Haitian president assassinated by an unidentified group
President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home. First Lady Martine Moïse was also shot and has been hospitalized
President Biden plans to bolster security at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse earlier this month, he said Thursday.
But Biden said he has no plans to send troops to help stabilize the Caribbean country.
“We’re only sending American Marines to our embassy,” Biden told reporters. “The idea of sending American forces to Haiti is not on the agenda,” he added.
The president’s statement – during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House – came after Haiti’s interim government had requested troops at the same time Biden is withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Moïse was killed in his private residence by an unidentified group of attackers on July 7. His wife was also shot and remained in a hospital in Florida. She posted photos of herself on social media this week.
Biden also mentioned the massive protests that have broken out in Cuba in the last week, asserting “communism is a failed system” and telling reporters he was considering establishing an internet source for the Cuban people after the government shut off access.
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Associated Press)
Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s elections minister, said he thought Biden’s answer left the option for U.S. military intervention open in the future.
“This is not a closed door,” he told The Associated Press. “The evolution of the situation will determine the outcome. In the meantime, the government is doing everything we can to stabilize the country, return to a normal environment and organize elections while trying to come to a political agreement with most political parties.”
He said the country wants U.S. troops to protect key infrastructure before Haiti’s elections in the next four months.
Authorities in Haiti on Thursday forcefully pushed back against reports that current government officials were involved in Moïse’s killing, calling them “a lie.”
Haitian authorities have otherwise not been very forthcoming with information about who might have been behind the assassination, suggesting that media reports implicating current officials had struck a nerve in the government.
The request for U.S. intervention recalled the tumult following Haiti’s last presidential assassination, in 1915, when an angry mob dragged President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam out of the French Embassy and beat him to death. In response, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sent Marines to Haiti, justifying an American military occupation — which lasted nearly two decades — as a way to avert anarchy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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