Amid investigations into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a request to send troops, the United States sent a technical team to Haiti on Sunday (11) to determine the country’s security and support needs. Caribbean, he told Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
US President Joe Biden will analyze the information obtained during the visit to decide how to help Haiti, which is going through a serious crisis caused by the death of Moise. According to Kirby, in an interview with Fox News, the mission will involve members of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
It is not known how long the American team will stay in Haiti. A government official interviewed by Reuters on condition of anonymity said the White House, to assess the situation, would consult with regional partners and the UN (United Nations).
Haitian officials on Friday called on the United States and the UN to send troops to help stabilize the country. The deployment of United Nations peacekeepers depends on the approval of the Security Council and recalls the presence of international troops in Haiti between 2004 and 2017, in a mission which had the main role of Brazil. The occupation force gave the country a semblance of normalcy during the period, but since the departure of the UN, Haiti has resumed its cycle of political and institutional instability.
Biden faces a difficult choice: Sending military personnel would be a setback in the Democrats’ proposal to reduce US military activity abroad, as evidenced by the accelerated withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, where the intervention s ‘announced brief and ultimately lasted two decades.
On the other hand, the omission of a Democrat could generate a new crisis of mass migration to the United States – Haiti, located in the Caribbean, is 1,100 km from Florida. On Saturday (10), dozens of Haitians went to the American embassy in the capital, Port-au-Prince, to seek asylum.
According to an article in the American newspaper The New York Times, authorities in the Biden government were initially unwilling to send troops to help the Caribbean country, and so Americans were more likely to help train the army and Haitian police without getting involved in combat.
In 1915, the United States sent a military mission to Haiti, also after the assassination of a president, and ended up occupying the country for 19 years. In 2010, after the earthquake, the Obama administration sent $ 100 million in aid. About 1 million Haitians live in the United States today.
The Biden administration has previously announced that it will send FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents to assess how the U.S. government can assist with investigations into Moise’s death. It is not yet clear who ordered the crime or the cause.
Haitian authorities say 28 gunmen have taken part in the action and have arrested 19 suspects so far, including Colombians and Haitian-Americans who were part of a paramilitary group. According to the Miami Herald, some of the suspects testified that they were commissioned to arrest Moses and take him to the presidential palace, but when they arrived they found him dead.
According to local media, Moise was found with at least 12 gunshot marks. “The office and living room were ransacked. We found him lying on his back, [usando] blue pants, a white shirt stained with blood and an open mouth, ”Magistrate Carl Henry Destin told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
This Saturday (10), Jimmy Cherizier, leader of one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs, said his men could take to the streets to demand answers on the murder, which would increase instability in the country. For him, Moise was killed by a collusion involving the bourgeoisie, the police and foreigners.
“It was a national and international plot against the Haitian people. We told all our bases to mobilize and take to the streets to obtain clarification on the murder, ”said Cherizier, known as“ Barbecue ”and leader of the G9 group, which brings together nine Haitian gangs.
He also claimed that his supporters could practice “legitimate violence” and that it was time for the owners of the system – Syrian and Lebanese businessmen who dominate sectors of the economy – to step down. Some of them got into a fight with Moise. “It’s time for black people with frizzy hair like us to own supermarkets, car dealerships, and banks.”
The statements reinforce fears of uncontrolled violence in Port-au-Prince, where gangs and police fight for control of the streets, worsening the situation in a country marked by poverty.
There are also splits at the top of the government, as three names claim the right to rule Haiti. Upon the president’s death, Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph took command and declared a state of siege for two weeks, a move that expanded the powers of the executive. However, doubts remain about its legitimacy, since the successor of Moses, according to the Constitution, would be the president of the Supreme Court.
However, the post has been vacant since its incumbent, René Sylvestre, died of the Covid-19.
But Joseph was also on the verge of leaving his post as prime minister. Ariel Henry was supposed to take the job on Wednesday, but the aftermath of the crime prevented the nomination. Thus, the temporary worker remains in charge, with the support of the United States and the United Nations. On Friday, however, the country’s Senate passed a resolution appointing House Leader Joseph Lambert as the country’s president. But the Senate currently has only 10 of the 30 filled seats, and only eight lawmakers have accepted the measure.
The death exacerbated the country’s political crisis, which had at the center of the dispute a discussion about the end of Moise’s tenure. He was elected in 2015 and was due to take office on February 7, 2016 for a five-year term. Amid accusations of fraud, however, the election was called off and had to be redone the following year. During this period, the country was ruled by an interim government.
Moïse won the new vote and took command of Haiti on February 7, 2017. As the country’s presidential term is five years, he said he should remain in office until February 2022, so – a claim supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States. The opposition, however, argued that his term should have ended in February of this year.
In the midst of this discussion, the then president decided to suspend two-thirds of the Senate, the entire Chamber of Deputies and all mayors and began to rule the country by decree – which led to a wave of government protests and accusations. authoritarianism.