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The First Lady of Haiti was flown to South Florida Wednesday afternoon for treatment at a Miami hospital after being shot multiple times during a night raid that killed President Jovenel Moise.
Moise, 53, was killed at the couple’s residence in Port-Au-Prince in the early hours of Wednesday by a gang of gunmen who allegedly claimed to be US Drug Enforcement agents.
His 47-year-old wife, Martine Moise, was left in critical condition after sustaining multiple injuries during the deadly attack.
The First Lady of Haiti was flown by Trinity Air Ambulance to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where she arrived at 3.30 p.m., Local 10 reported.
How old is Martine Moise?
She is 47 year old.
Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for medical treatment
She was then transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for medical treatment. Authorities said her vital signs were stable but her condition was still critical.
Local 10 News reported that the victim suffered gunshot wounds to the arms and thigh, along with unspecified but serious injuries to the abdomen and hand.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a Democrat from South Florida, issued a statement that read in part: “ I was shocked by the news of the assassination of the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, and learned that his wife, Martine, was also shot. during the attack. My thoughts are with the people of Haiti and I pray that this does not wreak further havoc on a nation that is already extremely troubled. ”
A group of ‘foreigners’, some of whom spoke English and Spanish, broke into Moise’s home in the hills above Port-au-Prince around 1 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the prime minister of the French-speaking country.
Prime Minister Claude Joseph described the attack on the president and the first lady as a “heinous, inhuman and barbarous act.”
In a recording allegedly recorded by a witness, someone with an American accent shouts through a megaphone: ‘DEA operation. They all retire. DEA operation. Everybody back off, back off. ‘
Then, shots erupted in the video that was uploaded to Instagram by someone who says they were in the Pelerin 5 neighborhood, where the president’s house is located.
The assailants pretended to be from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and were “mercenaries,” a government source told The Miami Herald.
Moise had been accused of turning Haiti into a dictatorship, refusing to resign the presidency after his term ended earlier this year, using armed thugs to sow fear, and trying to change the constitution to consolidate power, including installing from an intelligence agency that responded directly to him.
He was assassinated the day after he nominated Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, as the new prime minister. Mr. Henry, the eighth Prime Minister in the past four years, was due to replace Mr. Joseph, who had been appointed interim in April, by the end of this week.
Residents last night reported hearing high-powered rounds and saw men dressed in black running through the neighborhood. There were also reports of the explosion of a grenade and the deployment of drones.
Other videos allegedly taken by a neighbor show men with rifles arriving outside the president’s home. It is not clear if they are from the country’s security forces or if they are the killers.
Prime Minister Joseph, who previously said he had taken over the country, declared a “state of siege” on Wednesday giving him additional powers.
“I have just presided over an extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers and we have decided to declare a state of siege throughout the country,” said the prime minister.
He said that the police and the armed forces were taking “all measures to guarantee the continuity of the state and protect the nation.”
Joe Biden said he was “shocked” by the murder and that “a lot” more information is needed.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear about the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the attack on First Lady Martine Moise,” the US President said in a statement.
The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home
“We condemn this heinous act and send my sincere wishes for the recovery of First Lady Moise,” he added.
Speaking to reporters when she went on a trip to Chicago, Biden called the incident “very disturbing” and said “we need a lot more information.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened by Moise’s death”, calling it “an abhorrent act” and calling for calm.
Moise’s death comes after she claimed that the police had foiled an assassination plot in February amid mass protests in the country over claims that the president was acting like a dictator and was refusing to hold elections.
In response, the former auto parts dealer arrested 23 people he said were behind the plot, including a superior judge and a police officer.
“There was an attempt on my life,” Moise said in a national speech at the time. I thank my head of security at the palace. The objective of these people was to attempt against my life. That plan was aborted.
Moise’s death runs the risk of throwing the country into total chaos after months of violent demonstrations and claims that the president had used armed gangsters to stay in power. More than 14,700 people have fled their homes due to the spate of murders.
There are only 10 elected officials in the country and there is no legal framework for who should take power in the event of the president’s death.
World leaders condemn Moise’s assassination, warn more unrest could ensue
US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was “shocked” by the assassination of the Haitian president and that “much” more information is needed.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear about the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the attack on First Lady Martine Moise,” Biden said in a statement.
“We condemn this heinous act and send my sincere wishes for the recovery of First Lady Moise,” he added.
Speaking to reporters when he went on a trip to Chicago, Biden called the incident “very disturbing” and said “we need a lot more information.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the killing of as yet unidentified assailants was a ‘horrible attack’ and said ‘we will be useful in any way to the people of Haiti, to the government of Haiti if there is an investigation’ .
The White House “was still gathering information,” she told MSNBC television.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened by the death of President Moise.”
“Our condolences go out to his family and the people of Haiti,” he added. “This is an abominable act and I ask for calm at this time.”
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, condemned the murder.
“I would like to make a call for political unity to get out of this terrible trauma that the country is going through,” Sánchez said during a visit to Latvia.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, warned that the shooting could provoke the beginning of “instability and a spiral of violence.”
Borrell added: “The perpetrators of this murder must be found and brought to justice.”
