By Frances Robles for The New York Times / The original text appears here
Struck by gunfire, Martine Moïse lay bleeding as the assassins who killed her husband ransacked her room. Now, she says, the F.B.I. must find the mastermind behind the attack.
MIAMI — With her elbow shattered by gunfire and her mouth full of blood, the first lady of Haiti lay on the floor beside her bed, unable to breathe, as the assassins stormed the room.
“The only thing that I saw before they killed him were their boots,” Martine Moïse said of the moment her husband, President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, was shot dead beside her. “Then I closed my eyes, and I didn’t see anything else.”
She listened as they ransacked the room, searching methodically for something in her husband’s files, she said. “‘That’s not it. That’s not it,’” she recalled them saying in Spanish, over and over. Then finally: “‘That’s it.’”
The killers filed out. One stepped on her feet. Another waved a flashlight in her eyes, apparently to check to see if she was still alive.
“When they left, they thought I was dead,” she said.
In her first interview since the president’s assassination on July 7, Mrs. Moïse, 47, described the searing pain of witnessing her husband, a man with whom she had shared 25 years, being killed in front of her. She did not want to relive the deafening gunfire, the walls and windows trembling, the terrifying certainty that her children would be killed, the horror of seeing her husband’s body, or how she fought to stand up after the killers left. “All that blood,” she said softly.
But she needed to speak, she said, because she did not believe that the investigation into his death had answered the central question tormenting her and countless Haitians: Who ordered and paid for the assassination of her husband?
The Haitian police have detained a wide array of people in connection with the killing, including 18 Colombians and several Haitians and Haitian Americans, and they are still seeking others. The suspects include retired Colombian commandos, a former judge, a security equipment salesman, a mortgage and insurance broker in Florida, and two commanders of the president’s security team.
According to the Haitian police, the elaborate plot revolves around a 63-year-old doctor and pastor, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, who officials say conspired to hire the Colombian mercenaries to kill the president and seize political power. Continue reading