera outbreak — stay in power.
Joly said she is also asking countries “to follow our lead and impose sanctions against gangs and their supporters.”