‘We need help’: Haiti’s interim leader requests US troops

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Interim President Claude Joseph speaks during a news conference at his residence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 11, 2021, four days after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s interim government says it has asked the U.S. and U.N. to deploy troops to protect key infrastructure as it tries to stabilize the country and prepare the way for elections following President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph’s request came as more details emerged of what’s becoming a murky international conspiracy involving mercenaries holed up in a foreign embassy and a private security firm operating out of a cavernous warehouse in Miami.

The latest suspect to be detained as part of the investigation includes Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian in his 60s living in Florida who identifies himself as a doctor and has accused the leaders of his homeland of corruption.

The head of Haiti’s police accused Sanon of working with those who plotted and participated in Moïse’s killing, but gave no information on the purported masterminds. The police chief says Haitian authorities obtained the information from interrogations and other parts of the investigation. 

Authorities said the escalation of gang violence in Haiti threatens to complicate — and be aggravated by — political efforts to recover from last week’s brazen slaying. Haiti’s government is in disarray. There’s no parliament, no president, a dispute over who is prime minister and a weak police force. But the gangs seem more organized and powerful than ever.

Violence is paralyzing the fragile economy, shuttering schools, overwhelming police and disrupting efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Haitian religious group compared the situation to “a vast desert where wild animals engulf us.” And it added: ”“We are refugees and exiles in our own country.” 

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