U.S. appoints particular envoy to Haiti after assassination of President Jovenel Moise

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Officials attend a ceremony in honor of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 20, 2021.

Valerie Bäriswyl | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration announced Thursday the appointment of a special envoy to help coordinate US aid and promote peace in Haiti following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise earlier this month.

Daniel Foote, a Senior Foreign Service career member, was appointed to the role by the State Department.

“The Ministry congratulates Special Envoy Foote on his new role and thanks him for his continued service to his country,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Foote will work with Haitian and international partners to promote stability and peace in the Caribbean nation and support efforts to secure free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, the State Department said in a statement. He will also work with partners to coordinate humanitarian, security and investigative assistance in Haiti.

Foote will work with U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison to coordinate U.S. diplomatic efforts, and the pair will work closely with the National Security Council to assist Haiti following the assassination.

The State Department highlighted Foote’s extensive diplomatic experience as a former deputy head of mission in Haiti and a former American ambassador to Zambia.

However, Foote was dismissed as U.S. ambassador in December 2019 after criticizing the detention of a gay couple in Zambia, a deeply conservative country where homosexual acts are illegal.

Zambia’s interior minister said Foote “crossed the border” and was no longer tenable. The US decided to call Foote back, but found it was “dismayed” by the Zambian government and resisting attacks against LGBTQ people.

The announcement comes weeks after Moise was shot dead by a group of armed men at his Port-au-Prince residence, a shocking assassination attempt that plunged Haiti into deeper political upheaval.

The Haitian government asked for help from the US after the killing, including sending American troops to protect critical infrastructure.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the US will only send American marines to secure the US embassy in Haiti and has no plans to send military aid.

“The idea of ​​sending American troops to Haiti is currently not on the agenda,” said Biden on Thursday at a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Earlier this month, the US sent a delegation of US officials to Haiti to assess the political and security situation in the country and promote free and fair elections.