US Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote resigned from his position Thursday, expressing his desire “not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees” back to the tumultuous Caribbean nation.
Foote’s resignation letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes in the wake of criticism by UN agencies, activists and lawmakers of the Biden administration’s treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.
President Joe Biden granted Temporary Protected Status for Haitian refugees in May. Foote, who was appointed as the special envoy to Haiti in July, said in his resignation letter that the US policy approach to Haiti “remains deeply flawed,” and only serves to “add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.” He also stated that his “recommendations have been ignored and dismissed.”
Given the recent political turmoil and environmental disasters, Foote claims that Haiti “is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime.” He also criticized rampant international meddling in the island nation’s affairs, including American support for the new de factor Prime Minister following the assassination of Haiti’s president. What Haiti really needs from the international community is humanitarian assistance and COVID vaccine funding. He went on:
But what our Haitian friends really want, and need, is the opportunity to chart their own course, Without international puppeteering and favored candidates but with genuine support for that course. I do not believe that Haiti can enjoy stability until her citizens have the dignity of truly choosing their own leaders fairly and acceptably. … The hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner‐ again‐ is impressive. This cycle of international political interventions in Haïti has consistently produced catastrophic results. More negative impacts to Haïti will have calamitous consequences not only in Haïti, but in the US. and our neighbors in the hemisphere.
A senior official of the Biden administration claimed that Foote was mischaracterizing his departure. According to the official, Foote had issued an ultimatum to the administration: he wanted “full authority over the Haiti portfolio or he would resign.”