Caribbean News, Latin America News:
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Weds. July 7, 2021: Caribbean leaders and Caribbean nationals everywhere have joined the world in expressing collective shock at the brutal murder of the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, in the wee hours of this morning.
New CARICOM chairman and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he was in shock at the developments. It “very, very, unfortunate,” he was quoted as saying.
“I am shocked to hear about the assassination of President Moise and I pray the full recovery of his wife, who is reported to be hospitalized with bullet wound,” Browne said, adding: “the savage act, is a very unfortunate development coming at a time of great instability to Haiti.”
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Keith Rowley, said he was “shocked at the tragic developments in Haiti.”
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family of President Moïse and to the Government and People of Haiti, our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on this most distressing occurrence,” a statement said. “Trinidad and Tobago pledges to work together with our CARICOM colleagues and other hemispheric and international partners to support Haiti at this very difficult time.”
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said “this heinous act is a stain on Haiti and a sorrowful time for the region.”
“May God be a special covering over his family and over the people of Haiti during this dark time in the nation’s history,” Holness added.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on the state-owned DBS Radio, said “it is rather unfortunate that it has descended into the assassination of President Moise.”
Speaking to MSNBC on Wednesday morning, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden would be briefed on what she called a “horrific attack,” but said the U.S. government was still assessing and “gathering information from this side.”
“We stand ready and stand by them to provide any assistance that’s needed,” Psaki told CNN later.
The OAS offered its deepest condolences and solidarity with the Haitian people at this difficult time.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the assassination of the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, a criminal act that occurred early today. This attack is an affront to the entire community of democratic nations represented in the Organization of American States (OAS). We most vehemently deplore this attempt to undermine the institutional stability of the country,” the bost said in a statement. “We reject this objectionable act. Disagreement and dissent are part of a strong and vigorous system of government. Political assassinations have no place in a democracy. We call for an end to a form of politics that threatens to derail democratic advances and the future of the country.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations also issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms,” the assassination of President Moïse.
“The perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice,” he said, while extending his deepest condolences to the people and Government of Haiti and the family of the late President and calling on all Haitians to preserve the constitutional order, remain united in the face of this abhorrent act and reject all violence.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will meet later today in an emergency session to discuss the assassination.
Outgoing Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced the assassination to the world in a statement and said that Moise’s wife was also injured and has been hospitalized.
“An unidentified group of individuals, some of whom were speaking in Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and mortally wounded him,” Joseph said in a statement on Wednesday. “The First Lady was wounded by a bullet and the necessary measures are being taken.”
Joseph has called on the population for calm and indicated that the police and the army would maintain order.
“The security situation of the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces,” Joseph said. “All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and to protect the nation. Democracy and the Republic will triumph.”
Haiti’s Embassy in Washington D.C. released a statement on behalf of the government this morning, providing little further detail, but saying Moïse had been killed in a “well-coordinated attack by a highly trained and heavily armed group.”
Haiti has suffered for years from political instability, and Moïse had been governing by decree. Critics had accused the 53-year-old of ruling like an autocrat.
According to the Miami Herald, the gunmen stormed Moïse’s home in a hilltop community of the capital, Port-au-Prince, claiming to be agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Videos seen by the Herald showed gunmen telling people at Moïse’s home to “put down your weapons. This is DEA.” Haitian sources told the Miami newspaper that the assailants were heard speaking English and Spanish, and that they were not DEA agents, but “mercenaries.”
ONLY SECOND LEADER TO BE KILLED IN OFFICE
Moise is only the second Caribbean leader to be murdered while in office in recent years and the first President. The first was Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983. A four-man People’s Revolutionary Army firing squad executed Bishop, three members of his Cabinet and four others by machine-gunning them. After he was dead, a gunman slit his throat and cut off his finger to steal his ring. The bodies were then transported to a military camp and partially burned in a pit. The location of their remains is still unknown.
Haiti was scheduled to hold general elections later this year.