.
H

aitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home in Port-Au-Prince early this morning, said interim prime minister Claude Joseph in a statement.

Moïse, 53, and First Lady Martine Marie Étienne Joseph, were shot by a group of armed intruders. Moïse was rushed to the hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries.

Joseph, who called the assassination an “odious, barbaric" act, reported that some of the members of the armed group spoke Spanish and English, without providing further explanation. 

Moïse’s assassination comes during a tumultuous period in Haiti of both political instability and humanitarian crisis. His presidential term began in 2017 after a string of political issues, including a postponed election in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, investigations into election fraud, and investigations into money laundering from Moïse’s previous entrepreneurial ventures.

The power transition in Haiti remains unclear. Under the Haitian constitution, Moïse would be replaced by the president of the Supreme Court, who died in June to COVID-19. This morning, Joseph announced his position as acting president to take control of the unfolding political situation.

"We have constitutional path for this type of thing, but most institutions in Haiti are not working properly," said Haitian journalist Widlore Meráncourt in an interview with DW News. "You don't have a parliament that is working properly, you do not have a Chamber of Deputies, and you only have one-third of the senators. We don't have a judicial system which is working. And the prime minister who sent out this press release saying the government is taking the institution under control and trying to bring peace to people's minds, it's a resigning government. Just before the president was killed, he nominated a new prime minister."

“There is no legal pathway to escape the situation we are living in right now," Meráncourt said. "There is nothing in the books.” 

Earlier this year, the government arrested 23 opposition members for an alleged attempt to overthrow Moïse in a dispute about the end of his term. The opposition alleged that Moïse’s five-year term expired on February 7th, 2021. Moïse maintained that the election delays allowed him to continue his term until February of 2022.  

President Joe Biden of the United States has not yet made a comment since the announcement of Moïse’s assassination. In a recorded statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the assassination is a tragedy, and the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation as new information arises.

About
Thomas Plant
:
Tom Plant is a student at the College of William & Mary currently pursuing his BA in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. In addition to serving as an intern for the Diplomatic Courier's Summer 2021 Cohort, Tom is a founding co-director for DisinfoLab, an undergraduate research lab at W&M.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

a global affairs media network

www.diplomaticourier.com

Uncertainty Reigns Following Assassination of Haiti’s President

Jovenel Moïse, President of the Republic of Haiti, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-third session. UN Photo/Cia Pak.

July 7, 2021

With Haiti's institutions already in turmoil, the country is ill-prepared for a transition of power following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

H

aitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home in Port-Au-Prince early this morning, said interim prime minister Claude Joseph in a statement.

Moïse, 53, and First Lady Martine Marie Étienne Joseph, were shot by a group of armed intruders. Moïse was rushed to the hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries.

Joseph, who called the assassination an “odious, barbaric" act, reported that some of the members of the armed group spoke Spanish and English, without providing further explanation. 

Moïse’s assassination comes during a tumultuous period in Haiti of both political instability and humanitarian crisis. His presidential term began in 2017 after a string of political issues, including a postponed election in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, investigations into election fraud, and investigations into money laundering from Moïse’s previous entrepreneurial ventures.

The power transition in Haiti remains unclear. Under the Haitian constitution, Moïse would be replaced by the president of the Supreme Court, who died in June to COVID-19. This morning, Joseph announced his position as acting president to take control of the unfolding political situation.

"We have constitutional path for this type of thing, but most institutions in Haiti are not working properly," said Haitian journalist Widlore Meráncourt in an interview with DW News. "You don't have a parliament that is working properly, you do not have a Chamber of Deputies, and you only have one-third of the senators. We don't have a judicial system which is working. And the prime minister who sent out this press release saying the government is taking the institution under control and trying to bring peace to people's minds, it's a resigning government. Just before the president was killed, he nominated a new prime minister."

“There is no legal pathway to escape the situation we are living in right now," Meráncourt said. "There is nothing in the books.” 

Earlier this year, the government arrested 23 opposition members for an alleged attempt to overthrow Moïse in a dispute about the end of his term. The opposition alleged that Moïse’s five-year term expired on February 7th, 2021. Moïse maintained that the election delays allowed him to continue his term until February of 2022.  

President Joe Biden of the United States has not yet made a comment since the announcement of Moïse’s assassination. In a recorded statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the assassination is a tragedy, and the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation as new information arises.

About
Thomas Plant
:
Tom Plant is a student at the College of William & Mary currently pursuing his BA in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. In addition to serving as an intern for the Diplomatic Courier's Summer 2021 Cohort, Tom is a founding co-director for DisinfoLab, an undergraduate research lab at W&M.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.