On July 7, 2021, tragedy struck. Someone shot and killed Haitian president Jovenel Moïse at his private residence located in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. After the death of President Moïse, police murdered four suspects during a gun battle. Meanwhile, the authorities arrested the other two. With authorities in Haiti not identifying the suspects, natives have been on edge trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. This has led to questions regarding who the suspects are, why they committed the crime and what is the next plan for Haiti is.
The US’ Response to Assassination
Acknowledging the mishap, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, expressed that “Those responsible for this heinous act must be brought to justice. The United States echoes calls for calm, and we are committed to working together to support democracy, rule of law and peace in Haiti.” U.S. President Joe Biden gave his take on the situation, adding, “The people of Haiti deserve peace and security, and Haiti’s political leaders need to come together for the good of the country.” The Pentagon press secretary John Kirby reveals that the U.S. focuses on gaining an understanding of how to investigate this crime and attaching a criminal name to it.
President Biden’s Administration plans to send the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to Port-au-Prince to brainstorm ways the U.S. would support the Caribbean amid the chaos. The U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced a delegation meeting with the Haitian government to discuss organizational structures to gain a better understanding and met with Haitian national police currently investigating Haitian President Moïse’s assassination.
Past US Involvement with Haiti
In the past, the U.S. has provided aid to Haiti. Looking back at Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, the U.S. offered humanitarian assistance, in other words, to promote human welfare. The priority areas of focus for the U.S. have been economic growth, poverty reduction, improved health care, food security, human rights, improved democratic institutions and building a more reliable Haitian National Police team. Economic growth became possible in Haiti; thanks to the U.S., there was an opening of 14,000 jobs in the apparel industry at the Caracol Industrial Park after the 2010 earthquake. Furthermore, 27,000 new jobs emerged in the year following Haiti’s natural disaster.
The employment rate increased through the work of Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement, as well as Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments. Democratic Institutions were able to develop with the United States funding of a 10-megawatt power plant to provide 24-hour electricity to the Caracol Industrial Park and five collectives surrounding the park. They provided electricity to more than 14,000 households, businesses and government institutions.
Food Security in Haiti
Food security increased thanks to the U.S.; it helped 70,000 farmers increase crop yields. Haiti received assistance in part because the U.S. “introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, and other technologies to more than 118,000 farmers through food security programs.” For human rights, the U.S. targeted The Haitian National Police. The U.S. assistance programs have impacted the HNP through an increase of 15,300 officers. Because of this change, more Haitians now have access to police officers; another advantage of the increase is the ability to evaluate police commissariats – also known as police stations in the United States.
In health care, the United States’ assistance has resulted in improvements in child nutrition and mortality, access to maternal health care and the control of HIV/AIDS. Former President Barack Obama’s Emergency Plans for Aids Relief involved U.S. government interventions contributing to the maintenance of HIV reduction, keeping it at 2% for a decade. To give a better perspective of what changes took place, the U.S. government placed 164 clinics across Haiti in August 2019. As a result, 73,000 children received vaccines, skilled professionals operated on 24,500 births and 40,000 women could access routine health care for pregnancy.
Plans for US Involvement in Haiti
With the U.S.’ ability to support Haiti in the past, there is no doubt a plan is in the works. Paski looks back at her trip to the nation, “This is just the beginning of our conversation. We will remain in close touch with law enforcement, with Haiti, about how we can assist and provide assistance moving forward.” Haiti has requested that the White House send troops to help stabilize the country. The Interim Claude Joseph iterates, “We definitely need assistance and we’ve asked our international partners to help.” As there is no president in power as of now due to the death of the Supreme Court President Rene Sylvestre from COVID-19, State Department Spokesman Ned Price has advised, “It is still the view of The United States that elections this year should proceed.”
With an international support system for Haiti after the death of President Jovenel Moise, a plan for the island to get back on track is in the works.
– Alexis Jones