tv Former U.S. Special Envoy Discusses Situation in Haiti CSPAN October 8, 2021 3:34pm-5:11pm EDT
top highlights, listen to c-span radio, and discover new podcasts for freight -- free. download c-span now today. ♪ ♪ announcer: a look at u.s. policy toward haiti with daniel foote, who resigned as u.s. special envoy for haiti last month over the treatment of patients at the u.s. southern border. he spoke to the house foreign
affairs committee for an hour and a half. the situation in haiti has rapidly deteriorated. sadly, the assassination in july, devastating earthquake and heartbreak in the del rio repatriation are exacerbating the crisis. last april assessed -- address the pressing challenges. calling on the immediate appointment of a special envoy to haiti. unfortunately, ambassador f
oote's role needed -- ended when he resigned. i look forward to continued engagement with the biden administration on modest concerning haiti, i believe that members of this committee and the public should have the opportunity to hear his assessment and recommendation in a public forum. our current policy toward haiti from the previous administration and desperate need of fresh faces and perspectives. although i have nothing but respect and admiration for our current ambassador, especially in these challenging times. i am concerned it is counterproductive.
rather than work with the commission that has a well respected and thought out plan, our embassy has continued to throw its full support behind the last incredible interim government everyone knows the country is simply not ready for free and fair elections at this time. that is why i am eager to hear from ambassador daniel foote today. i am hoping that he adds additional perspective as you continue to engage in the biden administration, the haitian government and the haitian people. i want all to know that this briefing is not about any individual. this briefing is about haiti and the haiti people and trying to
get it right. we need to make sure we hear from all sides and be a continuous one as we focus on the best routes to be of assistance and listening to the people of haiti in a civil society so that we can find a way for the will to be done. i thank you for that. and i will now turn to representative salazar from florida who is standing in for mccall for her brief remarks. >> thank you. it thank for holding this on haiti. joining us in denouncing the atrocities. thank you to ambassador daniel foote for coming to share your
experience with us. for being courageous and holding true to your values. i represent an important part of the haitian diaspora in florida. the biden administration has abandoned haiti. his ministration is enforced selective border policies and has shown great hypocrisy in the treatment of our haitian druthers and sisters. our haitian brothers and sisters have watched as migrants from other parts of the world have been allowed free passage across the southern border. when it was their turn, this administration trampled over there right to the process of law as they have given to many others. this administration has not only abandoned haitians, they have abandoned the opportunity --
they have abandoned afro cubans. we will not let you into the united states. the administration has turned their back on vulnerable haitians. they have shown the same disregard for afro cubans who remain the most marginalized community despite making up 35% of the cuban population. where was the biden administration when the cubans were crying for help this summer? where was biden when haitians went through hell? i stand here in support of the leaders in the islands and caribbean's. our countries have a very deep bonds.
this year has been a terrible year for the haitians. first an earthquake and another one. the president was assassinated. the island has been ravaged by political corruption. haitians constantly fighting gangsters and drugs. despite the under met this unimaginable hardship, haiti remains an important ally of the united states and they have recognized our key ally, taiwan. haitians and cuba, where is the united states when it comes to these two countries? i am proud to be here today alongside many members of congress who support this cause, but especially my colleagues of the congressional lack caucus. i have not always seen eye to
eye with many of them -- congressional black caucus. i have not always seen eye to eye with many of them. i think you once again for staying true. >> make you. i now turn to the chairman of the western hemisphere subcommittee civil security migration and international economic policy. you are now recognized for one minute. >> can you hear me? first of all, i want to thank you chairman for holding this important briefing. thank you for speaking with us,
ambassador daniel foote. that many of us in the house had advocated for so i fully agree that it is important for us to hear from you. for years, i've been very concerned about the current direction of u.s. policy toward haiti. i was appalled at the treatment of patient migrants -- of hai tian migrants at the border. i am deeply concerned about the worsening security situation in haiti and particularly the growing role of gangs. i am also frustrated by the slow
pace of the investigation into the assassination of president jovenel moise. solving this mortar -- solving this murder is important if you want to help haiti move forward in a better direction. our current policy, i do not believe we should put our faith in the interim government. we need to look beyond the corrupt officials that have captured much of haiti. much of the haitian government and instead engaged in wide range civil society and community-based organization. i look forward to hearing your suggestion to discuss what role the u.s. comply in supporting haitian solutions -- the u.s.
can play in supporting haitian solutions. i am concerned about this -- i am concerned about the relationship between haiti and the dominican republic. we must look to resolve and one of the concerns that i have is the dominican republic has tried to help the haitian community and it was told to me that every time they offer vaccines or they offer food, it disappears. we have to address that if we are going to get not just the -- the dominican republic but the rest of the western hemisphere to move haiti forward. i thank you again. thank you chairman for holding this critical briefing. >> thank you. we've got 90 minutes.
