Haitian President Assassinated

July 7, 2021

Democracy and the republic will win.

Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph reacting to the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.
  • On Wednesday morning, President Moïse was assassinated during an attack at his home outside Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, in what interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph described as a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.” His wife, Martine Moïse, was also injured during the attack. She survived and is being treated at a hospital. Her condition is not known at this time.
    • The interim prime minister called the incident “a highly coordinated attack by a highly trained and heavily armed group." Earlier he said that the attack was carried out by “a group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish." He later added that they either spoke Spanish or English.
  • Haiti is a Caribbean country located about 675 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. It is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and is plagued by various political and social problems, including gang violence, as well as food and fuel scarcities.
    • President Moïse had been in power since 2017 after a 14-month election process. He has remained in power under decree after the country failed to hold elections. In recent months, violence has escalated with the opposition calling on him to resign, arguing that his term ended in February. Moïse argued his term ends in February 2022 because the elections that put him into office were delayed. Haiti is scheduled to hold elections later this year.
  • This is a quickly developing story. Officials fear the assassination will add more fuel to Haiti's existing humanitarian crisis, and lead to more violence and political unrest. The interim prime minister called on Haitian residents to "remain calm," however, there is confusion about who will take control, with authorities declaring a "state of siege" and closing down the international airport. President Biden called the situation in Haiti "very worrisome."
  • UPDATE: On Thursday evening, Haitian authorities provided an update on the investigation. At least 17 suspects have been detained – two are believed to be dual U.S.-Haitian citizens and 15 are from Colombia. Police are still looking for eight other suspects, and several others were killed by police.

by Jenna Lee,