Haiti's President Jovenel Moise has been assassinated

By David Coffey with RFI
Latin America & Caribbean CHANDAN KHANNA AFPArchivos
JUL 7, 2021 LISTEN

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been assassinated at his home this Wednesday morning by a group of armed individuals. 

According to interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who is now in charge of the country, Moise was killed in the early hours of this morning. 

Moise's injured wife is currently in the hospital following the attack.

Joseph has urged the Haitian public to remain calm, and insisted the police and army will ensure the population's safety.

"The president was assassinated at his home by foreigners who spoke English and Spanish," Joseph said.

Insecurity ravaging the country

Moise had been ruling Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, by decree, after legislative elections due in 2018 were delayed in the wake of disputes, including on the length of his mandate.

In addition to the political crisis, kidnappings for ransom have surged in recent months, further reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs in the country.

The president faced steep opposition from swathes of the population that deemed his mandate illegitimate, and he ran through a series of seven prime ministers in four years.

Most recently, Joseph was supposed to be replaced this week after only three months in the post.

In addition to presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was due to have a constitutional referendum in September after it was twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The current constitution was written in 1987 after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship and declares that "any popular consultation aimed at modifying the Constitution by referendum is formally prohibited."