i'm going to go straight to questions. we are going to use a five minute format when we are doing hearing. this is not a hearing. this is a briefing. in order to get as many members and, i'm going to be pretty strict on the five minute rule for questions and answers. i will start the questions to ambassador daniel foote. as i indicated in my opening statement, the past policies of the prior administration's. you have seen where the prior administration called haiti and the haitian people bs and using an explicit -- expletive. i wanted to make sure we have an envoy so we can look at the policies of how we can move forward away from how haiti had
been treated under the prior administration. the first thing that comes to mind is, and your resignation letter you wrote that haitians need immediate assistance to restore the government to naturalize and restore order through the natural -- through the national police. this is a very complicated matter because even domestically, we are straggly without law enforcement should show up. we also know that organized criminal groups are no match for any quick police force for stability in haiti. my question to you is, what you mean when you say neutralize gangs and restore order? what does that look like in the current political and economic context, particularly when it is our goal to protect the haitian people as they chart their own course? >> thank you very much for
inviting me here today to discuss haiti. thanks for your question about security. we were there on july 23 for the funeral of the assessment it president, president jovenel moise. you got to see a little bit of the chaos that went on that day. i had the opportunity a couple of times to go down to port-au-prince, including some of the dicey neighborhoods. the gangs, it is in their control. it is in their hands. they are better equipped and better armed than the police. they control the main highways and transit routes not only across port-au-prince but across the country. they are now moving out of the slum areas and have been in
areas where that have never been gang violence. the more elite neighborhoods up the hill. when i first went, and i asked everybody can you guys do elections soon? they all said no because of security. security is not only impacting the ability to hold elections, it is everyday life. there have been a number of massacres. when i say massacres, i think the largest one was 72 people. you are talking about large numbers of people being killed by the gangs and 2019. the kidnapping for ransom has become just part of the society. there were 20 kidnapping last saturday, one day.
in port-au-prince. women and men are afraid to leave their homes, to go shopping, to go out at night. clearly, they need assistance and security. >> so are you making specific recommendations? >> we recommended that haitian police establish an anti-gang task force with several components including commandos, communicators, intelligence, people with prosecutors. they will need to be trained. the unit will be designed and then they will be vetted fully. they will be vetted, poly graft i believe. --polygraphed i believe.
everything from camouflage pants and boots, etc. >> know that you have resigned, would you recommend another envoy? >> that's a good question. i think assistant secretary knows haiti well. i know -- i knew brian before. i think a senior-level official who knows haiti and can focus on haiti will ensure a more thoughtful policy on haiti. >> do you believe that out congressional delegation would be helpful at this time? >> absolutely, i was asked by my
haitian friends. >> i now turn to the next questions. >> thank you. haiti is the second largest recipient of u.s. assistance in the western hemisphere. yet obviously, it remains the poorest country in the region. how can we make the aid that we give to haiti approved liability of the country the conditions of the people there and not just continue to encourage dependency? how can we help the country to improve? it seems like we tried for years to do this.
we have been woefully unsuccessful thus far. >> thank you. i was part of the planning of the supplemental funding for her -- for haiti post 2000 10 earthquake. i was struck by the fact that it was all americans in the room. when i went back 10 years later, i can say that we have -- we know how to not to fix haiti. i believe we need haitians in the room and haitian lead solutions. he would probably tell you the same thing. the last time and before that, i won't go back that far because i don't understand that well, a lot of the grants were done with large american ngos. i think they are looking particularly, this august
earthquake tilt focus on local ngos as opposed to giving huge grant to american ngos. haitians need to be the employer's of these ngos. >> thank you. since may, the governor -- the government of panama warned the administration of increased flows of haitian migrants transiting panama toward the u.s.. claimed they were lowered by the pro-migration messaging coming from the biden administration. although it was mixed, sometimes somebody in the administration saying don't come but saying
come on. as we discussed humanitarian issues, you have to bring up the failures of the biden administration that directly contributed to the humanitarian crisis. people were given false hope for entry into the u.s. why did the administration neglect repeated warnings for panama? the people were coming. if you look at the people under the bridges, they were not ready for the mass of humanity and the horrible conditions they had to live in. >> thank you congressman. it is difficult for me because i
was not involved in the decisions of the biden administration to speculate on what was going through their minds. you are right, and i have heard it said also that this problem needs to be solved in haiti, or they will continue to come to our border, particularly when they hear their countrymen -- earlier. deportation back to haiti is not the answer right now. i am not saying that migrants in legal status shouldn't be to ported, but haiti is too dangerous. our own diplomats cannot leave porto prince without armed guards. already failed essential the
services is overwhelmed in places like the biggest slum in the hemisphere. deportation in the short term is not going to make haiti more stable. it is going to make it worse. >> thank you. my time is expired. >> i am going to turn over to ashley to recognize members for the purposes of asking questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> can you hear me? hello? ok. ambassador, thank you very much i have been playing a role for a long time that the problem needs to be solved in haiti, not with
outside help, but i have to tell you, i was in haiti years ago and we met with the voice and i have to say that i was shocked at the conditions these police officers -- we went to see them at lunch and they didn't have a table to sit at. if you're suggesting that will be need to do is set up some units against gangs, we are talking starting from the bottom before they are effective. i do not know if they will be effective in a few years. am i wrong? >> i would never suggest you are
wrong congressman. >> i have been wrong before. >> starting in 1984 with ray kelly and nypd, the international contingent, we started training the haitian national police and we have been training them steady since then. when i left in 2012, they were an adequate police force of 14,000 members. over the past four years, five years, the police have become politicized, and political appointees from the deceased president have come in and developed ties with gangs. but the police has not gone from 100 to zero, it has gone from 100 to i would say 50 or 60. starting with a smaller unit of a few hundred, i think within
six to 10 months, we will be able to be effective to transform -- to transform the whole police back to where was, yes, that will take years but to get to a point where they can have an impact on the gangs, i believe with our experience in law enforcement and the state department that they can start -- they gangs within six to -- six to 12 months. >> i worry about the gangs now. they are better organized, they are controlling larger sections of haiti. i hate to say this -- [indiscernible] the situation is so dire, you can't send people back because of security.
