By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Sept. 24, 2021: The Joe Biden administration is slamming back hard against the insightful and tough resignation letter of the now former Haitian special envoy, Ambassador Daniel Foote with the State Department deputy secretary of state essentially throwing him under the bus Thursday.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, in an interview with Michael Wilner of McClatchy Washington Bureau accused Foote of lying based on his claims in the letter that his policy recommendations of Haiti were ignored.
“Michael, there have been multiple senior-level policy conversations on Haiti where all proposals, including those led by former Special Envoy Foote, were fully considered in a rigorous and transparent policy process,” she stated. “Quite frankly, some of those proposals were harmful to our commitment to the promotion of democracy in Haiti and to free and fair elections in Haiti so the Haitian people can choose their own future. For him to say that the proposals were ignored is, I’m sad to say, simply false.”
Sherman also claimed that one of the ideas that Foote had “was to send U.S. military back to Haiti.”
“I have followed Haiti since the Clinton administration, and I can tell you that sending U.S. military into Haiti is not the answer that will solve the terrible situation that the Haitian people are currently facing,” she said. “ It just was a bad idea.”
Asked if Ambassador Foote will be replaced, the Deputy Secretary said bluntly that she does not think a replacement is needed.
“In part we had named a special envoy after the assassination of the president of Haiti in the aftermath of the horrible storms and earthquakes and all of the other plights that the Haitian people have had to face – the ongoing confrontation of poverty,” Ambassador Sherman stated. “But we have an excellent ambassador in Haiti, Michele Sison, who is a nominee for a future post here in the United States. We have tremendous faith in her and in her leadership.”
And she revealed that Brian Nichols, the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, will be going to Haiti next week with Juan Gonzalez, who is the senior director at the NSC, to see what the best way is forward.
Deputy Secretary Shurman said the US administration wants to make sure that they are talking to civil society “so that we are hearing from the people of Haiti themselves to try to figure out what that path is.”
She also revealed that Assistant Secretary Nichols will work with Ambassador Sison and listening to civil society to see what can be done help make the judgments to get to a free and fair election as soon as possible for the Haitian people.
“Again, there’s nobody who doesn’t look at what is happening in Haiti – it is gut-wrenching. And we want to do everything we can to help the Haitian people. That’s always been the objective of U.S. foreign policy,” Shurman added.
In his letter addressed to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Ambassador Foote, blamed the “inhumane” and “counterproductive” decision to deport thousands of Haitians back to a country where armed gangs are in control of daily life.
Foote also said his recommendations on Haiti have been ignored and slammed the US’ support last week of the “unelected, de facto” prime minister, Dr. Ariel Henry.
“The hubris that makes us believe we should pick a winner – again – is impressive,” Foote wrote.