The assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise has stunned the country and shocked regional leaders. The Caribbean nation of roughly 11 million people, many of them living amid poverty and rising violence, now faces an even more uncertain future.
Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph has assumed leadership of the country in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He declared a “state of siege” in Haiti — closing the country’s borders and imposing martial law — saying he did not want the nation to “plunge into chaos.” Authorities have said a group of “professional killers” stormed Moise’s private residence in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Moise was shot 16 times, former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said. The President was aware of a possible assassination threat and that was why in recent months he was rarely seen outside of his home, Lamothe told CNN. Haiti’s first lady, Martine Moise, was also shot in the attack and was evacuated to a hospital in Miami, Florida, for treatment. Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, said he believes the first lady is “now out of danger.” Jovenel Moise, who was 53 and a former banana exporter, had spent most of the past year waging a political war with the opposition over the terms of his presidency.