The Haitian president was assassinated last week. The investigation has only become more confusing. Here’s what we know right now
Last week, Haiti plunged into chaos overnight. The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the “state of siege” announced by acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph left the already-struggling country in a state of panic, reported NPR. The confusion has continued this week as the fragmented Haitian government continues to unravel the assassination plot, said The New York Times.
On July 7, President Moïse was assassinated in his home during a pre-dawn raid, reported the Deseret News. The New York Times described the assassination, saying that “a team of perhaps two dozen heavily armed mercenaries recruited from abroad who rolled up to the president’s heavily guarded home in multiple vehicles, gained entry after little resistance and opened fire.”
Haitian security forces immediately launched a search for the assassins, per The Associated Press. One week after the assassination, the search has become a multinational investigation that involves a group of Colombian veteran soldiers, a retired Haitian-American doctor living in Florida, and continued confusion, reported Open Democracy.
Following the assassination, acting Prime Minister Joseph announced a 16-day “state of siege,” implemented martial law and closed borders, said NPR. Last week, Joseph said via the AP, “everything is under control.”
This has not seemed to be the case.
According to the current official narrative, the assassination plot was led by Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a 63-year-old Haitian retired doctor and pastor who splits his time between Florida and Haiti, reported The New York Times.
The accusations against Sanon have been met with confusion and bafflement because very few people had heard of Sanon until now, reported Open Democracy. Sanon was not a prominent or emerging political figure in Haiti.
Haitian police have also arrested 18 other men in connection with the assassination plot, reported The New York Times. Those arrested include a number of Colombian military veterans, a few Haitian nationals and two U.S. citizens.
Haiti is currently in a massive political power struggle with three prominent politicians who have claimed to lead the country, per Open Democracy. Haiti has no clear head of state and no functioning legislature.
Immediately after the assassination, Joseph assumed leadership with the support of the police and military, reported NPR. However, the official line of succession is unclear.
To further complicate the situation, Joseph may not be the actual prime minister, according to the AP. The day before the assassination, Moïse named Ariel Henry as prime minister.
Now, Senate President Joseph Lambert has also claimed the right to lead Haiti, reported The New York Times.
Robert Fatton, an expert on Haitian politics at the University of Virginia, said that, “whether Claude Joseph manages to stay in power is a huge question. It will be very difficult to do so if he doesn’t create a government of national unity,” the AP reported.
The Haitian ambassador to the U.S., Bocchit Edmond, told CNN that Haiti has formally appealed to the U.S. and the U.N. for assistance.
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