White House Offers Assistance After Haiti’s President Is Assassinated

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, also called for Haiti’s legislative and presidential elections to go forward in September, as scheduled.

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White House offers assistance after Haiti’s president is assassinated.

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U.S. Offers Support After Haitian President’s Assassination

The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said that the Biden administration was prepared to help Haitian authorities with the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

We continue to be engaged, of course, in touch through a range of channels, but we don’t have updates at this point. The Haitian authorities are, of course, leading the investigation, which is, of course, in its early stages. We’re ready and willing to support Haitian authorities, but we’re going to let the investigation play out. It is still, it is our view and we continue to call for elections to happen this year. And we believe they should proceed. We know that free and fair elections will facilitate a peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected president. And we certainly continue to support Haiti’s democratic institutions. We will call on all political parties, civil society and stakeholders to work together in the wake of the tragedy and echo the acting prime minister’s call for calm. We have not received an official request for assistance, a formal request, but we stand ready to receive that.

The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said that the Biden administration was prepared to help Haitian authorities with the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

July 8, 2021, 7:26 p.m. ET

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, on Thursday offered U.S. assistance to Haiti in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and renewed American support for legislative and presidential elections that had been scheduled for September.

Ms. Psaki did not say if the U.S. recognized Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, as the leader of the country, as a power struggle brewed between him and Ariel Henry, who had been appointed as prime minister by Mr. Moise two days before his death.

“We recognize the democratic institutions of Haiti, and we are going to continue to work with them directly,” Ms. Psaki said.

Asked again about the power struggle in Haiti, Ms. Psaki suggested that the situation would be resolved with new elections.

“We have been in touch with the acting prime minister, and we echo his call for calm,” Ms. Psaki said. “But I would again reiterate that’s one of the reasons we have called for elections this year, and we believe that they should proceed.”

Opposition groups and protesters in Haiti had called for the elections to be canceled, citing violence and unrest in the country as well as a political crisis intensified by Mr. Moise’s refusal to step down at the end of a five-year term in February.

Ms. Psaki wasn’t asked about reports that at least one American citizen is among the six people detained in the assassination of Mr. Moise. Haitian officials said another American may also be among the six, adding to their assertions that “foreigners” had been involved in the brazen attack.

The Biden administration had publicly supported Mr. Moise throughout the crisis — continuing the stance of the Trump administration on Haiti. In a statement, the State Department said that Mr. Moise’s term of office could be extended to February 2022 — contradicting a ruling by Haiti’s judiciary branch.

The Biden administration had also supported the Haitian president’s plans to hold elections and a constitutional referendum in September that would have centralized power in the presidency and allowed Mr. Moise to seek an additional term in office.

America has a long history of intervening in Haitian politics. The ruthless dictator Francois Duvalier enjoyed American support in the form of aid and military training. American support continued under the despotic rule of Mr. Duvalier’s son, Jean-Claude. The Central Intelligence Agency funded far-right Haitian paramilitaries during a period of military rule in Haiti in the 1990s. The U.S. then invaded the country to overthrow the military government in 1994, and deployed marines to restore order after another coup in 2004.

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