they -- [indiscernible] you can't send supplies or vaccines because there is no security. i was talking to the president of the dominican republic, he said we want to help as much as we can, but we send a shipment over, as soon as they unload it, it is gone. frankly, it is discouraging to hear that from their neighbor. they're just trying to help. what he told me is that haiti is divided into seven or eight sections with gangs controlling sections of haiti. i mean, you would have to start by taking out a section here in a section there. it is just a very difficult job for a police force that needs to have the confidence of the
community, it needs to be organized. six months is not going to cut it for me. sorry. >> i spent 90 minutes with the foreign minister of the dominican republic. i also worked on that side. i understand their concerns. they have the most to lose, obviously. i am sure the administration welcomes other ideas, but it appears it is going to have to be some sort of organic haitian solution to this because i do not see an international intervention at this point. >> there is too much resentment. >> and other things. >> thank you for your comments. >> representative -- >> did you say --? >> i did.
>> excellent. i just wanted to make sure. ambassador, haiti is roughly the 19th poorest country, and one of about 25 countries we consider failed states. would that be approximately accurate? >> since the assassination, certainly. >> and going to read a portion of the countries that are similar in their economic perhaps -- per capita income, syria, south sudan, somalia, yemen, chad, sudan, afghanistan, zimbabwe. i will stop there. these countries have a great similarity and that is they all have fake -- failed governments,
widespread gangs, tribalism, you have to find someone to protect you. it is not likely to be your government. everyone i named has usaid programs and has been the subject of years of efforts by this committee, you would say that is fair? my problem right now and my question to you is, i am of the opinion we should treat haitian refugees the same as we treat other refugees, perhaps even better because they are in our hemisphere, but i also have some consternation which is that we are taking in a massive amount of people not because they have been adjudicated to be entitled, but we are taking them and because they show up at our border, we have already released
more than two, or three years backlog of people that we are not going to adjudicate. let's just say hypothetically, half of all the haitians admitted are going to wander around for several years. for no particular reason, the other half were returned to this crime torn country. my question to you, and i know it is not totally within your history or jurisdiction or jurisdictional experience, but to be fair, wouldn't we be best to begin a wholesale program of looking at who should be brought here and adjudicating them where they are, rather than encouraging them to come and take their chances getting to our border? >> yes, i think in theory that
is the way our system is supposed to work. people apply for nonimmigrant visas overseas, and what it comes through they go to the states, yes i think we all agree that immigration needs a broad look and we need to take a thoughtful look. my point with haiti, and i agree that we shouldn't, based on geopolitics, take favor of one countries refugees over another, but i think the situation on the ground, countries where temporary protected status for instance, i know we are not repatriating people back to afghanistan right now. having served in both places, the security situation is not that dire, but it is not far off. i think we need to come up with
a way to uphold our international obligations under the vienna conventions. >> i agree, the me just give you one follow-up question. if we as a committee are looking at doing what is right for the haitians and what is right for other countries and taking fair share, taking the most needy, those who would -- don't we have to look at the court rule, the stay in mexico was valid and thought out. in many cases, for people like the haitians where it is a huge project to get to the united states, shouldn't we extend what we might call remain in mexico to remain in haiti and begin helping their where have an embassy and the resources to allow these people to make their applications?
>> i agree we need better capacity to do that in port-au-prince, however the economically disadvantaged, and the people who have been refugees by the gangs are going to continue to migrate. the situation is that bad. we need capabilities to process and administer these impending immigrants in a humane manner, rather than just wholesale repatriation to a city where an american official is not allowed to go outside the walls of the compound fortress. >> this is an example where, on a hearing/briefing we are finding a lot of common ground and hopefully we will find a way to push forward from this, and
other countries in similar peril. >> representative deutch. >> thank you very much. >> representative deutch, you are muted. >> sorry. ambassador foote, thanks very much for appearing today. i appreciate the candor with which you expressed your concerns about the current u.s.-haiti policy in your resignation letter. i represent broward county. as you know, south florida's largest haitian-american community in the country. the diaspora here is vibrant and engaged. they have been shocked and horrified but -- by what they have seen.
i want to share some specific concerns before i ask you a very specific question. the processing of visas at the embassy has been incredibly slow. it was even before covid. i understand the real challenges facing our diplomats, which i know you will speak to farther. we want people to come legally. we have told people waiting for student visa appointments for now more than two years. second, reports of people being told they are being moved to a holding location only to find themselves getting off a plane, back to haiti with no warning and no chance to interview. as you can imagine, the shock and trauma of that scenario is exacerbated when so many of these people live in their countries for many years before trying to come to the united states. finally, there is great concern about civil society and diaspora groups being denied participation in a government
process, which brings me to my question. according to the world bank, personal remittances for the diaspora made up almost one quarter of haiti gdp in 2019. while financial contributions continue to be needed, haiti continues to suffer and diaspora voices are often not heard. while the haitian diaspora community is incredibly diverse, i am sure the current crisis needs to be addressed with urgency. that brings me to my question, do you believe the haitian government opposition and civil society groups have done enough to engage the diaspora, as the united states -- has united states done enough to give voice to the diaspora? what strategies would you propose to help the haitian diaspora increase its leverage and organize more effectively? thank you. >> might pleasure.
to answer your question, i do not think there is a lot of consideration right now in port-au-prince by the opposition, by the government or by civil society about the diaspora as part of the conversation. i will tell you a couple of these political agreements, accords floating around do include diaspora participation. civil society was most strident about the need for -- because there is a feeling in haiti that the diaspora has forgotten about us. that plays in, but the bigger feeling in the country right now is that the diaspora who have come to the united states, canada, france, wherever, have
been successful in a society of rule of law and send money back. there are conversations about when haiti goes back to elect its new parliament to having diaspora members. i think the diaspora should play a greater role. the challenge is always to find groups that are representative of the diaspora because there are almost 300 groups in the u.s. alone. that's a lot. >> thank you. again, grateful for your briefing today and we look forward to following up on a lot of these issues as we go forward. thank you so much. i yelled back. -- i yield back. >> representative perry.
