Anti-terrorism team of U.S. Marines sent to Haiti to protect U.S. Embassy after prime minister says he will resign

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An anti-terrorism team of U.S. Marines has been dispatched to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to bolster the protection of the U.S. Embassy amid escalating gang violence and a deepening political crisis that has left some Americans stranded.

With no clear plan for a transition to a new government and with free and fair elections in doubt, Haitians are seeking to escape their turmoil-ridden country. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced Tuesday that he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created. Henry made the announcement hours after officials that included Caribbean leaders and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Jamaica to urgently discuss a solution to halt Haiti’s spiraling crisis.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic is tightening its borders against undocumented Haitians, sending many back to a homeland facing an unclear future. 

“They treat us like dogs,” a man told CBS News after saying he had been detained without food.

Earlier in the day, a woman collapsed as she was being taken off an overcrowded immigration truck. Haitian-American Dana Josephs happened to be driving by and put her in the back of his truck and rushed her to the hospital.

“It could be my family, but even though …I don’t even know her, so this is my car that I have to use. Just save her life. I’ll do it,” Josephs said.

These scenes at the border come after a coalition of Haitian stakeholders and international leaders — including the U.S. — helped usher in the agreement to dissolve Henry’s failing government and replace it. 

Haiti has struggled with tumultuous political unrest for decades, along with crippling gang violence. In September, the Biden administration pledged $100 million, and, later, another $65 million, to support the Haitian National Police and improve security in the island nation. The U.N. Security Council voted in early October to approve the mission and send a multinational force to Haiti for one year in hopes of quelling the rising violence.

The latest bout of gang violence erupted at the end of February as Henry flew to Kenya to push for the deployment of that multinational force. Heavily-armed gangs attacked key government sites and attempted to seize control of the airport in Port-au-Prince, forcing businesses and schools in the area to close and displacing an estimated 15,000 people from their homes in the capital city. Attacks on Haiti’s two largest prisons also led to a mass escape of thousands of inmates.

Now, some Haitians are skeptical about what comes next.

“The resignation of Ariel Henry is a game that the Americans are playing,” one man told CBS News.

But there remains a sense of duty among some, like a local shoemaker who expressed optimism about the state of the affairs in Haiti.

“Haitians have a duty to see if we can find someone who can put the country back on track,” he said.

The ongoing unrest has left some Americans in Haiti stranded, like missionary Jill Dolan.

“When we’ve contacted agencies to extract us out, they have just said, ‘It’s way too dangerous where you are. You have to stay put.'”

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