- The Washington Times - Monday, July 12, 2021

The White House said Monday a delegation from multiple U.S. agencies is trying to help Haiti maintain security and pave the way to “free and fair” elections in the wake of the July 7 assassination of President Jouvenel Moise.

Officials from the National Security Council and departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State traveled to Haiti on Sunday at the Haitian government’s request.

“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,”  security council spokeswoman Emily Horne said.

They met with acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph and Prime Minister-Designate Ariel Henry in a joint meeting and sat down with Senate President Joseph Lambert to “encourage open and constructive dialogue to reach a political accord that can enable the country to hold free and fair elections.”

The Haitian government is trying to keep a lid on growing unrest in the impoverished nation in the wake of the killing at Moise‘s home. Authorities are hunting down suspects and have arrested a Haitian-born doctor from Florida who they believe was plotting to take power.

Mr. Joseph called on the U.S. to send military troops to stabilize the situation in Haiti, but the Biden administration sent the delegation instead. White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said the delegation has returned to the U.S.

She said the request for troops hasn’t been ruled out, but that clarifying the political situation is the more pressing issue at the moment. Mr. Joseph’s claim to succeed the slain president has been challenged by Mr. Henry and Mr. Lambert. Moise governed largely by decree in his final year in office.

Emily Horne, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said the U.S. delegation held a joint meeting with the three men.

“What was clear from their trip is there is a lack of clarity about the future of political leadership,” Ms. Psaki said.

In Haiti Monday, the mystery only deepened over the arrest of a failed Haitian businessman living in Florida who authorities say was a key player in the elaborate assassination mission, the Associated Press reported.

Haitian authorities identified the suspect as Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 62, who once expressed a desire to lead his country in a YouTube video. However he is unknown in Haitian political circles, the AP reported, and some who know him suggest he was duped by those really behind the Moise assassination, which also seriously wounded the president’s wife.

A Florida friend of Mr. Sanon told The Associated Press that the suspect is an evangelical Christian pastor and a licensed physician in Haiti, but not in the U.S. The associate said on background that Mr. Sanon told him he was approached by people claiming to represent the U.S. State and Justice departments who wanted to install him as president. The associate said the plan was for Moise to be arrested, not killed.

Haiti’s National Police chief, Leon Charles, told reporters in Port-au-Prince that the president’s killers were protecting Mr. Sanon, whom he accused of working with those who plotted in the assassination. He gave no information on who he believed was ultimately behind the assassination.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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