On Wednesday, the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated in his home when gunmen overtook him and his wife. The assassination is suspected to be the product of widespread sentiments of bad politics and corruption on the island.
In Port-au-Prince, a rather busy city, gunshots could be heard Wednesday night when things were unusually quiet, reported Associated Press.
Masquerading as United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, the gunmen attacked Moise, 53, in his home. Little was known about the gunmen but that they spoke both English and Spanish. U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Bocchit Edmond, said that the assassination was carried out “by foreign mercenaries and professional killers and was well-orchestrated.”
As with most political assassinations, there was public concern that Moise was set to try to become a dictator. After canceling last year’s elections, he has been ruling by decree, and the new election cycle was set to happen later this year. The opposition party claimed that he wanted to make Haiti a country of authoritarianism and demanded he stepped down.
“There were a lot of people who wanted him [Moise] gone. And there were a lot of people whom he wanted gone,” said Johnathan Katz, who covered Haiti for the Associated Press and wrote in-depth about the island’s 2010 earthquake.
Several hours after Moise was assassinated, Haitian police officers killed four shooters and took two others into custody. Police General Director Leon Charles vowed that they would kill the mercenaries after blocking them in and engaging in a lengthy gun battle with them.
The wife of Jovenel Moise, Martine, was also injured in the raid. Despite rumors of her death, the First Lady was transported to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital and is in stable but critical condition, MEAWW reported.
Now, there is fear that Moise’s assassination will spark a national uprising that could endanger the rest of its citizens, as bad politics have been a hot issue on the island for over a decade. Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph is asking that cooler heads prevail as police investigate the incident.
“I am calling for calm. Everything is under control,” Joseph said.”
Haitian officials have said that the country is “under siege” and enacted martial law for the time being.
However, Joseph has affirmed his belief that the assassination should not interfere in this year’s elections.