On July 7, 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home and his wife Martine Moïse was injured. Moïse is still recovering, but in her first interview since that fateful morning, she announced a possible run for president herself.
Moïse told The New York Times about her possible run for president of Haiti, saying, "President Jovenel had a vision and we Haitians are not going to let that die," she says.
Moïse also said she survived the incident by playing dead, noting, “The only thing that I saw before they killed him were their boots. Then I closed my eyes, and I didn’t see anything else.”
Her husband was shot dead beside her.
On the early morning of July 7, a coterie of assassins broke into the couple’s estate and opened fire. A motive has not yet been revealed.
Moïse told the news outlet, "I would like people who did this to be caught, otherwise they will kill every single president who takes power…They did it once. They will do it again.”
An election for a new president of Haiti is expected to happen soon. According to Reuters, on July 28, Haiti's new Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been in office since last week, said at a brief news conference, "The mission of this government is to prepare the conditions to hold the elections as quickly as possible.”
Henry did not give a possible date but did say the goal is to stop "all irritants" that could hinder the country from having an election.
Before Moïse’s assassination, he wanted to change the constitution to give more power to the presidency over the parliament. Henry did not address the constitutional reform at the press conference, the report notes.
Haiti is known historically for successfully rebelling and ousting the slaveholding French by 1804, to begin as a new republic. But afterward it was economically choked by European and American powers -- both consistently accused of stifling the nation’s growth. The assassination of Moïse is the latest in decades, and perhaps generations, of instability in Haiti including the days of François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, and his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Moïse, 53, had been accused of autocracy and corruption by his critics, spurring massive demonstrations. He had been in power since February of 2017, but opposition to his regime claimed that his five-year term began in 2016 and was set to end in February of 2021. However, those results were negated by Haiti’s electoral council. Moïse has said because of that, he ran and won again and took office in 2017, which would make him set to step down next year.
A motive for the assination has not been revealed.