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Haiti - FLASH : J. Lambert and Y. Latortue sanctioned by the USA, all the details
"This Friday November 4, I am designating President of the Haitian Senate, Joseph Lambert, for his involvement in significant corruption and a gross violation of human rights. Senate President Lambert abused his public position by participating in corrupt activity that undermined the integrity of Haiti’s government. Further, there is credible information of Lambert’s involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely an extrajudicial killing, during his government tenure.
This public designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022 (Div. K, P.L. 117-103) as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2023 (Div. A, P.L. 117-180) (“Section 7031(c)”). Under this authority, designated officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States. The Department is also designating Lambert's spouse, Jesula Lambert Domond. This designation imposes consequences for those who undermine democracy through corrupt activities and human rights violations. We continue to support the citizens, organizations, and public servants in Haiti who are committed to generating hope and opportunity for a better future for their nation.
In a separate but complementary action taken today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Lambert under Executive Order 14059 (Imposing Sanctions on Foreign Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade) for his involvement in international drug trafficking. Alongside these designations by the Departments of State and the Treasury, the Government of Canada is taking action to hold Lambert accountable for his role in undermining stability in Haiti. The United States stands with the people of Haiti in the pursuit of democracy, prosperity, and the rule of law. "
The Treasury Department sanctions corrupt Haitian politicians for drug trafficking :
This Friday November 4, , the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), along with the Government of Canada, designated Haitian nationals Joseph Lambert (Lambert) and Youri Latortue (Latortue) pursuant to Executive Order 14059 of December 15, 2021, “Imposing Sanctions on Foreign Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade.”
OFAC designated Lambert and Latortue for having engaged in, or attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production. Lambert is the sitting President of the Haitian Senate and has held political positions in Haiti for 20 years. Latortue is a former Haitian Senator and a longtime politician. OFAC coordinated closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration on this designation. Lambert’s history with drug trafficking covers two decades. During this time, Lambert used his position to lead and facilitate the trafficking of cocaine from Colombia to Haiti and to facilitate impunity in Haiti for other narcotics traffickers. Lambert has also directed others to engage in violence on his behalf. His drug trafficking, corrupt tactics, and continued disregard for the rule of law have contributed to the continued destabilization of Haiti.
Like Lambert, Latortue has also had lengthy involvement in drug trafficking activities. Latortue has engaged in the trafficking of cocaine from Colombia to Haiti and has directed others to engage in violence on his behalf.
“Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue abused their official positions to conduct drug trafficking and made it easier for other criminals and networks to transport drugs into the region,” the Under-Secretary of the Treasury said in Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Affairs, Brian E. Nelson.
"The Treasury's designation of Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue demonstrates the United States' commitment to holding accountable those who contribute to the international illicit drug trade, facilitate corruption, and those who seek to profit from instability by Haiti."
What the sanctions implies :
Following this designation, , all property and interests in property of the designated individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for the individuals designated today could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior
Reacting to these sanctions, former Senator Youri Latortue rejects the US-Canadian allegations and sanctions and said on a radio station in the capital "I will defend myself with the law and the truth". For his part, the President of the Senate, Joseph Lambert declared that he would take legal action against the United States and Canada.