Haiti's President Assassinated

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Posted: Jul 07, 2021 9:05 AM
Haiti's President Assassinated

Source: AP Photo/Richard Drew

The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated Tuesday evening in his home outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince, according to Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

“A group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and thus fatally wounded the head of state,” the prime minister said, calling the attack “hateful, inhumane and barbaric.”

His wife was also shot during the attack. She has been hospitalized but her condition is not known at this time.

Even before the assassination, Haiti had grown increasingly unstable and disgruntled under Moïse. The president ruled by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections and the opposition demanded he step down in recent months.

“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph said in a statement from his office. “Democracy and the republic will win.” […]

Haiti’s economic, political and social woes have deepened recently, with gang violence spiking heavily in Port-au-Prince, inflation spiraling and food and fuel becoming scarcer at times in a country where 60% of the population makes less than $2 a day. These troubles come as Haiti still tries to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew that struck in 2016.

Opposition leaders accused Moïse, who was 53, of seeking to increase his power, including by approving a decree that limited the powers of a court that audits government contracts and another that created an intelligence agency that answers only to the president.

In recent months, opposition leaders demanded the he step down, arguing that his term legally ended in February 2021. Moïse and supporters maintained that his term began when he took office in early 2017, following a chaotic election that forced the appointment of a provisional president to serve during a year-long gap.

Haiti was scheduled to hold general elections later this year. (AP)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the assassination a “horrific crime" during an interview on CNN.

“The message to the people of Haiti is this is a tragic tragedy,” she said, according to AP. “It’s a horrific crime and we’re so sorry for the loss that they are all suffering and going through as many of them are waking up this morning and hearing this news. And we stand ready and stand by them to provide any assistance that’s needed.”