The White House said Monday that the US has not ruled out the idea of sending troops to Haiti. In the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Haiti requested that the US send military assistance to help secure infrastructure.
When asked about the request, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “It’s still under review.” Also on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the US military is “reviewing” the prospect of sending troops to Haiti.
When the request was made on Friday, a US official quickly downplayed the idea and told Reuters that there were no plans to deploy troops. But judging by Psaki and Kirby’s comments, a final decision on the possible deployment has not been made by the Biden administration.
Considering the long dark history of US intervention in Haiti, there are many Haitians opposed to the idea of the US military being deployed to their country. In the meantime, the US has sent a delegation of officials from the National Security Council and the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State.
The White House said the delegation arrived on Sunday and has met with Haitian officials, including interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph. “The delegation reviewed the security of critical infrastructure with Haitian government officials and met with the Haitian National Police, who are leading the investigation into the assassination,” NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.
Moise was killed last Wednesday by a group of over two dozen gunmen, according to Haitian investigators. Most suspects are from Colombia, including many who served in the Colombian military. So far, 23 Colombians have been arrested, along with three Haitians.
One of the Haitian nationals recently arrested is a Florida resident who Haitian police are accusing of acting as a middle man between the Colombians and a company that hired them as mercenaries. Haiti’s national police chief said a Florida-based security company bought 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for the Colombian suspects.
A report from CNN said several of the suspects were previously informants for US law enforcement. The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that at least one of the suspects arrested by Haitian police previously worked as an informant for the DEA.