Haiti President Jovenel Moise was assassinated and his wife was wounded in an attack at their home early Wednesday, according to the interim Prime Minister, an act that risks further destabilizing the Caribbean nation beset by gang violence and political volatility.
Claude Joseph declared that he was now in charge of the country and urged the public to remain calm, insisting that the police and army would ensure the public’s safety. He denounced what he described as a “hateful, inhumane, and barbaric act.”
Witnesses reported that the capital, Port-au-Prince, was quiet on Wednesday morning, with no extra security forces on patrol.
“The President was assassinated at his home by foreigners who spoke English and Spanish,” Mr Joseph said of the assault that took place around 1am (3pm AEST). The President’s wife, Martine, was hospitalised.
Haiti declares State of Emergency after President’s assassination
Haiti declares state of emergency after the assassination of the president.
According to latest reports, Haiti’s first lady to be evacuated to Miami after attack, says Haiti envoy to the U.S.
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” he said in a statement. “Democracy and the republic will win.”
Mr Moise had ruled Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, by decree after legislative elections scheduled for 2018 were postponed due to disagreements, including over when his own term would end. Aside from the political crisis, ransom kidnappings have increased in recent months, reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs in the Caribbean nation.
Haiti also suffers from chronic poverty and natural disasters on a regular basis. The President faced fierce opposition from large segments of the population who saw his mandate as illegitimate, and he went through seven prime ministers in four years.
Mr. Joseph was scheduled to be replaced this week after only three months in the position.
In addition to presidential, legislative, and local elections, a constitutional referendum was scheduled for September after being postponed twice due to the pandemic.
US condemned the killing
The US condemned the killing as “horrific” and said it was ready to assist in any investigation. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “we will be helpful in any way to the people of Haiti, to the government of Haiti”, adding President Joe Biden was about to be briefed on the incident.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, expressed shock at the “abhorrent” assassination and urged calm in Haiti.
Mr Moise, 53, a former entrepreneur who founded a number of businesses in the country’s north, where he was born, burst onto the political scene in 2017 with a message of rebuilding the impoverished nation. He campaigned on populist promises, as do all Haitian candidates, but maintained the rhetoric even after he was elected in February 2017.
The date of his election became the source of a political standoff. Mr Moise claimed his term ran until February 7, 2022, but others claimed it ended on that date this year. The animosity stemmed from the fact that he was elected in a fraudulent election, then re-elected a year later.
Without a parliament, the country fell deeper into crisis in 2020, forcing Mr Moise to govern by decree, fueling growing distrust of him.
The United Nations Security Council, the United States, and Europe have all called for free and transparent legislative and presidential elections by the end of this year.
Haiti President’s assassination comes just days after he named Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who studied in France, as Haiti’s new prime minister.
ALLEGED VIDEO SURFACED AFTER HAITI PRESIDENT’S ASSASSINATION
Here is the second video shared by Disclose.tv on Twitter.
“Assailants of Haiti’s president and his wife “identified” themselves to be agents with the United States: “DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation.” Government official thinks the assassins were mercenaries.”
NEW – Assailants of Haiti's president and his wife "identified" themselves to be agents with the United States: "DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation." Government official thinks the assassins were mercenaries.pic.twitter.com/tK4hTLaeCx
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) July 7, 2021
Another alleged video emerged
Security video footage shows convoy of autos that drove up the mountain road to President Moise’s compound & killed him
They are surrounded by armed (police?) running near them. It appears to have been a very ballsy operation to drive up into a lot of police & claim they’re DEA pic.twitter.com/J4tKRmvNbV
— Jeb Sprague (@JebSprague) July 7, 2021