Dominican President Luis Abinader condemned the murder and said on Twitter that the crime “undermines the democratic order in Haiti and the region.”
He offered his condolences to Moise’s family and his wife Martine, who was injured, and to the Haitian people.
Colombian President Iván Duque condemned what he described as an “act of cowardice” and expressed his solidarity with Haiti. He called for an urgent mission from the Organization of American States “to protect the democratic order.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered her condolences in a statement on Twitter.
“We wish the First Lady a speedy recovery and we join our ally Haiti at this difficult time,” she wrote Tsai. Haiti is one of the few countries in the world that maintains formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
Some reports suggested that the next in line of succession should be the head of the Supreme Court, but the judge recently died of Covid-19.
For the acting prime minister, Joseph, to formally replace Moise, he would need the approval of the Haitian parliament, but due to the lack of recent elections, the legislature is effectively defunct.
“There is no constitutional answer to this situation,” Bernard Gousse, a former justice minister and legal expert, told the Herald.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, warned that the shooting could provoke the beginning of “instability and a spiral of violence.” Borrell added: “The perpetrators of this murder must be found and brought to justice.”
Mr. Moise, the text of the constitutional reform, aimed at strengthening the executive branch
In addition to the presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was due to have a constitutional referendum in September after it was postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the support of Mr. Moise, the text of the constitutional reform, aimed at strengthening the executive branch, has been overwhelmingly rejected by the opposition and many civil society organizations.
Under the terms of the current constitution, drawn up after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1987, “any popular consultation aimed at modifying the Constitution by referendum is formally prohibited.”
Haiti has struggled to maintain a semblance of democratic order despite the overthrow of 28 years of bloody dynastic rule at the hands of the notorious François ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier.
In recent years, critics of the regime said it was impossible to organize a survey due to the general insecurity in the country and gang violence, which some claimed was deliberately controlled by Moise.
Ransom kidnappings have increased in recent months, reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs and widespread anarchy.
The Caribbean island has suffered from poverty and political instability for decades and has struggled to rebuild itself after a devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Haiti gained independence from colonial France after a slave uprising in 1804.
Yet democracy has never truly taken hold in the republic, which only held its first free and fair elections in 1990.
President Jovenel Moise, 53, and First Lady Martine, 47. The First Lady was also injured in the assassination, according to the Prime Minister’s statement.
Moise and his wife Martine meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2016 +26
Moise and his wife Martine meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2016
President Jovenel Moise battled deadly riots as he oversaw massive inflation, food and fuel shortages as he clung to power
President Jovenel Moise fought violent protests while monitoring massive inflation, food and fuel shortages in Haiti since he took office in 2017.
The poorest country in the Americas has failed to establish a functional democracy since the overthrow of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s.
Moise, a former auto parts salesman, took office with just 600,000 votes in the country of 11 million and faced an uphill task to keep his tenure.
In 2019, he faced fury over fuel and food shortages amid a sharp devaluation of the currency and allegations of corruption. At least 17 people died and hundreds were injured in the riots.
The anger dragged on for the following year when Moise refused to hold an election, claiming that his five-year presidential term would not end until 2022.
Haiti has struggled to achieve political stability since a popular uprising in 1986 ended the 28-year dynastic dictatorship of Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier.
The last decades have been marked by coups, riots and foreign interventions.
Only two presidents have managed to serve their full term.
Successive governments have failed to generate real development in the island nation that has to regularly deal with deadly natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes.
The country had received a lot of aid after the 2010 earthquake that killed some 300,000 people, but lately it has been declining.
However, Moise failed to cut spending, meaning the budget deficit deepened to record levels.
The local currency depreciated against the dollar and inflation was rampant.
More than half of the population lives below the poverty line and survives on less than $ 2.4 a day, according to the World Bank.
Accusations in a High Court of Accounts report of the embezzlement of billions of dollars by public officials and people close to them, including Moise before he became president, have also drawn ire.
Martine Moise Quicks and Facts
A group of ‘foreigners’, some of whom spoke English and Spanish, broke into Mr Moise’s home in the hills above Port-au-Prince at
around 1am on Wednesday, according to a statement by country’s prime minister
The 53-year-old was shot dead and the First Lady Martine, 47, was left fighting for her life
She was airlifted to Florida and transported to Miami’s Jackson Memorial hospital to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds and additional injuries
Haiti’s embassy in the Dominican Republic said the First Lady has since been flown to another country for treatment
In footage purportedly recorded by a witness, someone with an American accent shouts into a megaphone: ‘DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down’
Mr Moise had been accused of turning Haiti into a dictatorship, refusing to relinquish the presidency after his term ended, using armed gangsters to spread fear among the populace and of trying to change the constitution to consolidate power – including installing an intelligence agency that answered directly to him
He was killed a day after he nominated Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, as Haiti’s new prime minister. He was due to take over later this week from Mr Joseph, who had been named as interim in April – the seventh PM in the last four years of upheaval
PM Joseph, who earlier said he had taken charge of the country, declared a ‘state of siege’ on Wednesday which grants him additional powers