Live Updates: Haiti Hunts Down President’s Assassins as Crisis Deepens

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Nearly twenty-four hours after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mose in his bedchamber, security forces engaged a group they identified as suspected assailants in a chaotic battle in the capital, Port-au-Prince, late Wednesday, killing four and bringing two into prison.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph declared a “state of siege” on the country and stated officials were still searching for the “mercenaries” responsible for the attack.

Speaking to the nation, Mr. Joseph promised that “this death will not go unpunished.”.

Officials didn’t reveal the identities of those murdered or detained, and they didn’t present evidence that they were involved in Mr. Moese’s murder.

Despite the fact that the situation is swiftly changing, the unrest and violence that have plagued Haiti for months have only intensified.

However, Haitian police head Leon Charles confirmed that some members of the hit squad were on the loose, and maintained that the security forces were in control of things.

Even as questions raged over who could have orchestrated such a brazen attack and how they evaded the president’s security detail, the Caribbean nation of 11 million was gripped by a strong sense of foreboding.

Given that a new prime minister was set to be sworn into office this week, Mr. Joseph’s position as the country’s sixth prime minister in the previous four years is shaky.

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday afternoon to discuss the crisis. Members appealed for “all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, and avoid any act that could lead to further instability” in a joint statement issued today.

In a statement, Vice President Biden called the incident “horrific” and vowed US help.

Rumors spread, and certain specifics of the attack began to emerge.

President Michel Martelly was assassinated, according to Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, at a press conference on Monday.

At before 1 a.m. on Sunday, assailants claiming to be from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rushed into the president’s private residence in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, posing as DEA officers, according to a Haitian judge who spoke to the Nouvelliste daily.

He claimed that the assailants had tied up a maid and another member of the president’s home staff as they made their way to his bedroom.

According to him, The President was Shot a Total of 12 Times.

According to Mr. Destin, “the offices and the president’s bedroom were looted.” A friend described how they discovered him on the ground with his lips open and his left eye blown out.

In his opinion, Mr. Moise appeared to have been shot multiple times, maybe with both large- and small-caliber 9-millimeter rifles.

Martine Mose, the first lady’s wife, was seriously hurt in the attack and sent to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami by air ambulance, where Mr. Joseph said that she was “out of danger” and in a “stable” condition.

According to Mr. Destin, the couple’s only daughter, Jomarlie, was at home at the time of the attack, but she managed to escape unscathed.

The United Nations once sent thousands of peacekeeping troops and police officers to Haiti as part of a coordinated international effort to end the country’s recurring outbreaks of political violence and unrest. However, the cholera epidemic that followed the 2010 earthquake — spread by sick peacekeepers — tarnished the global organisation in the eyes of many Haitians.

“The cholera crisis irreparably ruined the United Nations’ reputation in Haiti,” Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general at the time, said in a biography published last month.

More than 6,700 troops of all levels and more than 1,600 civilian police officers were sent to Haiti as part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah), which was authorised by the Security Council in 2004.

The 2010 earthquake, which killed an estimated 300,000 people, also claimed the lives of 96 personnel of the peacekeeping force. Minustah’s size was increased by the UN Security Council in response to the crisis to up to 8,940 soldiers and 3,711 police personnel.

The peacekeepers, on the other hand, were viewed by many Haitians as an invading force that was not necessarily protecting them. Even more damaging to its reputation was the fact that independent studies later validated concerns that members of a Nepalese contingent may have brought cholera into the country due to poor hygiene.

In the end, Mr. Ban admitted some culpability, but the United Nations successfully rejected claims for compensation from Haitians. There is a UN trust fund set up by Ban Ki-moon to help Haiti deal with the aftermath of the cholera epidemic, but just a portion of that money is there.

The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, or Binuh, replaced Minustah’s mandate in 2017 with a significantly smaller operation. However, the mission’s efforts have been limited to Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital.

They have not made any major progress toward their goals of assisting Haiti in establishing effective government and the rule of law, as well as maintaining a stable climate conducive to human rights.

