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Jovenel Moïse was shot and killed in front of his family this week. During his four years as President of Haiti, he made many enemies but few friends.

There are so many enemies that when a team of mercenaries disguised as DEA agents broke into the president’s private villa early on Wednesday morning, it was unclear which side his bodyguard was on. The Haitian authorities have since ordered the interrogation of his security personnel.

Video footage taken by witnesses circulating on the Internet seems to show that the murderer was approaching the house in a slow-moving convoy under cover of darkness. Some attackers wielded submachine guns and walked between the cars, yelling “DEA operation” and “Don’t shoot” in English.

As soon as they entered the door, the assassins repeatedly shot Moise and his wife Martina. The president was hit 12 times and his left eye was dug out. Investigating judge Carl Henry Destin told the Haitian newspaper “Neutag”. Martin survived the attack, was seriously injured, and was airlifted to Florida for treatment.

Haitian authorities marched in front of the media with 17 members of the 28-person strike team suspected of killing the president © AFP via Getty Images

The attack aroused condemnation from the international community. In Haiti, despite the local violence in the country, it was still shocked. “People are now in a state of uncertainty,” said a resident of Port-au-Prince. “Whether you love Moise or hate him, the reaction is the same: deep shock.”

Many unresolved questions include: who ordered the killing, why the bodyguard apparently did not resist, and what will happen next in Haiti, even before the assassination was already in a serious crisis.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the FBI and Homeland Security officials will be sent to Port-au-Prince as soon as possible at the request of the Haitian government to assess the situation and how we can help.

Although murders are common in Caribbean countries and coups are not uncommon in Haiti’s history, since the mob dismembered Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam (Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam) in 1915, no president has been killed in office. Assassination.

That killing prompted the US military to occupy Haiti for 19 years, but Washington reacted differently this time. Passaki said on Thursday that the presidential election originally scheduled for this year should continue.

In Haiti, the authorities quickly emphasized the foreign identity of the murderer of the president. Police Chief Leon Charles said on Thursday that 26 of the 28-man assault team were Colombians and the other two were Americans of Haitian descent. Seventeen people were arrested and at least three were killed. The others are at large. It is unclear why this so-called professional killer team failed to organize an escape.

Claude Joseph
Moise’s sixth prime minister, Claude Joseph, acted quickly to maintain control after the killing, implemented a state of emergency, held a press conference and ordered the airport and local businesses to reopen © Joseph Odelyn/AP

Speculation about who ordered the assassination prevailed. Moise, a former banana exporter, showed an increasingly authoritarian tendency during his last term, imprisoning opponents, passing rulings through decree, allowing the term of assembly of members and mayors to expire without new elections, and seeking this The constitutional reform of the Senate can be abolished, giving him immunity from prosecution, and clearing the way for a second term.

Violent street protests broke out in 2018, accusing Moise and his officials of profiting millions of dollars from Venezuela’s subsidized oil program, but he has always denied this.

“Moise has many enemies,” said Laurent Dubois, a Haitian expert at the University of Virginia. “People can speculate from many different directions. I think this will go back to internal sources, but it’s hard to say whether we will actually know.”

In a country plagued by political instability, worsening gang violence, and extreme poverty, what will happen next is equally confusing. Moise’s sixth prime minister, Claude Joseph, acted swiftly after the killing, asserting control, implementing a state of emergency, holding a press conference, and ordering the airport and local businesses to quiet the streets for two days. Reopened. However, Ariel Henry, the neurosurgeon nominated two days before Moise’s death, claimed that he was the legitimate leader of the prime minister.

Constitutional experts are puzzled: Haiti has two possible legal options if the president dies. There is currently no parliament to support the nominee, and the president of the Supreme Court (a possible successor) died of coronavirus last month.

Currently, the United States and the United Nations are dealing with Joseph. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken spoke with him on Wednesday, and State Spokesperson Ned Price has repeatedly described Joseph as the “acting prime minister.”

Protesters called for Jovenel Moise to resign during a demonstration in November 2018
Protesters called for Jovenel Moïse to resign during a demonstration in November 2018 © Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

No matter who takes over, he faces severe challenges. In April, the Catholic Church warned that Haiti was “going to hell” after the abduction of seven Haiti clergy. Observers said that with the surge in gang violence, the security situation has deteriorated significantly since early June.

“We need this government without legitimacy to accept the process of dialogue with all who can form a government of national unity,” Didier Lebre, who served as the French ambassador to Haiti in 2009-13 and now works for a consulting company. Didier Le Bret) said that ESL and the network. “It is impossible for Haiti to have an electoral process within a few months because no conditions can be met.”

Even before the murder, UNICEF country representative Bruno Metz stated that Haiti is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in years due to violence by armed groups, severe fuel and food shortages, and a surge in Covid cases. “The number of people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance is 1.1 million,” he said. “We cannot use the main road to the south to reach people, because armed groups control it, so we have to use helicopters.”

The international powers seem unwilling to interfere. The 13-year UN visit to Haiti ended in 2017, but it did not bring lasting stability. Critics said the Security Council’s statement this week was nothing more than distressing. As the traditional arbiter of the United States is on the sidelines, some people worry that Haiti is at risk of falling into a state of violent anarchy.

“Haiti’s poor have had enough,” said a local businessman. “People are dying, people are starving. People can’t stand it anymore. Life is too painful.”

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