The Biden administration on Thursday appointed a special envoy to Haiti as a new interim government took power and the Caribbean nation prepared to bury its assassinated president, Jovenel Moïse.
Ambassador Daniel Foote, who served as Deputy Chief of Mission to Haiti and previously United States Ambassador to Zambia, “will engage with Haitian and international partners to facilitate long-term peace and stability and support efforts to to hold elections elections, ”State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“He will also work with partners to coordinate assistance efforts in several areas, including humanitarian aid, security and investigation,” Price added.
Biden’s team urged democratic elections to be held this year amid the country’s protracted economic and political crisis, despite concerns in Haiti that gang violence could stifle the vote.
The US government is currently assisting the Haitian National Police’s investigation into the murder of Moïse and has offered extensive assistance to the interim government. The Biden administration also delivered 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the country last week – Haiti’s first vaccine doses – and says more are on the way.
But Biden has ruled out sending U.S. troops to the country after the government asked for security assistance to secure its ports and electoral infrastructure in the wake of Moses’ death.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the formation of a new interim government under Prime Minister Ariel Henry and reiterated his call for an election.
“We remain determined to support the Haitian government’s investigation into the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, to expand vaccination efforts against COVID-19, to work with the Haitian National Police to promote security and the rule of law,” and coordinate with the international community to establish the necessary conditions. Haitians to vote as soon as possible, ”Blinken said.
“We call on all Haitians to work together to maintain the peace and will continue to support the Haitian people in their efforts to build a stable, prosperous and democratic country. “