Lawmakers Confirm New Ambassador To Haiti

Lawmakers Confirm New Ambassador To Haiti

( – In May 2023, President Joe Biden officially nominated National Guard Bureau Foreign Policy Advisor Dennis Hankins for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Haiti. Almost 10 months after the president nominated Hankins for the position, the Senate confirmed the appointment.

On March 14, the nominee was confirmed as the US ambassador to Haiti by a vote of 89 to 1. Ten senators didn’t vote on the appointment. Hankins has a long history in foreign relations, having previously served as the ambassador to the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Guinea. Hankins also held the title of Deputy Chief of Mission in Mauritania, Sudan, and Mozambique — three times.

Hankins was also a political and economic counselor at the US Embassy in Portugal and the Nonimmigrant Visa Chief and Refugee Coordinator in Haiti. He speaks four languages and served overseas in multiple countries.

The confirmation comes as violence in Haiti is escalating. On Hankins’ confirmation day, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby spoke to a group of reporters who inquired about the current situation in the Caribbean nation. He said the violence was increasing in the country while stability was decreasing, and the Haitian people were “suffering as a result.”

However, Kirby also had some other news to report. The outcomes of a recent Haitian-led meeting in Jamaica, supported by several countries and the UN, were positive. He mentioned the recent $100 million support for the Multinational Security Support Mission and $33 million for humanitarian aid. While Kirby said those were good first steps, there is “still a lot of work to do.”

The communications advisor said Hankins’ swift confirmation was needed at this “critical time.” Just two days before the Senate confirmed Hankins for the position, Prime Minister of Haiti Ariel Henry resigned. The announcement followed weeks of violence in the country, including prison breaks, an attack on the local airport, looting, and the destruction of several buildings.

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