U.S. delegation sent to Haiti departs shortly after arrival
▶ Watch Video: How Haiti can move forward after assassination of president
A delegation sent to Haiti by President Biden — including U.S. ambassador the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield — left that country shortly after arriving when gunshots were heard at the funeral for assassinated President Jovenel Moïse, the White House confirmed on Friday. Thomas-Greenfield and other officials said the delegation had returned to the U.S. safely, CBS News’ Pam Falk confirmed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday afternoon that “the presidential delegation is safe and accounted for in light of the reported shootings outside of the funeral.” The report of gunshots at Moïse’s funeral were first reported by Reuters.
The White House had announced Friday morning of a delegation led by Thomas-Greenfield that would be going to Haiti to “pay respects upon the death” of Moïse, who was shot dead in his home on July 7. Friday’s state funeral was supposed to foster unity, but it was roiled by tear gas and gunfire. Mourners shouted “Justice for Jovenel!” and cheered as Moïse’s widow, Martine, gave a rousing eulogy that suggested her husband had been killed due to his work for the people of Haiti, according to The Associated Press. Martine was also wounded in the attack that killed her husband.
“They’re watching us, waiting for us to be afraid,” she said about his killers. “We don’t want vengeance or violence. We’re not going to be scared.”
The funeral comes just days after interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph stepped aside, and was replaced by Ariel Henry, who was designated by Moïse to replace Joseph days before he was slain.
Thomas-Greenfield said in the statement that the delegation that before departing, the bipartisan delegation met with Henry, as well as Joseph, who is now the foreign minister, and other officials. The U.S. delegation “underscored the commitment of the United States to support an inclusive and peaceful dialogue in Haiti” to the Haitian officials, Thomas-Greenfield said.
“The people of Haiti deserve peace, security, and a better future. Now is the time for the international community to come together to support the Haitian people in a time of great suffering,” Thomas-Greenfield said in statement.
The Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Haiti to pay respects upon the death of His Excellency Jovenel Moïse, Former President of the Republic of Haiti included: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, who lead the delegation; Michele J. Sison, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti; Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Jeff Fortenberry, Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives;Daniel Foote, Special Envoy to Haiti, U.S. Department of State; and, Juan S. Gonzalez, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere, National Security Council.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday that the U.S. will continue to provide” requested assistance, including equipment and training” to the government of Haiti.