DeSantis-Chartered Flight Flees Haiti with US Citizens

( – Haiti is in crisis. Following a series of natural disasters and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, gang violence has increased, with January and February marking the most violent yet. Western University in Canada Professor Greg Beckett said thousands have been “killed,” “injured,” or “raped” within that timeframe. Amongst the violence, the US has been working to fly US citizens out of Haiti.

On March 21, a flight chartered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) touched down in Orlando with 14 Americans aboard. They were reportedly stranded on the island with the violence in Haiti all around. DeSantis held a press conference stating his administration was “willing to dedicate the resources” free of charge.

The governor said it was very important to get Americans — some of them Floridians — out of danger and back to the States. About 500 US citizens have contacted the state for help, of which 72% were from Florida. The governor said it would be the first of “many flights” but admitted the logistics were “difficult.”

DeSantis also announced he was sending “officers and soldiers” in addition to air and sea crafts to south Florida to protect the state, “given the circumstances in Haiti.” The state leader said he wouldn’t let undocumented Haitians enter Florida at this time, considering instead sending them to Martha’s Vineyard. The embattled country sits about 700 miles off the coast of the Sunshine State. Florida is reportedly home to over 276,000 Haitians and Haitian Americans.

On March 20, Deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel stated the US was chartering helicopter flights to transport Americans from Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. He said about 1,600 US citizens already filled out a form asking for assistance to leave Haiti. On March 17, the State Department chartered a flight that landed in Miami with more than 30 citizens on board and was working on more flights in the coming days.

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