>> thank you very much. for holding this briefing. thank you ambassador for taking the time to be with us. i am wondering -- let me back up, there is a report that the foreign minister of panama had warned the biden administration about these haitian refugee floats coming up through panama and the very dangerous trek there. and those warnings from the panamanian foreign minister were not acknowledged and it appears in some ways that the administration was either unaware, unprepared, or just lacked care about these migrants showing up in dell rio, texas.
can you speak to -- what was the administration thinking? did they have no clue? did they just ignore that? >> that is a fantastic question. i was not involved in the border side of discussions with dhs and what information may have floated from our latin american friends throughout the region, but one thing i will say that i heard one of my colleagues say was that migrants would be better off in port-au-prince then they would under that bridge and they are not. that is how bad port-au-prince is. they are under a bridge under the hot sun. >> it is terrible. it is shocking to the american people that there is essentially a third world bridge under a country -- a third world country under a bridge in texas.
from the photographs i saw the information i got from dhs about those folks particularly under that bridge, the majority of them apparently being people originally of haitian origin, but many of them, may be the majority coming from south america. in other words, not coming directly from haiti, but through central america to texas, but literally coming from south of mexico. do you see that as appropriate? why were they have left south america? i understand port-au-prince is dangerous, we've got more kids killed in chicago than we have children that have died from covid. i am not saying it is a comparable situation but i would like you to speak to the fact that these folks were not coming, many of them, probably the majority are not coming directly from haiti, but south
america. do they have a right to come to the united states and cross illegally and was that an appropriate action on their part? >> you are muted. >> obviously we want all migrants to follow our immigration law. however, many of those from south america left after the 2010 earthquake. with covid and economic slowdowns, they didn't have jobs. racism is difficult in some latino countries of south america. as you have said, there were noises made by the administration of softening immigration policies, which is what happened last time we saw a major immigration problem in the
1980's, and it was the same reason. there was a perception that it was easy to get into the country. >> in a way, you are saying the administration signaled that it was ok to come from south america and enter the border of the united states illegally understanding that they were not coming from haiti directly and they may have been and probably were certainly in better can -- better living conditions in south america. is that right? >> to a certain extent. i can't blame the administration for making explicit decisions. because i do not think they did. a number of haitian migrants getting in in the preceding months, their family and -- in south america hears about that.
>> so it is chain migration but the left always disagrees that it's not occurring. >> representative titus. >> thank you chairman. i want to talk about the political situation in haiti. by all empirical research, you could say haiti is an untenable situation. you've got natural disasters that come periodically, whether it is earthquakes or hurricanes, you've got no internal security. we have heard how bad the police are and how they don't have resources. you've got gangs. you got the economic situation, high unemployment and devastation of the education system.
you've got politics and chaos. ngos are ineffective. other partners outside haiti are having a hard time figuring out how to help. nothing could be more chaotic and unsettling than this whole situation. now you've got the upcoming elections. they have been postponed twice. they were supposed to be early 2020. abide administration expects them to occur and has asked for millions to help it. we do not know whether it is just gonna be to ratify the new constitution, or will they elect new members of parliament and a new executive. who is making those decisions? how do we know who even to negotiate with? who is writing this new constitution? do we have any way to have any kind of input in that? the last measures they took were
certainly unconstitutional by the existing system. >> you hit the nail on the head with your question. that is the $64,000 question. that is the issue i think the administration needs to think about deeply. the current de facto prime minister was nominated by president moise two days before he was assassinated, but not installed. the international community made a decision after his death to anoint ennri over the guy who was prime minister. the haitians see that as -- and are not happy. they do not see the current interim government as credible. there have been -- i did not
think they would ever -- the civil society, the montana group has realized there are still concessions they need to make. the opposition politicians and most of the 10 remaining senators has an agreement and the defective prime minister has an agreement. everyone sees the u.s. as supporting the current prime minister. it is critical that civil society has a voice in this new government. it is not critical that rel henry has a voice. i hope this administration. imposing henry on the people because i believe there close to an agreement if they do not have
to install the henry government which is seen as an extension of the moise government which is seen as corrupt with ties to gangs. >> do you have any confidence that when these elections do occur that they will be legitimate? >> if done in the right way. it is a huge challenge. the elections need to be acceptable to the haitian people or it does not make sense to have them. the security situation itself is going to take -- let's say a year. before people can get out and vote comfortably. but, they need time to reform the constitution. there are two draft constitutions floating around. one is jovenel moise's old
constitution, and the others a civil society when they have been working on for years. last time they reform the constitution it took them about five and a half months. they already have a draft and i think they could do that soon. they envisioned two rounds of elections likely. one to vote on the constitution, and then they would have follow-on elections for the president and all of parliament and the mayors, etc. under the new constitution and they would like to install the new government in early 2023. that is the current consensus. >> thank you. maybe we need to focus some efforts on helping ensure these elections occur in a legitimate way. i yield back. >> representative 11. >> thank you. thanks for your tremendous leadership.
