How the expulsion of Haitian migrants is affecting the crisis-torn nation

Thousands of Haitian migrants who have been deported by the U.S. have been arriving home as authorities scramble for resources including food and medical supplies. Haiti is reeling from a convergence of crises -- a presidential assassination, an earthquake and chaos on the streets -- and critics say America’s actions will worsen the humanitarian crisis. Widlore Merancourt, editor-in-chief of Ayibopost, joins from Port-Au-Prince.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For more on the conditions in Haiti and how the U.S. decision to return thousands of migrants is affecting the country, I spoke with Widlore Merancourt — a journalist and editor in chief of Ayibopost in Port-au-Prince, Haiti .

    Widlore, were you able to speak to some of the Haitians that have been deported from the United States and have been landing in Port-au-Prince? What are they thinking right now?

  • Widlore Merancourt:

    Yes, I was on the ground to speak to some of these people who, you know, came freshly from the U.S. And it's a very difficult situation, actually, because if you talk to these people, some of them spend the little economy that they built outside of the country sometimes, you know, in Chile and Brazil.

    And these people took a very dangerous journey. They recount horrific stories and these people, when they finally reach the U.S., they said, you know, their suffering was over. But, well, it was not over because one woman told me she was treated worse by U.S. authorities, by U.S. agents than what she experienced on the road, what she experienced actually in Chile. And, you know, these people were shipped back from the U.S. to Haiti. And this is in a city that is in a very dire situation. And this is where they need to find out what's the next to do.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    What are these people returning to? I mean, Haiti is still recovering from a massive earthquake, hurricane, political upheaval. So when these people get off the plane, what are they seeing? What are they getting?

  • Widlore Merancourt:

    Well, here is a quick thought for you. Just yesterday, 10 people were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince. Kidnapping is rising again since the assassination of the president on the 7th of July. So this is a city ruled by gang leaders and these gang leaders, they ransacked neighborhoods, they conduct massacres and they are effectively running the city in the south of Port-au-Prince.

    You have this neighborhood called Martissant, this neighborhood, this one neighborhood that is controlled by gangs. The clash between these gangs, the first of June, kills more than 20,000 people to leave their homes to flee because of this gang violence. And it's a city that is in the same situation as the rest of the country. You have more than 4.4 millions of people in Haiti who are in severe need and urgent needs of humanitarian aid. And this was before the earthquake that we witnessed in the south part of the country.

    And right now, the U.N. said more than half of the people in this area that was hit by the earthquake have not received any aid whatsoever. And NGOs that I talked to said the needs are high and the aid that we're receiving is not enough.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Did what happened in the United States over the past several days, did that convince any Haitians that perhaps their window of opportunity to get to the United States has closed, that it's not worth taking this perilous journey?

  • Widlore Merancourt:

    Well, I talked to some people. Some have desired to stay in Haiti. Others have desired to go back to where they came from, mainly Chile and Brazil. But a few of them want to come back actually to the U.S.

    And if you talk to political analysts and if you talk to historians, they will tell you that, you know, what is happening right now is in part, in part a consequence of U.S. policies in Haiti. Remember, the two past administrations were supported by the U.S. and this is under this administration that the situation in the country worsened. And I talked to experts who told me there is a gun trafficking problem in the U.S. that is causing chaos in Haiti. And this because of these traffic that lots of people lose their jobs and they can't stay in the country. So it's a never ending cycle.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Widlore Merancourt, joining us from Port-au-Prince tonight. Thanks so much.

  • Widlore Merancourt:

    Thank you.

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