Steph Deschamps / July 7, 2021
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated early Wednesday morning at his home, an event that threatens to further destabilize the poorest country in the Americas, already facing a double political and security crisis
The president's wife was injured in the attack, which took place at about 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT) and was hospitalized, Joseph said. He called for calm and said the police and army would maintain order.
Coming from the business world, Jovenel Moïse, 53, was elected president in 2016 on a promise to develop the country's economy and took office on February 7, 2017.
Active in several economic fields, including the exploitation of banana plantations, he had almost no experience in politics at the time of his election and was very little known to his compatriots.
Haiti is plagued by insecurity and in particular kidnappings for ransom carried out by gangs enjoying virtual impunity. A situation that earned Jovenel Moïse, accused of inaction in the face of the crisis, to be confronted with a strong defiance of a large part of civil society.
Jovenel Moïse announced on Monday the appointment of a new Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, with the mission of holding elections.
Governing by decree since January 2020, without a Parliament, and while the length of his term was contested, Jovenel Moïse had also initiated an institutional reform.
A constitutional referendum originally scheduled for April, first postponed to June 27 and then again due to the Covid-19 epidemic, was to be held on September 26. The reform was intended to strengthen the prerogatives of the executive.
But it was in the streets of Port-au-Prince that the deterioration of the country's situation was most evident.
Since the beginning of June, clashes between rival gangs in the west of Port-au-Prince have paralyzed all traffic between the southern half of the country and the Haitian capital.
Thousands of residents of the impoverished, gang-contested Martissant neighborhood have been forced to flee their homes and have had to be sheltered by relatives or in gyms.
On June 30, 15 people were killed in a shooting in the middle of Port-au-Prince, including a journalist, Diego Charles, and an opposition political activist, Antoinette Duclair.
On the political front, Jovenel Moïse has appointed no less than seven Prime Ministers during his term. The last one to date, Ariel Henry, was not able to take office.