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U.S. Begins Rescuing American Citizens from Haiti as Nation Falls Under Violent Gang Rule


By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation

The U.S. began rescuing American citizens out of Haiti this week as the nation continues to spiral into unmitigated conflict, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Violent gangs have essentially overthrown the Haitian government and seized control of the nation’s capital, wreaking havoc on civilian life and crippling infrastructure and economic stability. The U.S. is extracting American citizens out of the country via helicopter and airplane as part of a larger airlift operation that began on Sunday, according to the WSJ.

“We continue to explore options that we have at our disposal when it comes to American citizens interested in departing Haiti from specifically the Port-au-Prince area, and we’ll remain in touch with American citizens who have expressed an interest in staying in touch with the embassy and learning about options… we have at our disposal,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Wednesday.

A government-chartered helicopter airlifted 30 American citizens from Port-au-Prince on Sunday, one of several airlifts to be conducted on a daily basis, according to the WSJ. The U.S. also began flying American citizens out of Haiti on Sunday via an extraction point in the northern region of Cap-Haitien, as gangs have shut down the Port-au-Prince International Airport.

Americans seeking to leave Haiti via Cap-Haitien will have to make it to the extraction point “at your own risk,” the State Department said on Saturday. The journey from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien is roughly 125 miles and at least five hours by car.

It is unclear how many Americans are currently stuck in Haiti. The U.S. government warns Americans against traveling to Haiti “due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.”

​​“We reiterate our message to U.S. citizens: Do not travel to Haiti,” a State Department spokesman told the WSJ. “U.S. citizens should depart Haiti when transportation options are available, and it is safe to do so.”

Haiti and Port-au-Prince have been in a state of decline for months, with conflicts escalating as of late February. Violent gangs now control roughly 80% of Port-au-Prince and have set thousands of prisoners free, killed scores of civilians and attacked numerous government buildings.

Related Story: U.S. Sends Anti-Terrorism Troops to Haiti as Nation Spirals into Chaos Under Gang Rule

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