Haitian first lady Martine Moïse says she’s considering running for president after her husband was assassinated

Former first lady of Haiti, Martine Moise, speaks during the funeral of her slain husband, former President Jovenel Moise, accompanied by her children in Cap-Haitien
Former first lady of Haiti, Martine Moise, speaks during the funeral of her assassinated husband.

  • Former Haitian first lady Martine Moïse said she’s considering running for president.
  • This came less than a month after her husband, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated at their home.
  • There are still many open questions about the killing.
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Former Haitian first lady Martine Moïse says she is now seriously considering running for president after her husband, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated at their home, leaving her wounded in the attack earlier this month.

“President Jovenel had a vision,” Moïse told The New York Times in a report published Friday, adding, “and we Haitians are not going to let that die.”

A band of armed gunmen stormed into the couple’s private residence in Haiti on July 7 and assassinated the president, critically wounding his wife.

“I would like people who did this to be caught, otherwise they will kill every single president who takes power,” the first lady told the Times in her first interview since her husband’s brutal murder.

“They did it once. They will do it again,” she said.

Haitian authorities have arrested over two dozen people in connection to the assassination – including two US citizens. They’ve pointed to a Florida-based pastor, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, as a key conspirator in the killing. But there are many open questions about the assassination, and few answers.

Moïse’s assassination by a hit squad of foreign mercenaries in early July pushed an already struggling country into further chaos. Haiti was facing ongoing political turmoil, on top of rampant gang violence and poverty, when he was killed. Shortly before the assassination, the United Nations Security Council in a statement expressed “deep concern regarding deteriorating political, security, and humanitarian conditions in Haiti.”

He came to power in 2017 after a prolonged and rocky election cycle. Prior to his killing, there was a contentious consistutional dispute over the length of his presidential term.

Moïse’s opponents claimed that he stayed in power past his term limit, but he refused to step down. This prompted protests against his rule. Compounding the matter was the fact Moïse had been ruling by decree since January 2020 after dissolving parliament and failing to hold legislative elections.

Back in February, Haitian officials arrested nearly two dozen people in what was described as an attempted coup. At the time, Moïse said, “The goal of these people was to make an attempt on my life.”

Haiti continues to be gripped by political uncertainty and unrest.

A new prime minister, Ariel Henry, was sworn-in last Tuesday after a brief power struggle between him and Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

At Moïse’s funeral last week, protestors clashed with police and gunfire prompted President Joe Biden’s ambassador to the UN to leave early.

The Biden administration has offerred assistance to Haiti as it investigates Moïse’s assassination, but rebuffed a request for the US to send in troops to help quell the unrest.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield last week said Haiti took a “positive step” forming a new government under Henry, but underscored that a key task facing Haitian leaders “will be to create the conditions for free and fair legislative and presidential elections as soon as feasible.”

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Several of the men arrested in Haitian president’s assassination had ties to US law enforcement: reports

17 arrested in haiti assassination sitting in a line
Suspects in the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moise seen s in Port-au-Price on July 8, 2021.

  • Several of the men arrested in connection to the president’s assassination, had ties to US law enforcement, according to CNN.
  • Haitian authorities arrested two Haitian American men and 26 Colombian men last week.
  • On Sunday, police arrested another Florida-based Haitian American who is accused of being the mastermind behind the attack.
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Several of the men arrested in connection to last week’s assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, had ties to US law enforcement, according to Reuters and CNN.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed to Insider that at least one of the men arrested by Haitian authorities previously worked as an informant for the DEA.

“At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a confidential source to the DEA,” the DEA said in a statement to Insider. “Following the assassination of President Moïse, the suspect reached out to his contacts at the DEA. A DEA official assigned to Haiti urged the suspect to surrender to local authorities and, along with a US State Department official, provided information to the Haitian government that assisted in the surrender and arrest of the suspect and one other individual.”

Video footage of the moments leading up to the assassination show someone saying “this is a DEA operation” multiple times through a megaphone. The agency told Insider that none of the attackers were working on behalf of the DEA.

People familiar with the matter told CNN that others involved in the assassination also had US ties, including working as informants for the FBI.

The FBI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Reuters reported that one of the two Haitian-American men arrested last week had ties to US law enforcement.

Haitian authorities arrested Joseph Vincent and James Solages last Thursday in connection to the shocking murder of Moïse early Wednesday morning. The two American men were described as being of Haitian descent.

Vincent and Solages, both from Florida, were charged, along with 26 Colombians in the attack that left Moïse dead and his wife, Martine Moïse, in critical condition.

A Haitian judge said on Friday that Vincent and Solages claimed they were only serving as translators for the hit squad and were not in the room when the shooting took place.

Solages said he found a job listing online to translate for the commandos.

According to Reuters, Solages described himself in past online statements as a “certified diplomatic agent” and the former “chief commander of bodyguards” for Haiti’s Canadian embassy.

The US government source that told Reuters about the law enforcement connection did not specify which of the two men had ties to an American agency and did not provide any details about the nature of the relationship, the outlet reported.

