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The assassination of the President of Haiti (Jovenel Moise)

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Picture courtesy of Fernando Llano / AP

In the early morning of July 7, 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot dead in the bedroom of his home on top of the hills above Port-au-Prince.

In the house, a squad of gunmen raided his home overnight with his wife, Martine Marie Etienne Joseph. Unfortunately, she was also wounded during the attack and is currently recovering from gunshot wounds at South Florida hospital.

According to Haitian officials, Moise was assassinated by a group of foreign mercenaries, two Haitian Americans, and 26 Colombian nationals. Also, authorities claim they were recruited by a Florida-based Haitian pastor plotting to replace Moise as President.

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Picture courtesy of Carolyn Kaster of Ambassador Bocchit Edmond

Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, said the attack on Moise “was carried out by foreign mercenaries and professional killers – well orchestrated.”

Furthermore, the assailants gained access to Moise’s residence by claiming they were part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operation. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department denied any DEA involvement; however, it was later uncovered that one of the Haitian Americans was once a DEA informant. The agency also denied he was acting on its behalf.

According to the U.S. Embassy, the DEA has an office in the Haitian capital to assist the government in counternarcotics programs.

The Presidential Guard, known as the General Security Unit of the National Palace, has reported no causalities.

On the other hand, last Wednesday, the police killed four suspects and arrested two others hours after the attack. This is causing an uproar of chaos in a country abiding by gang violence and protests of Moises totalitarian rule.

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According to Léon Charles, Chief of Haiti’s National Police, three police officers were freed from being held hostage by the suspected gunmen after police surrounded a house where some suspects were hiding.

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Picture courtesy of Joseph Odelyn

Claude Joseph, Interim Prime Minister, declared for an international investigation into the assassination. Also, the elections scheduled for later this year will be held and pledged to work with Moise’s allies and opponents alike.

Joseph said, “The police and military in control of security in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas where history of dictatorship and political upheaval have long stymied the consolidation of democratic rule.”

He continued, “We need every single one to move the country forward.” Also, he directed to the enemies of the president that he was “a man of courage” who had opposed “some oligarchs in the country, and we believe those things are not without consequences.”

Haiti asked the U.S. government to assist with the investigation, including that the assassins could have escaped over the land border to the Dominican Republic or by sea.

The Dominican Republic said it was closing the border and reinforcing security in the area describing the frontier as “completely calm.”

There has been confusion and anxiety about who should now take control among Haitians. Authorities have pronounced a “state of siege” in the country and closed the international airport.

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Picture courtesy of The Guardian

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