Over the weekend, Canada announced strict sanctions on a number of powerful Haitian politicians believed to have ties to the gangs terrorizing the Caribbean nation.
The individuals include 2 past Haitian Prime Ministers and one former president. Sanctions were also previously imposed on Rony Célestin, a senator who was accused of corruption after his purchase of a $3.4 million villa in Montreal.
While the Canadian government did not provide intricate details into their motive for doing so, they said in a news release that they were “using their status as current or previous public office holders to protect and enable the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs, including through money laundering and other acts of corruption.”
Of this week’s sanctions, Michel Martelly, who was president from 2011 to 2016 and remains influential in Haiti is the most high-profile.
“The most significant thing is that this is a former president who received strong support from Canada and the international community while he was in office,” said Jake Johnston, a Haiti expert at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
Mr. Johnston said that Mr. Martelly splits most of his time between Miami and the Dominican Republic, and that it was unclear whether the financial restrictions in Canada would affect him. Martelly has since declared his disappointment with the sanctions.