The news comes one day after a third Haitian-American, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, was arrested on Sunday and accused of being the mastermind behind the attack. Sanon, 63, is a Florida-based doctor, who Haitian officials say recruited assailants to aid his “political motives.”

The attack has led to a power vacuum in the already struggling country, where at least four men have since claimed to be the leader of Haiti.

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents would be sent to Haiti as soon as possible to help provide security and investigative assistance.

The motive for the brazen assassination remains unclear.

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The US is ‘analyzing’ the Haitian government’s request to send troops after its president was assassinated

Haiti
Vehicles drive through Petion-Ville market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 11, 2021, four days after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. (

  • US officials are “analyzing” the Haitian government’s request to send troops to help stabilize the country.
  • Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence last week.
  • “It’s going through a review,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby during a Fox News interview.
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US officials are “analyzing” the Haitian government’s request to send troops to help stabilize the country following the assassination of its president last week but have not yet decided whether to send them.

“We’re analyzing it, just like we would any other request for assistance here at the Pentagon. It’s going through a review,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby during an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private Port-au-Prince residence early Wednesday. His wife, first lady Martine Moïse, was also injured in the attack but is recovering at a Florida hospital.

Haitian officials last week requested military assistance from the US and from the UN, the Associated Press reported.

“What do we do? Do we let the country fall into chaos? Private properties destroyed? People killed after the assassination of the president?” Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s elections minister, told the AP. “Or, as a government, do we prevent?

Pierre told the outlet that officials weren’t asking for “occupation of the country.”

“We’re asking for small troops to assist and help us. … As long as we are weak, I think we will need our neighbors,” he said.

Pierre previously told The New York Times he feared “urban terrorists” could attack the nation’s infrastructure in the coming days.

“The group that financed the mercenaries want to create chaos in the country,” he said. “Attacking the gas reserves and airport might be part of the plan.”

The assassination came amid rising political tensions in the country and a surge of COVID-19 cases and gang violence.

Kirby said an interagency team comprised of officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were traveling to Haiti on Sunday to assist them in investigating Moïse’s assassination.

“I think that’s really where our energies are best applied right now in helping them get their arms around investigating this incident and figuring out who’s culpable, who’s responsible, and how to best hold them accountable going forward,” Kirby told Chris Wallace on Sunday.

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Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was reportedly shot 12 times with large- and small-caliber weapons, judge says

Haiti Jovenel Moise and wife Martine Moise
Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 28, 2016, after he won the country’s 2016 presidential election.

  • Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was shot 12 times when gunmen stormed into his home.
  • Pétion-Ville deputy justice of the peace, Carl Henry Destin, revealed the details to the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
  • Moïse was killed by a group of armed assailants at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
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Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was riddled with a dozen bullets – some from high-caliber weapons – when gunmen stormed into his home and killed him, a local justice of the peace said, according to a report.

“We found twelve [bullet wounds] on the body of the president,” Pétion-Ville deputy justice of the peace, Carl Henry Destin, told French-language newspaper Le Nouvelliste, explaining that they were made with both large-caliber and smaller caliber weapons.

Moïse was assassinated by a group of armed assailants who burst into his home at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Haitian first lady Martine Moïse was also critically injured in the attack.

Destin told the newspaper that Jovenel Moïse’s office and bedroom “were ransacked.”

Destin told the paper that Moïse’s eye was blown out, adding that he was also shot in the forehead, chest, hip, and abdomen.

Le Nouvelliste reported that one of the couple’s three children was at the home at the time of the attack and hid in her brother’s bedroom. Authorities say the child is safe.

Destin, citing witnesses, told the news outlet that a maid and another worker were tied up by the assassins who shouted “DEA operation” when they entered the home.

The police chief of Haiti, Léon Charles, said late Wednesday night that four people suspected of being involved in the assassination were killed by police in a gun battle and two others were arrested.

Haitian security forces on Thursday caught more men believed to be involved in the assassination plot that killed Moïse, Reuters reported, citing live images shown by several Haitian media outlets.

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2 men are claiming to be Haiti’s prime minister after the country’s president was assassinated

Haitian president jovenel moise
Haitian President Jovenel Moise

  • Haiti’s interim prime minister and a man who was just named prime minister are both claiming the title following Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination on Wednesday.
  • Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph says “law and the constitution” designate him as prime minister.
  • But Ariel Henry, who Moïse named prime minister one day before his death, says he’s actually in charge now.
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Two men are claiming to be Haiti’s prime minister after the country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated on Wednesday.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry, who Moïse named as prime minister on Tuesday before his death, are both claiming the title and giving disputed interviews to the press.

Joseph was the leader who announced Moïse’s death, and told The New York Times on Wednesday that he was now in charge of Haiti’s government. Joseph has declared a “state of siege,” which closed the country’s borders and instituted martial law.

Joseph later told The Associated Press that Henry was “designated” as prime minister but “never took office.”

“I was the one who was a prime minister, who was in office. This is what the law and the constitution says,” he told AP.

Henry, however, contradicted Joseph in his own interview with AP.

“It’s an exceptional situation. There is a bit of confusion,” he said. “I am the prime minister in office.”

