Haitian president assassinated; first lady hospitalized, official says

National

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview at his home in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Moise is a former banana farmer who won 56 percent of the vote against three opponents in 2016 elections. He made some progress on rural infrastructure projects during his first two years in office. Then the end of subsidized Venezuelan oil aid to Haiti fueled chaos in the western hemisphere’s poorest nation. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (WFLA/AP) — Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday.

Moïse’s wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, is hospitalized, interim Premier Claude Joseph said.

Joseph condemned what he called a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” adding that Haiti’s National Police and other authorities had the situation in the Caribbean country under control.

The killing late Tuesday comes amid deepening political, economic stability and a spike in gang violence.

Moise won the presidency with 56 percent of the vote against three other candidates in 2016. Prior to being president, he was a banana farmer.

The former president had dealt with unrest in his country following conflict involving the end of his presidency. According to the BBC, Haiti’s oppositional party said Moise’s five-year presidency should have ended on Feb. 7, 2021, but he argued he had one more year to serve since he did not take the office until Feb. 7, 2017.

Moise faced numerous accusations of corruption since he had been ruling by decree after his administration did not hold elections in October 2019. Tensions rose so high that the president arrested 23 people, including a top judge and a police officer, for an alleged coup d’état.

Before his assassination, Moise said he was going to arrange for local, municipal, legislative, and presidential elections to be held in 2021.

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