Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie is trying to help broker a plan to get Haiti back on its feet after a gas shortage that sparked violence.
“We have to go into crisis management mode,” she said in an interview Wednesday from Peru.
“Right now there is no security in Haiti. Gangs control every level of society.”
She spoke at the beginning of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which includes most of the Americas.
Jolie has convened meetings with Haiti and neighboring countries to push forward with plans to rectify the fuel shortages that have led to protests, looting and medical collapse.
She said sanctions against gang members obstructing access to fuel should include governance plans to eliminate corruption.
“We need to support a Haitian-led solution and we need to back (party) parties because the status quo is not an option.”
Jolie said Canada is also trying to combat online misinformation that blames the U.S. for skyrocketing inflation rather than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Food shortages persist in parts of South America, and gas is out of control in several small states in the Caribbean, she noted.
“Inequality is linked to a complex crisis facing many people across the hemisphere,” she said, adding that Canada is also driving reform of the world’s financial institutions.
“Many countries are facing dramatic budget problems and we cannot let them down because in doing so we are letting millions down.”
For years, members of the Organization of American States have debated whether to include nondemocratic countries.Cuba’s membership is on hold, but Nicaragua withdrew this year after denouncing its human rights record.
Venezuela is technically still a member of the group, but countries, including Canada, have sought to have representatives of the democratic opposition represented instead of representatives sent from Nicolas Maduro’s brutal dictatorship. .
“This is not the situation Canada wanted,” said Maxwell Cameron, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia who specializes in Latin America.
“It is a difficult time for a country like Canada, which wants to be a neutral intermediary that embraces multilateralism and democracy, and is not seen as fully aligned with the United States.”
Canada has previously led moves to deny the legitimacy of Venezuela’s dictatorship and recognize rebel leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s head of state.
But Cameron said with little success, leaders now have to decide how much they can work with the administration.
“One must be practical,” he said.
“It’s time to reset that policy. It’s time to look beyond Guaidó and start a new strategy.”
Cameron said the move to authoritarianism in Guatemala and El Salvador raises further questions.
Jolie said Canada is strongly opposed to authoritarian states while maintaining ties with Cuba.
“We condemn the Maduro regime’s human rights abuses and call on and push the parties to return to the negotiating table,” she said.