In a report to the Security Council this month, veteran American diplomat Helen La Lime, Binuh’s chief, detailed the worsening realities in the country:

There is no end in sight to the four-year-long political crisis that has engulfed the country, she warned. As the language of some political leaders grows more heated, a political accord remains elusive.”

“The Haitian people must assure calm,” U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said of Ms. La Lime’s “continuous contact” with temporary prime minister Claude Joseph.

“Stay in place and safe location” was the advice given to Binuh’s 1,200 employees in Haiti, which includes approximately 200 from other nations, according to Mr. Dujarric.

Outside forces have hampered Haiti’s development since its inception.

For decades, Europe and the United States refused to recognise it as a sovereign state.

As of New Year’s Day, 1804, the Caribbean nation became the world’s first black-led republic. That day, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” Saint-Domingue, became Haiti, once France’s richest colony.

It had long been sought after for its sugar, coffee, and cotton, all of which were brought to market by slaves. First, a formerly oppressed people had reclaimed their independence from colonial lords by its declaration of independence. However, this was only possible after a long and brutal conflict.

Charles X of France, more than two decades after Haiti had gained its independence, deployed warships to the capital city of Port-au-Prince and ordered Haiti to make good on its debts to former French colonists.

As a result of its inability to pay the large sum, Haiti was driven into a long-term debt. Amidst political and economic turmoil of the 19th century, the government did little to invest in its infrastructure or education.

After a mob assassinated Haiti’s president in 1915, American forces invaded the country.

America defended its invasion as a means to restore order and stave off an impending French or German attack. U.S. troops, however, resumed forced labour on road construction projects and were later accused of extrajudicial murder.

US financial control over Haiti’s finances persisted until 1947, despite the fact that the occupation, which was largely despised, ended in 1934.

Haiti was ruled by the Duvalier family, a father-and-son dictatorship, until the 1980s after a series of coups in the mid-century. During their rule, the Tontons Macoutes, a notorious secret police organisation that terrorised Haiti, were introduced.

Former Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti in the early 1990s. Over the next 15 years, he was ejected from power twice.

In addition to his liberation theology, Mr. Aristide also posed a danger to the status quo by pledging economic improvements. It took place after a first coup. However, a second coup, backed by the United States and France, in 2004 forced him to resign permanently from office. In the Central African Republic and then in South Africa, he was forced into exile.

At 11 million people, it is the poorest country in Western Hemisphere, according to the UN World Food Program.

As many as 300,000 people were killed in a severe earthquake in 2010. Unfortunately, it has not been able to shake off its economic malaise or its pervasive sense of instability. At least 10,000 Haitians died and 800,000 were infected as a result of a cholera outbreak in 2016 that was related to United Nations forces.

Jovenel Mose, who took office as president in 2017, was slain in his home early on Wednesday morning.

For Haitian President Jovenel Mose, it was a war from the outset.

Mr. Mose had to defend himself against claims that, as a little-known banana exporter, he was nothing more than Michel Martelly’s hand-picked pawn.

In 2016, shortly after winning his election, Jovenel told The New York Times, “Jovenel is his own man,” trying to brush off the claims. Within six months, he promised to produce results.

Gunned down early Wednesday morning at the age of 53, he had served as president for more than four years. Three children were left behind by him.

When he refused to stand down amid mounting protests in his final year in power, he was forced to take additional measures to protect himself: “I am not a dictator,” he told the New York Times in February.

So, Who Was He?

Mr. Mose campaigned for president as a former chamber of commerce official. As he rose to prominence as a prominent contender, few people had heard of him before then. He was dubbed “the Banana Man” by the locals.

In a crowded field, he received the majority of the votes cast, despite the fact that few people bothered to vote.

As a child on a large sugar plantation, Mr. Mose was able to identify with the vast majority of Haitians who still rely on the land. He grew up in the north but went to school in Port-au-Prince, the capital. He credited his father’s successful farming business with teaching him how to succeed.

“I’ve always wondered why people were living in such squalor while vast swaths of land remained untouched,” he remarked. In my opinion, the future of this country lies in agriculture.

Over 3,000 Farmers were Engaged by his Vast Food Cooperative.

