Haiti’s president killed, the threat of further political violence escalates.
The president of Haiti, Jovenel Mose, was killed in the early hours of Wednesday at his house on the outskirts of the city, Port-au-Prince, according to the prime minister.
Martine Mose, Mr. Mose’s wife, was also shot in the incident, according to Prime Minister Claude Joseph. Her status was unclear at the time.
“A gang of unidentified persons, some of whom spoke Spanish, attacked the president of the republic’s private house, mortally wounding the head of state,” the prime minister explained.
In a telephone conversation, Mr. Joseph stated that he is currently in charge of the country.
The news shook the poor Caribbean country, which is located 675 miles southeast of Miami. Dictatorships and coups have a lengthy history in Haiti.
The country battled to free itself from one of the world’s most cruel slave colonies, one that provided France tremendous money and was fought to preserve by the colonial authorities.
What began as a slave revolt at the turn of the century finally led to Napoleon’s soldiers being routed in 1803. More recently, the country was ruled by François Duvalier, often known as Papa Doc, and his son, Jean-Claude, also known as Baby Doc, for more than two decades.
In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a priest from an impoverished neighborhood, became Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He was overthrown in a coup in less than a year.
In recent months, furious rallies in Haiti have crowded the streets, demanding Mr. Mose’s departure. He had clung to power for more than a year, ruling by decree, despite the fact that many people, including constitutional academics and legal experts, believed his tenure had expired.
Despite billions of dollars in rehabilitation help, the country has not rebuilt since a catastrophic earthquake 11 years ago, and many think it is worse off.
Armed gangs have taken over the streets, abducting even youngsters and church pastors in the middle of services. Hunger and poverty are on the rise, and the government has been accused of benefiting itself while failing to provide even the most basic services.
Mr. Joseph claimed that the president was “cowardly slain,” but that the killers “could not assassinate his ideals.” He urged the people to “be calm” and stated that he will speak to the nation on Wednesday. He said that the police and army were in charge of the country’s security situation.
International observers, though, have cautioned that the situation may rapidly go out of hand.
Despite his lack of political legitimacy, former French ambassador to Haiti Didier Le Bret expressed faith that Mr. Joseph would be able to lead the country.
“There is no longer a Parliament, the Senate has been gone for a long time, and there is no president of the Court of Cassation,” Mr. Le Bret said, adding that Mr. Joseph will be responsible for everything.
Mr. Le Bret stated that the only way to “get out of the turmoil” is for the “active forces of the country” and “what is left of the administration” to join forces to hold legal and democratic elections.
He chastised the international world for neglecting Haiti’s tumultuous political situation, saying the international community should immediately come to the country’s rescue “to secure a decent
Mr. Le Bret said the situation in Haiti had become so volatile that “many people had an interest in getting rid of Moïse.”