Four members of U.S. Congress ask Biden to name Haiti special envoy

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MIAMI (Reuters) -Four members of the U.S. Congress have called on the Biden administration to name a new Special Envoy for Haiti, as rampant gang violence cripples the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The post was created after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, but diplomat Daniel Foote resigned from the job just months after being named, in protest over the mass deportation of Haitian migrants and overall U.S. policy toward Haiti. A new envoy has not been named.

Gang violence has worsened since then, with bloody turf wars killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands. Gang battles in recent weeks have broken out near the seat of government in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"The lack of this critical touchpoint in the administration has undoubtedly undermined the administration's efforts to support the Haitian people," according to an Aug. 15 letter signed by Representatives Val Demings, Yvette Clarke, Ayanna Pressley and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick.

"Mr President, it is with utmost urgency that we ask you to appoint a new Special Envoy to the Republic of Haiti," reads the letter, which noted Haiti does not have an elected government.

The letter was first reported by the Miami Herald.

Consulted about the letter, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the Biden administration is committed to supporting Haiti by providing aid and by backing a "Haitian solution to the current political impasse."

"Our highly capable team from across the U.S. government works diligently with stakeholders in Haiti as well as within the international community to support a more stable, secure, and prosperous Haiti," said the spokesperson.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler, Robert Birsel)