Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in the early morning of July 7th by a team of gunmen who stormed his house in the Port-au-Prince suburb. His wife, Martine, was badly wounded but survived and is recovering in a hospital in Miami, Florida. Consistent with the PNH, the squad included 26 Colombians, most of them ex-military, and two Americans; 20 of them are arrested and charged, while the remainder were killed in gun battles with police. Soon after the assassination, the internal security of Haiti was compromised as citizens took to the streets to protest, causing unrest.
The de facto Haitian government quietly requested troop deployments by the US and United Nations to defend the country’s essential infrastructure. The government of acting Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph made its request for troops public on July 9, but consistent with Reuters, which viewed copies of two letters sent by the govt to the US and UN, the request had first been made privately two days earlier.
However, the first reason the US has thus far rejected the request is reported because it had been “confusing.” “With regard to the circumstances [in] which we would send military troops to Haiti, we’re only sending American Marines to our embassy to make sure they are secure, and nothing is out of whack at all,” US President Joe Biden said at a news conference in Washington, DC, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. “But the idea of sending American forces into Haiti is not on the agenda at this moment,” he added.
Congressional sources told Capitol Hill that the request was ambiguous about several things, including whether Joseph’s government was requesting police or troops, thanks to the very fact that “gendarmerie” can ask either. Although, the US has already sent several officials from the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security to Haiti to assist with the investigation of Moïse’s murder, also as $5 million in supplemental funding for the Haitian National Police (PNH).
Although in history the US has repeatedly intervened in Haiti since it won its independence from France in 1804, including a 19-year military occupation from 1915 to 1934 under which 15,000 Haitians were killed, and more recently in 2004 when the US overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The deployment of US troops to Haiti is unpopular in both nations, as early this year, when the US-backed Moïse’s claim to possess a presidency one year longer than the supreme court had ruled, Haitians demonstrating in mass protests demanded that the US stop meddling in Haitian affairs.
Earlier on Thursday, protesters outside the US State Department headquarters in Washington, DC, also demanded the US stop intervening in Haiti and let Haitians mapped out the difficulty themselves.