Ian Patrick, FISM News
Reports broke early this morning that Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, in office since 2017, was assassinated in his own home in the early hours of July 7. Moïse and his wife, Martine, were attacked in their home in Port-au-Prince at around 1:00 a.m. First Lady Martine is in the hospital recovering from a wound she received from the attack, according to the Canadian Embassy in Haiti which confirmed the assassination earlier today on Twitter:
It is with great sadness that we confirm the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, during an attack on his residence by mercenaries. The First Lady, injured, receives the necessary care. Our hearts go out to the presidential family and to the whole nation.
The interim Prime Minister for Haiti, Claude Joseph, released a statement in which he called this a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.” He further described the attack saying some “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 Miami Herald reported on a video of the gunmen pretending to be with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, even yelling at people in English to back away from their supposed “DEA operation.” A Haitian official told the Herald that these were not members of the DEA, but rather “mercenaries.”
The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince notified people that they will be closing down for the rest of the day, warning potential travelers not to make a trip to Haiti at this time. President Biden, in response to the assassination, said in a statement that the U.S. will “stand ready to assist” the people of Haiti:
We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti. We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse’s recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent similar condolences and wishes to the Haitian people.
I am shocked and saddened at the death of President Moïse. Our condolences are with his family and the people of Haiti. This is an abhorrent act and I call for calm at this time.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 7, 2021
Moïse had been in office since 2017, and the New York Post reports that he “had been ruling by decree since January 2020” after a disputed legislative election back in 2018. Opponents accused him of seeking to gain more power while in office, which he denied. The AP reports that some of these accusations include “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.”