The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, has been assassinated in an attack on his home in the nation’s capital. The country’s interim Premier Claude Joseph announced the news in a statement on local radio this morning.
Claude Joseph stated the 53-year-old had been killed at his home in Port-au-Prince by an “armed commando group” which reportedly included Spanish-speaking individuals, describing it as a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act”.
The attack is said to have taken place at 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT) in the midst of a nation struggling with increasing political and economic instability. In June, gangs raided multiple police stations in Port-au-Prince as violence forced thousands to become displaced. Attackers also raided six police stations and killed three officers before burning their bodies, according to local reports. Pressure had mounted on the president after a tense dispute with the opposition over whether his presidential term had expired.
Last month, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti, Helen La Lime, warned of the “ever-growing polarization of Haitian politics”. In a statement, La Lime said: “in spite of several Haitian-led mediation efforts, the deep-rooted political crisis which has gripped the country for the better part of the last four years shows no sign of abating.”
Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America, with the richest 1% of Haitians possessing the same wealth as the bottom 45% of the income distribution. The First Lady, Martine Moïse, was also shot in the attack and is receiving treatment in hospital.