towards figuring out a new policy on haiti. ambassador, i do not know if i want to say it is good to see you. i want to thank you for your service, thank you for joining us today. i am only deeply upset by the circumstances that precipitated your resignation, and i am glad to discuss the situation with you transparently before the american people, but your frankness, -- at the same time emma diplomatic skills makes me even sadder you had to leave your post. in your resignation letter, you mentioned the u.s. embassy in port-au-prince issued a statement of support for the defective prime minister, henry, and his political agreement over the roadmap developed by an astounding number of groups in
haitian civil society for real haitian lead democratic transition. you said the hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner again is impressive. would you explain briefly why you believe the embassy issued the statement of support for henry? >> there were two statements issued by the core group, the international embassies, but they almost always follow u.s. recommendations. they first, july 17th or 18th, came out with a statement supporting henry as the new prime minister of haiti. august 30, the montana group got there agreement. no statement by the core group. nothing acknowledging there was a political accord agreement then. on september 11 when henry got on the court, the core group
came together and immediately made a statement of support for henry's agreement, encouraging all groups to get together and fuse all three agreements. but i think implying that henry 's agreement needs to be part of the final solution. >> why? he is, i believe, the seventh prime minister appointed by this defective prime minister which overstayed his welcome, led to kleptocracy, why do we do this? i think the risk of changing governments in a country like haiti makes us nervous. dr. -- dr. henry has said to me several times if the country wants him to step down, he will step down. i don't have anything personal against dr. henry, but the
consensus is almost unanimous from outside the ruling party, that the ruling party put haiti where it is today and -- doesn't deserve to be part of the solution. >> do you think absent u.s. support for it, henry would -- his government would survive? >> i do not believe they would survive or remain. >> that is important. so, you called the decision to deport haitian refugees both inhumane and counterproductive. obviously we know why it was inhumane, would you elaborate why you think the deportations are also counterproductive? >> absolutely. the security situation, the economic situation, the health
situation are all grave in haiti. we just had a major earthquake in a tropical depression. haiti's government and haiti as a country cannot support the people it has the right now. the last thing they need is desperate people without anything to their names because they just spent everything trying to get to the states, coming back and there is no safety net. it is a recipe for human tragedy. >> thank you. as you know, i have been telling anyone who will listen since january that i believe u.s. policy towards haiti is going in the wrong direction. i am furious about this. i consider the august 30 accord signed by a breadth of organizations to be among the most important developments
since the end of the dictatorship in 1986. also because i believe our current policy disrespects and fails to see the haitian people. something our country has done over and over again sensations became the only people in the world to overthrow slavery and create their own country in 1804. today, the haitian people are crying out for the opportunity to chart their own course for the future and showing they are ready to do it ambassador foote was doing a great job figuring this out, yet the united states is continuing to ignore their pleas. i strongly oppose the mass deportations and the administration's failure to embrace haitian civil society plan for a real transition back to democratic self-rule. i will continue to speak out and follow your leadership mr. chairman. i yield back.
>> representative jacobs. >> thank you for putting on this briefing. and thank you for all of your work. today so far we have talked a lot about the immediate situation, the deportations, which i know is a big part of the reason you resigned. you also mentioned in your letter that u.s. policy in haiti overall is flawed. it occurs to me that our policy failures to not just start with this administration, but has gone back much further. i worked on haiti in 2008. i feel like we are having the same conversations and nothing is changing. i want to know in your view, what has the united states gotten wrong over the past decades, or centuries, in haiti? >> thank you. bless her heart. you are right. we have never had a successful
-- i guess military interventions have restored stability, but our political interventions have never worked. as i said, i was part of the post 2010 earthquake. i saw this develop in real time. i was part of it. i feel responsible, he little bit. we have always prioritized stability, which is critical, over going after the root causes of instability. i believe the root cause of instability now is the haitian people do not believe they have had a voice in their destiny and in selecting their leaders in a long time. the elections always leave a question, then the internationals come in and decide who is going to be.
they strongly believe that if left to their own devices, and if the u.s. and international community supports their solutions, things will be much better. i agree with them. the political elite has traditionally raped the country of its bounty. the people never get anything. it is time for the haitian people -- the haitian people want to hold their political elites accountable. that is where these civil society and opposition political agreements takeoff. >> my next question is about the root cause of the drivers of violence, but you answered that. i guess i want to move on. your resignation letter goes far beyond the crisis we have been talking about. can you talk about what other circumstances led to your decision to resign including key
disagreements with the biden ministration? also, if there was -- the biden administration? or if actions were exasperating -- exacerbating the violence you were describing? >> the policymaking apparatus -- and i was only on the job for a little over two months. i didn't see a ton. after the assassination, the nsc got together with principals committee several times but without having time to get the worker bees together. i sat in on a number of meetings with the worker bees. i became frustrated because i saw a lot of -- i do not know what the right word is -- lack of enthusiasm. one could say up -- one could say obstructionism, by other
federal agencies who don't want to blame haiti because it is difficult. i also found as i am running around talking about haitian absolution's, that the u.s. this time is gonna respect what they are doing, we have people in the administration backing henry almost blindly. until i noticed that dissidents, which was about halfway in, everything was going good but from that point on i was thinking my gosh, we are coming to a collision at some point. when i -- the problem in the state department, it just was not it was not -- it was not to happen. we just had a disagreement on policy and the position of the
u.s. embassy in port-au-prince. >> having been one of those worker bees, i am familiar when it doesn't trickle up to those making decisions. i appreciate your perspective on that. >> representative manning. >> thank you for holding this briefing on this distressing situation. thank you ambassador foote for being here today. let me start by talking about that immigration issue. in your letter, you referenced inhumane, counterproductive decisions to deport thousands of refugees and talked about the surge in migration to our border which will only add to haiti's unacceptable misery. i am wondering if you could talk to us about what you think the biden administration should have done to better handle the border surge.
