Haiti is reportedly in talks with Russia to nix the visa requirement for Haitian citizens looking to travel to Russia, according to a foreign affairs minister for the island nation.
Haitian Foreign Minister Edmond Bocchit recently announced that a memorandum of understanding is in the works with Russia that would allow Haitiasns to visit the Kremlin and Russian citizens to visit Haiti visa-free.
As reported by Loop Haiti, Bocchit briefed local newspaper “Le Nouvelliste” on the the agreement following a recent meeting with Russian Ambassador for Venezuela, Vladmir Fedorovich Zaemsky. The ambassador had also sat down with Pitit Dessalines leader, Jean-Charles Moise, a meeting that was widely publicized.
In an interview with the paper, Bocchit said his talk with Zaemsky included a discussion on the long-standing relationship between the two nations, as well as the anticipated signing of the news visa waiver agreement. Haitian media notes that while diplomatic relations between Haiti and Russia have been side-eyed by the U.S., the two countries have enjoyed a bond that dates back to the 20th century.
According to the Loop Haiti, dozens of Haitian students have been accepted into Moscow universities on scholarship where they study everything from international relations and computer science to medicine and engineering. Additionally, the outlet reports that over 10,000 foreigners are invited each study in Russia.
Should the MOU be signed, Haitian observers speculate — with little actual evidence — that it could cause a rift between Russian President Valdimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, whose close relationship has been denounced by top Democrats. Just this week, Trump attended the G-7 summit and said his ” inclination is to say yes” to allowing Russia to rejoin the international group after it was booted over its takeover of Crimea in 2014.
U.S. Democratic leaders have cringed at the idea.
“Under no circumstances should President Putin be invited to participate in the G-7 until the Russian government undertakes demonstrable actions to show its willingness to behave responsibly both domestically and abroad,” read a letter to the president signed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats.
It continued: “Readmitting Putin’s Russia to the G-7 would be contrary to our values and a clear abdication of the United States’ responsibilities as the world’s leading democracy.”