*Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated late Tuesday after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday. First Lady Martine Moïse is hospitalized following the attack on the 53-year-old leader.
Interim Premier Claude Joseph condemned what he called a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” adding in the statement that Haiti’s National Police and other authorities had the situation in the Caribbean country under control.
Moïse had been ruling Haiti by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections, which led to Parliament being dissolved. He took office in early 2017, following a chaotic election that forced the appointment of a provisional president to serve during a year-long gap. Haiti is scheduled to hold general elections later this year.
Opposition leaders have been demanding in recent months that he step down. They accuse him of seeking to expand his power, after he approved a decree that limited the powers of a court that audits government contracts, and another that created an intelligence agency that answers only to the president.
According to USA Today: “The nation of more than 11 million people had grown increasingly unstable and disgruntled under Moïse’s rule. Its economic, political and social woes have deepened, with gang violence spiking heavily in the capital of Port-au-Prince, inflation spiraling and food and fuel becoming scarcer at times in a country where 60% of the population makes less than $2 a day. These troubles come as Haiti still tries to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew that struck in 2016.”