Official: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse assassinated at his home
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday, according to a statement from the country’s acting prime minister, who called the murder “a heinous, inhuman and barbaric act.”
First Lady Martine Moïse was shot and wounded in the attack overnight and hospitalized, Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph said.
Even before the assassination, Haiti had become increasingly unstable and discontented under Moïse. The president ruled by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections and the opposition demanded his resignation in recent months.
“The security situation in the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces,” Joseph said in a statement from his office. “Democracy and the republic will win.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the streets were largely empty in Port-au-Prince, the capital of the Caribbean nation, but some people trashed businesses in one neighborhood.
Joseph said police have been deployed to the National Palace and the upscale community of Pétionville and will be dispatched to other areas.
Joseph condemned the assassination as a “heinous, inhuman and barbaric act”. In the statement, he said some of the attackers spoke Spanish but offered no other explanation. He then said in a radio address that they spoke Spanish or English, again without providing any details.
The White House called the attack “horrific” and “tragic” and said it was still collecting information about what had happened. US President Joe Biden will be briefed later Wednesday by his national security team, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an interview on MSNBC.
“The message to the people of Haiti is that this is a tragic tragedy,” she said in a previously scheduled interview on CNN. “It is a horrible crime and we are so sorry for the loss they suffer and go through as many of them are waking up this morning and hearing this news. And we are ready and by their side to provide whatever help is needed.
Haiti’s economic, political and social woes have worsened recently, with a sharp increase in gang violence in Port-au-Prince, skyrocketing inflation, and scarcity of food and fuel in a country where 60% of the population earns less than $ 2 per day. These problems come as Haiti is still trying to recover from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Matthew that struck in 2016.
Opposition leaders accused Moïse, who was 53, of seeking to increase his power, including approving a decree that limited the powers of a court that audits public procurement and one that created an intelligence agency which depends only on the president.
In recent months, opposition leaders have demanded his resignation, arguing that his term legally ended in February 2021. Moïse and his supporters argued that his term began when he took office in early 2017, in following a chaotic election that forced the appointment of a provisional president. serve for a one-year break.
Haiti was due to hold general elections later this year.