Haitian authorities have asked the United States to send troops to the country to help protect critical infrastructure following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, the New York Times reported.
The latest: The Pentagon on Friday evening confirmed to Military.com that "[t]he 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."
- "It was not immediately clear how U.S. officials responded to the request," according to Military.com. The Defense Department referred inquiries to the Department of State, which has not yet responded to a request for comment.
- “We definitely need assistance and we’ve asked our international partners for help,” interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told the Associated Press.
- Haitian officials also reached out to the United Nations about sending peacekeeping forces, Reuters reports.
The big picture: Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the United States 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 United States remains engaged and in close consultation with our Haitian and international partners to support the Haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president," Psaki said.
- The White House will also send coronavirus vaccines to Haiti as early as next week. "Part of that is assessing what can happen with the airport and how we will be able to deliver these," Psaki noted.
- 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.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.