The US may assist Haiti with a probe into the violent murder of President Jovenel Moïse that has shaken the Caribbean nation and plunged it into political uncertainty.
“We are aware … of the Haitian National Police’s request for investigative assistance and the United States is responding,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
“The situation on the ground … is evolving rapidly,” he went on.
“We’ve remained in regular contact with Haitian officials, including the investigative authorities, to discuss how the United States can assist going forward.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was said to have spoken directly with Acting President Claude Joseph, who stepped into power after a group of assassins gunned down Moïse in his home on Wednesday.
Moïse died and his wife Martine Moïse was wounded in the raid by individuals described as mercenaries posing as US Drug Enforcement agents.
“Secretary Blinken extended condolences to the family and loved ones of President Moïse and to the people of Haiti,” Price said in a prepared statement.
“The Secretary also expressed the United States’ wishes for First Lady Martine Moïse’s recovery. Secretary Blinken reiterated the United States’ continued commitment to work with the Government of Haiti in support of the Haitian people and democratic governance, peace, and security.”
During Price’s press briefing, he wouldn’t confirm reports that at least one of the men arrested related to the assassination is an American citizen. There have been six people arrested related to the assassination, reports on Thursday said, and two in custody were reportedly Haitian-Americans. Several others were killed in shootouts with cops, reports said.
Moïse, a former banana exporter, was facing fierce political opposition and criticism for pushing back the country’s elections, the Associated Press reported.
But he had set Sept. 26 as an election day for the presidency and parliament, the AP stated.
The day before he was killed, Moïse had named Ariel Henry as Joseph’s replacement as prime minister. Joseph told the AP that Henry never took office, which is why Joseph became acting president under law.
But Henry reportedly said there was “confusion” about leadership.
Joseph has said he favors the election going forward as planned.
With Post wires.