BREAKING NEWS – HAITI ASSASINATION
- Haiti’s ambassador to the United States has formally requested that the Biden administration impose human rights sanctions on those behind the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moïse.
- Colombians, Haitian-Americans believed to be commandos who killed Moise fled to Taiwan embassy in Port-au-Prince.
- 2 Americans Arrested in Haiti President’s Killing
- Family of U.S. Suspect, James Solage, in Haiti Assassination: He’s a Loving, ‘Nice Guy’ Who’s ‘Always Joking’
- Agencies probe the US, Colombian ties to Moise assassination
- The assassination of Haiti President Becomes Complex International Web
Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on the morning of July 7, 2021, at his residence by ‘unidentified individuals’. Acting Prime Minister, Claude Joseph said that some of the gunmen ‘spoke Spanish’.
President Jovenel Moise had been president of Haiti ever since February 2017, following an election in November 2016. He had won in a landslide with over 50% of the vote. However, in 2019, political unrest in Haiti coincided with calls for his resignation.
The assassination comes at a time when Haiti is already facing economic and social woes. it also threatens to stoke further violence in the Caribbean country.
The Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise
On the morning of July 7th, 2021, President Jovenel Moise of Haiti was attacked by gunmen at his residence. He, along with his wife, Martine Moise, was severely injured and rushed to the hospital. There, he was pronounced dead. His wife, however, remained in critical condition. She has since been airlifted to Florida for emergency treatment, where she is now stable.
Back at the late President’s residence, Haiti’s security forces remained locked in a gun battle with the mercenaries. The police killed 4 of the mercenaries and capture 2 more according to the Police General Director Leon Charles.
The nation has declared a 2-week state of emergency to hunt down the assassins. They have been described as well-trained killers and foreign mercenaries. They apparently spoke Spanish and English, which pointed to their foreign origin, since Haitians normally speak French or Haitian Creole.
According to Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States, the gunmen were masquerading as US Drug Enforcement Administration agents. That’s how they were able to enter the residence of the late President under cover of nightfall.
The assassination has received widespread condemnation from around the world including Washington, and various Latin American countries. It aggravates the country’s already unstable situation and growing humanitarian crisis. Amid gang violence, the poorest nation in the Americas now faces an increasingly difficult challenge.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise Career Before Presidency
President Jovenel Moise was a 53-year old former businessman who had taken office in 2017 after a landslide victory. From a small investment, he launched his first business in Port-de-Paix JOMAR Auto Parts which still operates today. He also began development of an agricultural project that produced organic bananas. The business had over 10 hectares of land in the Nord-Ouest department.
In 2001, Moise partnered with Culligan to install a drinking water plant to distribute clean water to Nord-Ouest and Nord-Est departments. He also ounded AGRITRANS SA, and NOURRIBIO in 2012.
Eventually, he created the first agricultural free trade zone in Haiti, a 1000 hectare banana plantation. While the project was supposed to export bananas to Germany, but only 2 containers were sent. Due to his production of bananas, Moise was nicknamed Neg Bannann (Banana Man).
How Did Haitian President Jovenel Moise Rise to Power?
In 2015, former Haitian President Michel Martelly chose Jovenel Moise as the future candidate for the center right Tet Kale Party. During his campaign, Moise promoted bio-ecological agriculture as the potential savior of Haiti’s economy. With a 50% rural population, the country’s gravitated to that proposition.
Moise also promoted policies that his predecessor Martelly campaigned for including universal health care and education and energy reform. He also talked about the creation of sustainable jobs and environmental protection. Moise received 32.8% of the votes in the first round of elections with 54 candidates competing in total.
He qualified for a runoff with the second place finished, Jude Celestin. However, the exit poll conducted afterwards saw him receiving just 6% of the vote. Thus, his win was thought of as fraudulent. Thousands protested the then future Haitian President Jovenel Moise because they wanted a postponement of the runoff election.
The ballot was annulled in June of 2016, and special elections were held after incumbent President Michael Martelly stepped down. In November 2016, another election took place and Moise won. His mandate was challenged almost immediately by opposition leaders.
Political Unrest and Calls for Haitian President Jovenel Moise Resignation
Calls for President Moise to resign immediately began after he assumed office along with mass protests. At first, he faced corruption allegations as well as criticism over his management of the economy. However, he later also faced protest over his increasing grip on power.
In July of 2018, he made an increasingly controversial move by approving a decree which made 2 crucial changes. The first was to limit the powers of a court which audits government contracts. The second was to create an intelligence agency headed by figures which had been handpicked by the President. This was widely seen as a way to expand his power,
In 2020, the response of the government to the COVID-19 government was highly criticized. Specifically, the economic problems that the country faced as well as unemployment contributed to a downfall in his ratings.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise also presided over a state of worsening gang violence in Haiti. The capital Port-au-Prince became increasingly infested with crime and many of its districts became no-go zones.
Moise had talked about certain dark forces that were causing unrest in Haiti. He blamed fellow politicians and corrupt oligarchs who were unhappy with his efforts to clean up government contracts. He hadn’t provided any proof of this.
Aftermath of the Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise
The Capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince was deserted on July 7th after the news broke. Gunshots however, were ringing through the air. Fears of disorder are spreading amidst growing hunger and poverty in Haiti.
The Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti closed its borders on the island of Hispaniola. All, except returning nationals are barred from entering.
At the moment, there is a power vacuum after Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s murder. There are currently only 10 elected officials in the government, all Senators. The country failed to hold legislative elections for more than a year since Moise had passed a decree to rule without them.