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DeSantis rescues more than 700 Floridians from Haiti as prime minister resigns amid gang violence

A new transitional council of nine members has been sworn in, and seven have voting powers. Henry's finance minister, Michel Patrick Boisvert, will serve as the interim prime minister

Gobernador de Florida, el republicano Ron DeSantis
Gobernador de Florida, el republicano Ron DeSantis | EFE/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH

April 26, 2024 9:10am

Updated: April 26, 2024 9:10am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the State of Florida has rescued 700 Floridians from the spiraling violence in Haiti as the country plunges further into leaderless chaos, according to the State of Florida.

The Florida governor’s announcement came on April 24, the day before Haiti's prime minister, Ariel Henry, resigned and handed power over to transitional council charged with the mission to lead the country amid continuing gang violence.

Henry said last month he would resign his post after armed gangs most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, including airports, forcing the president into temporary exile in Puerto Rico. Since then, the Haitian gangs have only become more powerful, taking advantage of the collapsing government infrastructure and taken control over different parts of the country.

The turmoil left hundreds of stranded Americans in grave danger.  

“The State of Florida doesn’t shy away from doing the right thing and helping Americans in need,” DeSantis said. “I’m proud to announce that despite the lack of cooperation from the federal government, more than 700 Americans have been successfully evacuated from Haiti to Florida.”

On March 20, 2024, the Florida Division of Emergency Management began rescue operations and has so far successfully rescued 722 Americans from Haiti.

“Evacuating our residents has been challenging, and I am incredibly proud of the hard work our State Emergency Response Team, private and nonprofit partners have done to bring Americans home and accommodate their needs upon returning to Florida,” said Division Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “We will always stand ready to support our residents…”

Upon their return to Florida, evacuees were given food, water, medical treatment and transportation back to their homes all across the Sunshine State. This is not the first time the DeSantis administration has engaged in the rescue of stranded Floridians abroad.

In October of 2023, Florida embarked brought 700  Americans home who were stranded in Israel after the oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

As for those still facing the turmoil in Haiti, the new transitional council of nine members has been sworn in, and seven have voting powers. Henry's finance minister, Michel Patrick Boisvert, will serve as the interim prime minister.

Their mission will be to stop the gang violence and try to restore democratic rule in their homeland with the help of the United States and other Caribbean nations.

It will also set the agenda of a new Cabinet, form a national security council and appoint an electoral commission to pave the way to a vote,” according to a report from the BBC.

The White House praised the swearing in of the council, saying it was a “critical step towards free and fair elections.”

According to the United Nations, the situation in Haiti has been “cataclysmic.” That assessment was published by a U.N. report last month that said more than 1,500 people were killed and 800 injured in the first three months of 2024. 

The report said the “harrowing practices” of the gangs, which have resorted to sexual abuse and extreme violence have also obstructed aid organizations from getting food and water to civilians in the capital, creating the risk of a serious famine.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.