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

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

Valerie Baeriswyl | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday announced the appointment of a special envoy to help coordinate U.S. assistance and promote peace in Haiti following the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moise earlier this month. 

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

“The Department congratulates Special Envoy Foote as he takes on his new role and thanks him for his continued service to his country,” the State Department said in a statement. 

Foote will engage with Haitian and international partners to promote stability and peace in the Caribbean nation, and will support efforts to hold free and fair presidential and legislative 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 alongside the 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 support Haiti following the assassination. 

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

However, Foote was recalled as a U.S. ambassador in December 2019 after he criticized the imprisonment of a gay couple in Zambia, a deeply conservative country where homosexual acts are illegal. 

Zambia’s home affairs minister said Foote had “crossed the line” and was no longer tenable. The U.S. decided to recall Foote but noted that it was “dismayed” with the Zambian government and opposes abuses against LGBTQ people.

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

The Haitian government has called on the U.S. for assistance following the killing, including a request for the deployment of American troops to protect critical infrastructure. 

President Joe Biden announced last week that the U.S. will only send American marines to secure the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and has no plans of sending military assistance. 

“The idea of sending American forces into Haiti is not on the agenda at this moment,” Biden said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday. 

Earlier this month, the U.S. sent a delegation of U.S. officials to Haiti to assess the political and security situation in the nation, and encourage free and fair elections. 

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