In an interview with Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste, Henry added that while he claimed to be the rightful leader, he urged a “consensus” be reached and said he didn’t want to “throw oil on the fire.”

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4 suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s president were killed by police in a gun battle and 2 have been arrested

President of Haiti Jovenel Moise
President of Haiti Jovenel Moise at an event in Antalya, Turkey in June 2021.

  • Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was killed by a group of assailants early Wednesday morning.
  • Haiti’s police chief said four suspects were killed during a gun battle with police and two were arrested.
  • The perpetrators have not yet been identified, but officials said some of them were speaking Spanish.
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Four people suspected in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse were killed by police in a gun battle, Haiti’s police chief said Wednesday night at a news conference. Two other suspects were arrested.

Léon Charles, the police chief, also said three officers were freed after being held as hostages.

“The police are engaged in a battle with the assailants,” he said, according to The New York Times. “We are pursuing them so that, in a gunfight, they meet their fate or in gunfight they die, or we apprehend them.”

Haiti’s Communications Secretary Frantz Exantus had said earlier in the day that police arrested the “presumed” assassins, but did not provide any additional details.

Moïse was killed at his home Wednesday at around 1 a.m. local time by a group of armed assailants. The first lady, Martine Moïse, was also injured by gunfire. Reports said their home was located in an upscale suburb of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Haitian Prime Minister Claude announced the attack in a statement hat said “a group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and thus fatally wounded the head of state.” The primary languages spoken in Haiti are Haitian Creole and French.

Claude told The Times he is now leading the country.

World leaders, including President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the attack and offered support to Haiti.

“We’re so sorry for the loss,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psakishe said. “We stand ready and stand by them to provide any assistance that’s needed.”

The assassination of Moïse was preceded by months of protests calling for his removal. He was unpopular in Haiti, where he served as president since February 2017. The next election was set for September.

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Video reportedly shows the aftermath of Haiti president’s assassination

A screengrab from a video showing the aftermath of the Haiti assassination
A video reportedly shows security responding after the president of Haiti was assassinated early Wednesday

  • Video from outside the home of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse reportedly shows the aftermath of his assassination.
  • A number of people can be seen with guns standing outside following the attack.
  • Moïse was assassinated early Wednesday morning at his home.
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Video from outside the home of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse reportedly shows a large security response following his assassination early Wednesday morning.

The video, first obtained by Journal la Diaspora and posted by the Miami Herald, shows a number of people with guns standing on a dark street after the attack.

The clip also appears to show someone lying in the middle of the street.

Moïse was killed at around 1 a.m. local time by a group of unknown assailants, Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a Wednesday statement.

The first lady, Martine Moïse, was also injured in the attack, the statement said.

Joseph has not publicly identified the assailants but said some of them spoke Spanish.

In another video obtained by the Miami Herald, a person can be heard shouting in English, “DEA operation” and “stand down.”

The Miami Herald reported that the assassins were mercenaries and that the US Drug Enforcement Agency was not involved, citing a high-ranking Haitian official.

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The president of Haiti was assassinated at home

Haiti president Jovenel Moise
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

  • Jovenel Moïse was killed by a group of assailants at his home early Wednesday morning.
  • The government did not identify the perpetrators, but said some of them were speaking Spanish.
  • The first lady was also injured by gunshot, the government said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The serving president of Haiti was assassinated at his home early Wednesday morning, the government said. He was 53.

Jovenel Moïse was killed in his private residence at around 1 a.m. local time Wednesday by a group of assailants, Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a Wednesday statement.

The first lady was also injured by gunshot, the statement said.

Joseph’s statement did not identify the assailants, but said some of them were Spanish-speaking. The main languages spoken in Haiti are Haitian Creole and French.

He also The New York Times he was now in charge of the country.

Previous reports located Moïse’s private home in Pétion-Ville, an upscale suburb of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

A 3D satellite image of Petion-Ville in Haiti.
A 3D satellite image of Pétion-Ville, the location of Moïse’s private home, in Haiti.

The Associated Press reported, citing Joseph, that the police had been deployed to the National Palace and Pétion-Ville.

ABC News reported that the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, near Port-au-Prince, was closed following the attack.

Moïse was deeply unpopular in his country

The attack on Moïse followed years of protests against his government, and calls for his resignation.

Moïse has served as Haiti’s president since February 2017 and the country was due to hold a general election in 2019, but they were postponed. The election is due to take place on September 2021.

Critics of Moïse said he was clinging on to power and argued that his term should have ended this February, AFP reported.

“He is doing everything, utilizing all kinds of maneuvers, to hold onto power and to ensure that he remains the only person governing in the country,” Gédéon Jean, a lawyer and human-rights activist in Port-au-Prince, told the Miami Herald in January.

In addition to the election, the people of Haiti were also due to vote in a referendum this September concerning reforms to the constitution that would give the executive leadership more power.

The move to reform the 1987 constitution, which was supported by Moïse, was extremely unpopular, and had been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his statement, Joseph described the attack as “odious, inhumane, and barbarous.” He also told The Times that the president had been “cowardly assassinated,” but that the perpetrators “cannot assassinate his ideas.”

Joseph plans to address the country later Wednesday, The Times said.

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