“Assassinations have no place in a democracy,” regional forum leader says
The Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretariat has issued a statement condemning the assassination of the Haitian president.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the criminal act that occurred this morning, the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. This attack is an affront against the entire community of democratic nations represented at the OAS. We deplore this attempt to undermine the institutional stability of the country with the utmost vehemence,” the statement read.
“We reject this reprehensible act. Disagreement and dissent are part of a vigorous and mature system of governance. Political assassinations have no place in a democracy. We call for an end to an irresponsible policy that risks undermining democratic gains and the future of the country. Our deepest regrets and solidarity to the Haitian people in this difficult moment.” 16 min ago
The official who would normally take over from the president recently died of Covid-19
In the wake of the Haitian president’s assassination, one of the big questions is who will succeed him. But the answer isn’t immediately clear, according to Jean Wilner Morin, the president of the national association of Haitian judges.
He told CNN that the line of presidential succession in the country was now murky because normally the president of the Supreme Court would normally be called upon to fill the void, but he recently died after contracting Covid-19. René Sylvestre’s funeral was due to have been held Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the service will proceed.
For the acting prime minister Claude Joseph to formally replace the president, he would have to be approved by Haiti’s parliament, said Morin. But without recent elections, the parliament is effectively defunct and “therefore constitutionally, he cannot replace the president of the republic.”
Morin said there is one other precedent dating back to 2015, when the president of the National Assembly stepped up to fill the leadership vacuum. But again, currently there is no official in that role either. However, with a third of the Senate still in place, Morin suggests that perhaps officials will look at whether Senate leader Joseph Lambert might be an option.
This post has been updated.17 min ago
Haiti’s international airport closed after assassination of president, ambassador says
Haiti’s international airport has been closed following the killing of President Jovenel Moise, the country’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic said Wednesday.
Without providing any further details, Smith Augustin told CNN in a WhatsApp message that the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, had been closed.31 min ago
Here’s what you need to know about the backdrop to Moise’s assassination
The assassination of President Jovenel Moise deepens a crisis that Haiti currently faces on a number of fronts. Here’s what you need to know.
- The attack comes amid a backdrop of political instability, with many key roles in the country’s government already empty and the parliament effectively defunct. The country’s opposition movement has long called for Moise to resign. Moise had just named a new prime minister, neurosurgeon Ariel Henry, on July 5. However, it is his predecessor — acting prime minister Claude Joseph — who has assumed control of the country in the wake of the president’s death.
- Criminal violence escalated in capital city Port-au-Prince in the month of June, including attacks on police and arson of civilian homes. More than 10,000 people have fled to temporary shelters. The country was also rocked by a wave of kidnappings earlier this year.
- Covid-19 is also on the rise in Haiti, with its highest death toll yet reported in June. Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne last month called on the international community to “urgently” assist the country in combating the virus.
- Haiti is heading toward elections and a controversial constitutional referendum this fall. The referendum had been championed by Moise as an opportunity to strengthen the Haitian presidency.