When he was president, Mr. Mose was frequently accused of trying to consolidate his own power. A new Constitution that would have given him more power and allowed presidents to run for reelection was proposed by him. Those intentions were scuppered by Covid-19 and the escalating violence in the region.

For reasons that remain unclear, the president refused to stand down as the tenure of practically every elected official in the country expired and there were no elections held during this time period. Gangs have been accused of helping him maintain his position of power.

He utilised his influence in office to try to break monopolies that offered rich contracts for the powerful elite, even his critics acknowledge. As a result, he gained a number of detractors.

Haitian community leader Leonie Hermantin in Miami said that while some see him as crooked, others see him as reformer. When it came to money and electricity contracts, he was a man who was striving to reshape the power dynamics.” To supply power to a country that was still without it, the aristocracy was paid billions of dollars.

Former Haitian senator Simon Desras claimed Mr. Mose seemed to know that his fight against the affluent and powerful forces in the country would lead to his death.

“I recall him saying in his address that he was just going after the wealthy by terminating their contracts. According to Mr. Desras’ account, he was driving through Haiti’s barren streets in a phone conversation when he added, “They’re used to killing people and putting others into exile.” Is he making any sort of prediction?

Aiti’s temporary prime minister stated that he has proclaimed a “état de siège,” or a state of siege, following the assassination of the country’s president early on Wednesday morning.

Many people around the world were baffled by the term as they watched the unfolding events in Haiti with worry.

The temporary prime minister, Claude Joseph, published information about the directive in the official government journal, Le Moniteur, clearing up some of the confusion.

As a result, martial law has been declared in Haiti. All broad steps that could lead to the arrest of the killers of President Jovenel Mose can be taken for 15 days by the police and members of the security forces. It also prohibits meetings whose purpose is to stimulate or prepare for a chaotic situation.

There’s a Kink in the Works. One or Two, Really.

Georges Michel, a Haitian historian and constitutional expert, believes that only Parliament has the authority to declare a state of siege. However, Haiti does not have a functioning Parliament at present time. Only 10 of Haiti’s 30 Senate seats are now occupied, despite the fact that the mandates of the whole lower house expired over a year ago.

Mr. Michel answered, “Legally, he can’t do this.” “We’re in a situation where we have no choice but to do so.”

There are a Few More Nuances to Consider.

A new prime minister has already been named by President Mose after Mr. Joseph’s term as interim prime minister ends.

Jacky Lumarque, the rector of Quisqueya Universty, a big private university in Port-au-Prince, remarked, “We are in absolute chaos.” It’s a two-party system. It’s impossible for us to distinguish between the two claims as to which is the more legitimate.”

It Only Gets Worse.

The country’s Constitution appears to be in conflict, with one version stating that if a president dies while in office, the other version will take control of the country.

Among the provisions of the 1987 version, published in both Creole and French, is that the country’s most senior judge should take over in the event that the president is vacant for whatever reason.

As a result of a constitutional amendment in 2012, the president was replaced by a council of ministers, led by the prime minister. As long as they are not serving their fourth term, like Mr. Mose was. A interim president might then be elected by Parliament. It’d be one thing if the United Kingdom had a Parliament.

Unfortunately, only the French version of the Constitution was altered, not the Creole version. The country now has two constitutions in place.

Mr. Michel, a contributor to the Constitution of 1987, said: “Things remain ambiguous.” “It’s a dire situation,” says the official.

President Lumarque Bemoaned his Country Plight.

This is the first time in our history that we’ve seen the state as weak as it is now,” he noted. “There is no legislative body. A Senate in disarray. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court just passed away. Jovenel Mose was the country’s last legitimate ruler.”

The Haitian Ambassador to the United States claims that the assassination was carried out by trained professionals.
According to Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, “well-trained professional killers” were responsible for the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
This morning’s events in Haiti are a sad tragedy. According to what we know so far, commandos were responsible for this heinous act of violence. They were conversing in the language of their origin, which was Spanish. That’s what’s been revealed by the clip.

We believe the assassins are still at large, therefore finding them is critical to the ongoing global manhunt. As a result, they’re coming here to do the dirty labour. We have no idea if they have already departed or if they are still inside. However, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I expect we will learn more soon. Hope we’ll get some additional details in the near future.

The perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable. International aid is requested since we understand that it may be tough for us to do it on our own.

This week’s killing of Haiti’s president was carried out by “well-trained professionals, killers, commandos,” according to the country’s ambassador to the United States.

“Foreigners” who spoke Spanish were responsible for the attack on President Jovenel Mose, according to Ambassador Bocchit Edmond. “The killers” are “on the run,” he claimed, and his government has publicly requested the support of the United States in their investigation.
This is a regional security issue, he continued, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Mr. Edmond warned that if we allow the killing of a president to continue, “then they may feel free to kill another president somewhere else.”

Not everyone is certain that the attackers are still in Haiti. He speculated that they may have fled by water or crossed the border into the Dominican Republic because the country’s airport was shut down. He promised a reopening of the airport “after we have the issue under control.”

While claiming to be from US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mr. Edmond stated that they were actually “fake D.E.A.” and “professional murderers.” On the basis of surveillance footage, he came to his conclusion.

This is totally false, according to an official at the State Department.” Some speculated that the assailants were using the agency as a pretence to persuade the officers defending the president to step aside, given their extensive history of activities in Haiti.

It was recently reported that “approximately a million individuals” intended to kill Mr. Mose “because of his policies or the reforms that he is implementing,” according to Edmond.

The ambassador, on the other hand, claimed that the overnight attack had gone unannounced.

Martine, Mr. Mose’s wife, was “stable but in serious condition” following the attack, Mr. Edmond said. She was flown to the Sunshine State for medical attention.

Edmond, a career diplomat, claimed he had spoken to the White House and the State Department, as well as American Ambassador Michele J. Sison, since he was appointed to his position in Haiti in December of last year. To prevent Haiti from spiralling into bloodshed, he begged for U.S. aid, he added.

“To ensure that the Haitian police have the necessary capabilities to put this situation under control,” Mr. Edmond added, his government was seeking American assistance.

According to WHO officials, the death of Haitian President Jovenel Mose on Wednesday could make it more difficult to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in the Caribbean nation, which has yet to begin immunising its inhabitants.

Herpanic Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne said her organisation has prioritised Haiti in recent weeks as the number of cases have increased.

Haitian doctor Dr. Etienne hopes the advent of vaccines in the country would help turn the tide of the pandemic and alleviate the suffering of the country’s people. “We will continue to support them, and we will do whatever we can to help them.”

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, did not experience the early epidemic surge that many experts anticipated would decimate the country. There has been a sharp surge in the number of cases reported in recent weeks, which experts say is likely an underestimate given the country’s inadequate testing capabilities.

René Sylvestre, president of Haiti’s Supreme Court, was assassinated last month by Covid-19, a notorious terrorist group. Sylvestre was a key role in the country’s attempt to restore order after a string of political assassinations.

“Further worsening of Haitian security could have a negative influence on work done to curb Covid-19 infections,” as well as immunisation preparations, said Dr. Etienne’s organisation in an email, while it was too soon to assess the impact of the assassination.

Additionally, the organisation noted that hurricane season had just begun, as well as the recent discovery of the Alpha and Gamma virus subtypes in Haiti. No particular delivery date was given, but the group indicated the vaccines were “anticipated to arrive shortly” in Haiti.

According to Dr. Etienne, the global community should be doing more for Haiti’s coronavirus victims and their families. This virus may change things rapidly, she added. “The situation in Haiti is a cautionary story in exactly how quickly things can change.”

Dr. Etienne referred to Haiti as an example of “stark disparities on vaccine access.” A few countries have been unable to reach even the most needy members of their people for every success.

Millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean “still don’t know when they will have an opportunity to be immunised,” she said, according to the report.

She argued that the unequal distribution of vaccines was problematic from both a practical and moral standpoint.

As long as poor countries don’t have the means to vaccinate as much as wealthier countries, the Ebola virus will continue to spread, Dr. Etienne said. Millions will be at risk as the affluent nations return to normal. It’s obvious that this should never happen.”