>> it is always easy to be a monday morning quarterback. first of all, i was astounded -- and i guess this is my own naivete -- but nobody asked me about the deportations. i found out about it on the news, just like the rest of us. i thought being the special envoy, maybe when making policy decisions someone would come to me. that didn't happen. what i would say is timeout, let's figure out how to treat them humanely and the path forward to process them, and then arrive at the point where we decide whether they get deported or whatever.
what i saw was -- as soon as i saw that,, i saw a plan to deport the majority of those people. that is against international law. i have had intense discussions with other countries about doing that before, now the united states is doing that. i couldn't be associated with the treatment and the knee-jerk decision to send the back to port-au-prince. many of them get back to port-au-prince emma they get interviewed and they say they are getting -- they are going back. >> we know the administration announced a designation of people who already here. are there specific additional steps you would recommend for
patients want to come here for legitimate reasons? >> everybody needs to make the best decision for their family. the current stand, it is too dangerous to come to the u.s.. conditions are bad. i think that is -- but we're not going to stop everybody with that policy position. we need to be prepared to humanely receive, shelter, feed and clothe and process whomever from whatever country. >> let me move to a different area. represented of titus outlined the appalling state of affairs in haiti with a confluence of so many problems. what issue she did not touch on,
and may pale in comparison to the issues she outlined, but it is worth noting. that is the barriers that haitian women face and participation in public life. they are less likely to vote, to join political parties, to attend rally, they have experienced targeted violence in connection to political activities. only four out of 149 parliamentarians were women. can you offer an overview of recent trends in this regard and what is needed to ensure women's equal participation? you are on mute again. >> sorry. you are right. women do not enjoy equality in haiti. nor do other marginalized groups. you can see just in the numbers
in the legislature, i would like to see, as they are looking at a new constitution and moving towards restoration of democracy that they like at a mechanism to include more women in govern -- and government. as has been done in other countries. i am optimistic because in the civil society dialogue process is going on, there are a lot of women and women leading some of these things. the first time in my 12 years working in haiti, i am really starting for the first time to hear more than a few women's voices. i am hearing the voices of a lot of strong haitian women. >> thank you. i yield back. >> representative vargas. >> thank you very much. thank you abbasid or for being here today -- ambassador for
being here today. i would like to say it has been refreshing to hear your humanity, ambassador. this is the america i know and love, where people have compassion and want to follow the law. especially laws we make and international law. i was horrified with what i saw our country do to the haitian migrants that arrived in del rio, texas. i thought it was a terrible overreaction by the ministration. frankly, i do not see any other way to describe it other than racism. i do not believe if it had been any other group that we would have reacted this way. it is unconscionable. it is going to be a stain on this administration. i support this administration, obviously, but this is horrible.
i appreciate your candor and your nobility to say this is unacceptable. i do wish you were still on the job. we actually need someone like you. but again, how can anyone explain this? the truth of the matter is i have lived along the border most of my life, i lived in san diego, we have surges all of the time. i have never seen anything -- an overreaction like this. ever. how can you explain this to us? >> congressman. >> you are muted. >> i will get this down eventually. >> i can't explain it. i was not in the decision-making process.
i won't even speculate. >> the only thing i can think of that was a horrible overreaction because of what our good friends on the others to the isle were saying, but is simply unconscionable. i respect what you said with one caveat, you said in your letter you did not want to be associated with the u.s. issuing counter productive -- and illegal immigrants. i would say undocumented. >> i got in trouble for that. i have learned the politically correct term the hard way, congressman. >> i wouldn't call it clinically correct, i would say is incorrect to say illegal. the person is not illegal. these people -- importing these
people to haiti right now, knowing what is happening in haiti is unconscionable to me. the other thing i can understand is when i -- i can't understand, i read about people who have training in welding. nine years in welding. in san diego, we are begging for welders. if god had ever provided an opportunity, it was there. i said, how can we deport this person to haiti when we need him here in san diego building ships? it mystifies me. again, i appreciate what you have done. i would just hope we have somebody else like you that comes along and helps in the situation because this situation is completely untenable. again, i live along the border. i am probably closer than anybody else here along the border.
the truth of the matter is we have always had surges. when something happens in central america, we always have surges. we have never treated people this badly. i have never seen it before. so again, i thank you. more has to be done. i wrote a letter, we have been outraged. at the same time, people were deported to a situation where they should not have been. this people -- these people have every right to represent themselves and get a fair shot. they were not given that fair shot. we violated the law. i hope we can put pressure on the ministration to allow these people to come back and have an opportunity to prove their case. they did not get that opportunity. we put them on planes and sent them off. it is horrible. again, i think you. thank you for your humanity.
i yield back. >> congressman frederica wilson. >> good afternoon. i thank you, chairman for having this briefing. i want to say to the envoy i am disappointed that you left. you're just what we need. i want to share something with all of you. i am in touch with haitian migrants, families detained at the border. this is an excerpt of what one of them said to me. he was chained by his hands and
feet. these are not the ones who were immediately sent back, these were people who were attained, waiting to be deported. he was detained by his hands and feet. he was detained for 11 days and was deprived of sleep because he mostly stood and was not provided a bed. they seized his passport and have not returned it. he was not allowed to have visitors. he was not allowed to call his family. he was not interviewed to determine whether he was eligible for asylum, or had a sponsor. he was crowded into a cell with hundreds of other men, standing for 11 days. and they were put on a plane and deported back to haiti. that is unconscionable.
