Updated Jul 11, 2021 - World

U.S. "analyzing" Haiti's request to send troops


Haitian citizens argue with police as they gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tabarre, Haiti on July 10, asking for asylum. Photo: VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP via Getty Images

The Defense Department is "analyzing" a request by Haitian authorities to send troops to assist in stabilizing the country and protect critical infrastructure following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The latest: No decision has been made, Kirby said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "We're analyzing it, just like we would any other request for assistance here at the Pentagon. It's going through a review."

  • Haitian officials have also reached out to the United Nations about sending peacekeeping forces, Reuters reports.
  • Elections Minister Mathias Pierre told AP Saturday the troops were needed because local police didn't have enough resources, saying: "We're asking for small troops to assist and help us. ... As long as we are weak, I think we will need our neighbors."
  • Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in an interview with ABC News on Saturday that police had "the right people" in custody and revealed that Moïse was "tortured" before he was killed.

What they're saying: The State Department said in a statement Axios on Friday that the Haitian government "has requested security and investigative assistance, and we remain in regular contact with Haitian officials to discuss how the United States can assist."

  • "I think that’s really where are our energies are best applied right now, in helping them get their arms around investigating this incident and figuring out who’s culpable, who’s responsible and how best to hold them accountable going forward,’' Kirby said on Sunday.

What to watch: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday the U.S. will send federal law enforcement officers to aid in the investigation.

  • Senior officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security will travel to Port-au-Prince "as soon as possible" to "assess the situation and how we may be able to assist," Psaki said.
  • The White House will also send coronavirus vaccines to Haiti as early as next week, according to Psaki.

The big picture: 2o suspects have been detained over the assassination, which also wounded Martine Moïse, Joseph said.

  • An audio recording, claimed to be of the first lady, was posted to her verified Twitter account on Saturday. In it, the female voice says that the deceased president's enemies orchestrated his assassination, but does not identify anyone specifically.
  • The assassination comes amid increasing political turmoil and gang violence in Port-au-Prince as inflation and a delayed election contribute to the state of crisis in the Western Hemisphere's most impoverished nation.

Go deeper: Coup claim deepens Haiti's political crisis

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.

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