President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home around 1 a.m. on July 7 when a trained and heavily armed group broke inside. The identities of the assassins are not yet known, but rumours were circulating about possible links to drug trafficking though there is no concrete evidence indicating this is the case. Police say they have killed four of the assassins and arrested two others.
The first lady, Martine Moïse, was also shot but did not die. This was originally reported but has been debunked. She was airlifted to Miami, where she was hospitalized.
Jean-Rebel Dorcénat, coordinator of the disarmament force, was arrested as he attempted to flee to the Dominican Republic.
Haiti is under siege for 15 days. National borders, including airports, have been shut down and a state of martial law temporarily enacted.
JetBlue has suspended operations in Haiti as the airport has been closed indefinitely and is working with impacted customers. American Airlines was still evaluating the situation to decide what to do as of 2 p.m. ET. on July 7.
The line of succession for president is unclear, with interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph declaring he is in control. Joseph has condemned the assassination of Moïse, calling it an “inhumane and barbaric act.” He is urging people to remain calm, stating that measures have been taken to ensure the safety of Haiti.
It is not possible for the former Supreme Court president René Sylvestre to assume the role of president, as he died from COVID-19 on June 23. In order for Joseph to become president, the parliament would have to approve the measure. However, with the parliament defunct as a result of no elections being held recently, this is unlikely.
Because there are multiple constitutions, as well as efforts to propose referendums, the role that they will play in determining how to install the next leader remains unclear. Joseph announced that a new constitutional referendum, alongside presidential and legistlative elections, will be held in September.
Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of a 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @larisakarr.