i want to know if the federal government is aware of this cottage industry of smuggling -- were making billions of dollars from people and they are spreading misinformation to the haitians and they are telling them that tps has been extended for them and they should come. these haitian migrants take all of their money, they can money from their families, and they actually feel that they are going to come to the border might come to the united states, work and send remittances back to their families. there are 60,000 of them on the way to mexico right now because of these -- we need to stop
that. i want to ask the ambassador, how do you think a civil society , the diaspora and all of the international community who want to get together to form a new government, or start a new government, create a new government because there is no government -- who would be in charge of doing that? >> depending on the agreement. there are three different current agreements. one, the current government would do that. the defect upright minister. the civil society one is the only one i've struggled through the whole thing in french. it sets up committees and mechanisms who would choose interim president and prime
minister with some limited authorities that they can't spend other countries money, etc. and these are the details they are talking about. how exactly do you choose? they talked about imposing the restriction that anybody who holds senior office in the interim government can't run for office. that's a great idea because then they can't use the machinery of the state to help their campaign. there are processes and mechanisms included in these agreements, but they are still working through the details. >> mr. chair, i know i am a little over time, but the last election i was there. i was an election observer. the ballot had approximately 56 candidates for president.
just how we look on --, this is how the ballot looked. it there were 45 people running for president. you had to find the president who you wanted and circle it. i saw so much cheating. people putting your hand in ink to say that you had voted and then you go one block down and there was someone paid to wipe that ink off of your anger and you could coat back in vote again. from 7:00 in the morning on a sunday to 11:00 at night when it became dark. no streetlights, pitch black, these people were still boating and cheating. how do you do that?
i don't even know how mr. moise won. how do you select the president of haiti when everybody's cheating? >> i think the key to that -- and you will never have a 100% clean election in haiti, or any developing country. minimize the ability of the current government, whoever is in there, to influence the elections. that is what always happens in haiti. we sort of chose martelly because there was a lot of controversy over runoffs back then. the same thing with moise. we can't do that again. we need to elect the haitians select their own president. if it is a runoff, it is a runoff.
i would posit that some of the previous presidents and prime ministers in haiti, particularly recent administrations have had their bite at the apple land haiti does not need them back again. people can infer what i am talking about here. haiti does not need the same old politicians, the ones in pandora papers. they need people looking for haiti's best interests and the haitian people. >> thank you. i have 20 other questions, but i'll believe -- i believe my time is up. thank you. >> our last questions will come from, representing the ninth congressional district of new rep. clark: let me thank the members of the committee for
allowing me to wait for this conversation. thank you for your candor in joining us with the service to our country and your willingness to speak out about the more troubling aspects of our government's response to the recent events in haiti and the plight of haitian migrants. photos of the use of extremely aggressive tactics used at our southern border in response to an influx of haitian refugees and it was stated within this briefing, many more are in route. many migrants are arriving and lviing in south america for years and now face the threat of repatriation, deportation to haiti, a country they have not been in in over a decade your -- decade. what are some of the challenges on the ground these migrants face in returning to
haiti and you described it in your resignation letter, a collapsed state. amb. foote: you arrive at the airport. some of them did not know they were flying back to port-au-prince. most of them had little money if any. they do not have families because the whole families migrated so they don't have a place to stay. they wind up only being able to go to the most devastated areas because that is the cheapest place. they do not have food or shelter or water and i think the international organization for migration is given $100, something but not going to get you far even in port-au-prince and haiti. they are taking up the plane, giving $100, a pat on the back, and good luck to you and we have already seen -- already str
etched infrastructure of sewage water, trash, etc. in the slums. it is breaking down completely because there are too many people in the slums. rep. clarke: let me wrap this into what i heard from my colleagues. the dynamic right now and a hemisphere is one of multiple pressures. when you have a collapsed state run by gangs, and you have migrants in the most productive years of their lives put back into that environment, 6he --the young men being sent back there have a choice. they can try to struggle to survive and feed their families or fall into gangs. i'm concerned we have created a dynamic that could be self-fulfilling. would you give us a sense of what a gang-run haiti means in
the midst of the western hemisp here? where narco trafficking as a concern for our nation --is a concern for our nation and the other ills imported? give us a sense about your thoughts on haiti and its vulnerability. mr. foote: it is potentially catastrophic. haiti sets 400 some miles off the united states coast. it has migrants in virtually every country in the hemisphere including a ton in the caribbean and elsewhere and not only in the u.s. the bahamas are deporting. mexico is deporting. other countries are deporting haitians back to haiti. the gangs are not trained, so when you have real security officials going in there, they
will melt away much easier than the taliban. a lot of them are kids. not all of them. they are not trained. they need something to do and that will be a huge challenge, following behind a security effort, because there needs to be economic liability for these disenfranchised, military-age males. there is nothing to do there so if you go back, it is not like you have a choice. you join the but -- gangs or do not have income. rep. clarke: in closing, what rules do you leave --roles do you believe the diaspora can and should play in assisting the effort to stabilize haiti? i'm from brooklyn. we have a diaspora that can absorb a significant number of migrants and when i hear
