The United States embassy in Haiti asked on Tuesday for further military backup, including Marines, as the capital, Port-au-Prince, remains gripped by violent civil unrest.
The embassy demanded a Marine Security Guard Augmentation Unit that includes 13 marines and other personnel to secure the vicinity. The government has approved the request, and the team will now travel to Haiti. Said one source "We're not going to have another Benghazi. Not on our watch."
The civil unrest comes as people express anger about rising living costs, with prices for gasoline and diesel rising by 38 and 47 percent, respectively. The move was promoted by the International Monetary Fund, which urged Haitian authorities to reduce government food subsidies.
“Due to the security situation, U.S. government personnel continue to shelter in place and U.S. citizens are advised to do the same. If you attempt to go to the airport, exercise extreme caution and only do so if the route is open,” reads an advisory posted by the State Department. “Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents or emergencies.”
“The Department of State currently advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Haiti due to the ongoing civil unrest,” it continues. “We are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with Haitian authorities to verify the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in the area. We encourage you to closely monitor this site for important crisis information.”
The cancellation of flights has left several American church groups and volunteers stranded in the country, while Haitian authorities prevented others from leaving. At least four people have died during the protests, including a police officer and an opposition leader, while incidents of mass looting have broken out across the capital.