Haiti’s President Moise assassinated in night attack on his home
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Haiti’s President Moise assassinated in night attack on his home

Haiti’s President Moise assassinated in night attack on his home

First Lady Martine Moise was injured and is in the hospital

Haiti president Jovenel Moise

Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in a raid on his home by a group of unidentified people in the capital Port-Au-Prince, according to the nation’s interim prime minister Claude Joseph.

First Lady Martine Moise was injured in the “barbaric” attack and is hospitalised, Joseph said in a statement, published by the nation’s embassy in Canada on Wednesday morning.

Some of the assailants spoke Spanish, Joseph said, implying that they were foreigners. Haiti’s National Police and other authorities are working to keep order, he said. Some businesses were ransacked in one area, the Associated Press reported.

On top of the pandemic and a faltering economy, Haiti was undergoing a constitutional power struggle stemming from a chaotic election which saw Moise only sworn in 15 months after a first-round vote. As a result, he had said his five-year term would run until February 2022, while the opposition said his term ended last February.

Moise, 53, had governed by decree since January 2020, when parliamentary terms expired without elections being held. The opposition had said he was illegally amassing power and enacting laws in violation of the constitution. Moise responded to the claims by saying he was “not a dictator.”

This week, Moises appointed Henry Ariel as Prime Minister, though he hasn’t formally taken the role yet, and Claude Joseph is still acting on an interim basis.

“Heinous Act”
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness was among the first to condemn the attack. “This heinous act is a stain on Haiti and a sorrowful time for the region,” he said in a post on Twitter.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Americas, has struggled for political stability for decades. Its proximity to the US makes its protracted chaos a test for President Joe Biden in the region. Moise’s assassination also opens the possibility of an another escalation of violence in the Caribbean island.

Biden will be briefed this morning by his national security team on the “horrific” attack, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told MSNBC.

“We stand ready and we stand by them to provide any assistance that is needed,” she said separately to CNN.

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