colleagues talk about the doors of the envy --and being close -- end being closed, i am saying i need more people in my district for redistricting purposes and those members could clearly adhere. would you please respond? i yield back after that, mr. chairman, and thank you for your intelligence. mr. foote: haitians have always opened their arms for follow-on immigrants after brooklyn or miami or montreal or washington heights. i that you do not have enough top -- truck drivers or roofers or service people in the hotels and so there is demand for --i am not sticking up for breaking immigration law by any means, but th hati --the haitian
diaspora will welcome immigrants with open arms and i would like to see them continue to involve themselves in the political process in port-au-prince because i think they bring a lot to the table given the fact that they have settled in societies that are not run by impunity-d riven politicians. rep. clarke: thank you. rep. meeks: i want to thank all of the members that participated. we are not listening to all the questions and answers of the ambassador and thinking historically how our immigration system has always historically treated haitians differently than other immigrants and other nationalities. that is a fact. notably, cuba and venezuela,
they are treated differently, including the limited access to asylum. historically, the united states is not a recognized nation of political persecution. these are areas we need to look at and change and as many of my colleagues said, i have never seen some of the visions i have seen at the border with horses and whips. it was described as some tied to chains as if they were criminals and they were only trying to enter for refuge for themselves in their families. this is not something that can just be ignored. and just because those individuals are no longer under the bridge, ythis -- this committee will say focus on this issue. this committee will have further
briefings on this issue. we have to go after the root cause of the instability. this is not the time to apply a band-aid. we need to commit to a major shift in u. s. policy with haiti. i am not just talking about immigration. i'm talking about the different treatment of haitian people and the way we treat haitian haiti among our foreign policy priorities in the centerfield. it has to be a focus of this committee. i could guarantee. and i do think --i heard you say this, mr. ambassador. i am pleased with the appointment and finally the clearance of brian nichols to be
the deputy secretary. i worked with him. on the western hemisphere very closely i worked with him. i have confidence in brian nichols and i hope he is the right man at the right time to bend the policy of the western hemisphere to make sure it is as inclusive as any other country on the hemisphere. i think he will. i look forward to working with him. on a wide variety of things dealing with the western hemisphere. i deeply believe that we should have another special envoy, hopefully somebody as good as you, someone willing to take a fresh look at this, someone willing to talk to people, and someone who will be consulted with by the deputy secretary, whoever is appointed ambassador,
and whose information thereby is considered with our next policy. i conclude by saying i intend to hold as many conversations and briefings and hearings as needed to deepe our understandingn of the situation and offer our support to the people of haiti as they find durable solutions to instability. and for a new, durable solution to instability and forge a new democratic way forward. let me correct my title. for mr. nichols, he is the assistant eckert terry for western hemisphere.
i look forward to working with him. i have high respect for him. thank you, ambassador foote. thank you, members of congress. thank you, representative --the chair of the western hemisphere subcommittee that will have a hearing on the subcommittee coming up in the next few weeks. thank you, but representative salazar for ranking member mccaul and all the members of this committee. i am pleased with the members i came on and asked questions and stayed on. it shows the interest of the united states congress and i think ambassador foote. we will take the delegation to haiti in the near future. with that, this briefing is now adjourned. >> coming up tonight, fema administrator leon criswell testifies before on recovery
efforts following hurricane ida. en c-span2 at 8:00 eastern, former government officials serving administrations testify on the afghanistan withdrawal before the house foreign affairs committee. >> weekends on c-span2 bring you the best in american history and nonfiction books. saturday on american history tv, on the presidency. during their terms as president, thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln, franklin roosevelt, lyndon johnson, and richard nixon faced not only political opponents, but americans who actually hated them. an american historical association panel discusses the reason. and on lectures in history ,two programs on women's political causes in the late 19th century. professor allison lying teaches a class on the women's suffrage movement, drawing from her book "picturing political power." she discusses how women's voting
rights acts of -- activists supported their causes. then professor heather coxe richardson talks about the new roles women assumed in the workforce and politics during the late 19th century. the employment games women made in teaching, nursing, and social work. the growth of political organizations run by women focusing on prohibition and women's suffrage. book tv features leading authors discussing their latest nonfiction books. sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern, coverage of the 21st annual national book festival. an event hosted by the library of congress featuring live and taped segments. authors include joseph atlas, petrograd and kyiv, catherine delton, joshua yap, janice to meera, olivia campbell, and charisse davis. and at 10:00 p.m., lizzie johnson talks about her book, paradise.
about california's deadly 2018 camp fire. she is interviewed by perry baker, ceo of the society of american foresters. watch american history and book tv every weekend on c-span2. find a full schedule on your program guide or visit c-span.org. >> nobody really thought that this was ever going to happen, that paris would succumb to the nazis. it was unthinkable when it finally happened. the city was supposed to be this bastion of enlightenment, freethinking, and open society. when the nazis got into poland and warsaw, there were mass executions, it was terrible. they executed liberals, freethinkers, and everybody was scared as they came towards paris what would happen in paris.
>> martin do guard on germany's four-year brutal occupation of paris and its liberation by american and french forces in august of 1944. watch on q and a, sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern. you can listen to all of our podcasts on our new c-span now app. >> in the past 30 years, erik larson has written eight books. six of those landed on the new york times nonfiction bestseller list. some of his best-known books include the splendid and the vial, originally published in february of 2020. isaac storm released in 1999. deadweight about the sinking of the lusitania, 2015. probably his best-known work, devil in the white city, hit the bookstores in 2003. wi