Seven U.S. Senators, in a letter to President Joe Biden on December 14, 2022, expressed concern over the humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti and called for the urgent appointment of a new Ambassador and the deployment of a high-level representative .
“We are writing to express our deep concern at the human catastrophe unfolding in Haiti, and to ask that you promptly appoint a United States Ambassador to that country and immediately deploy a senior diplomatic representative to Haiti. United States Embassy in Port-au-Prince,” wrote Senators Robert Menendez, Cory A. Booker, Chaule Salumen, Charles E. Schumer, Dica Richard J. Durbin, Tim Kaine, Raphael G. Warnock and Ben Cardin.
These elected officials, including the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate who remained a Democrat after the re-election of Senator Warnock in Georgia, highlighted the issues of their appeal for the USA and Haiti.
The unchecked violence wreaking havoc in Haiti poses a direct and growing threat to U.S. national interests. The top priority for the United States must be to address the suffering of civilians while supporting a Haitian solution to the crisis. In the absence of a United States ambassador to Haiti, the deployment of a senior diplomatic representative would strengthen the United States’ ability to plan and mobilize international action, they argued before discussing the violence of the gangs, the incapacities of the PNH, food insecurity affecting 4.7 million Haitians and the resurgence of cholera.
The violence in Haiti has spiraled out of control, with reports of serious and widespread abuses against the civilian population. The gangs control more than half of the capital, Port-au-Prince. They execute, dismember and burn civilians, including women and children as young as one year old. A United Nations human rights report, this letter from the 7 US senators reads, indicates that gangs use sexual violence, including gang rape in front of children, members of the family, to terrorize, punish and subjugate the local populations.
The violence has led to systemic failure and the near collapse of Haitian institutions. Soaring food prices limit the ability of Haitians to buy, sell or produce staple foods. One in two Haitians (about 4.7 million people) experience acute food insecurity. Schools are closed; children are starving, traumatized and undereducated. Health facilities are unable to treat the injured or sick, including the growing number of people affected by the resurgence of cholera, according to the letter, which underlines that despite recent successes in restoring the main oil terminal in Haiti, the Haitian National Police remain overstaffed and understaffed to deal with gangs.
“The growing likelihood of increased emigration caused by political violence in Haiti would complicate broader U.S. government efforts to respond to the regional refugee crisis,” the senators warned in this letter to President Joe Biden. .
These senators indicated that they appreciate the targeted sanctions and the measures taken in coordination with Canada and through the United Nations and welcome the action of the Biden administration with a series of political and civil society actors. in Haiti to promote their inclusion in national policy dialogues. These elected officials have indicated that they support the deployment of USAID’s Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART) to expand humanitarian efforts.
“However, more must be done,” wrote these senators, who stressed “that it has been more than a year since the United States had an ambassador or special envoy in Haiti.”
This is not the first time in recent months that US elected officials have called on President Joe Biden to strengthen the US diplomatic presence in Haiti.
On August 15, 2022, four Democratic parliamentarians, “gravely concerned about the deterioration of conditions” in Haiti, in a letter, called on President Joe Biden to appoint a new United States special envoy to Haiti, almost a year after the resounding resignation of Ambassador Daniel Foote.
“The position of Special Envoy to Haiti was created following the assassination of President Moïse in July 2021. However, following the resignation of Ambassador Daniel Foote in September 2021, no successor has been designated. The absence of this point of contact has undoubtedly undermined the administration’s efforts to support the Haitian people and Haiti’s democratic institutions,” the letter read.
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US senators call for the rapid appointment of a new ambassador to Haiti