By: M. Goncalves
On July 7th, 2021, Jovenel Moïse, Haiti’s president was assassinated in the middle of the night while in his residence. The killing occurred at around 1:00 am in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Moïse, who had been president since February 7th, 2017, passed away on the scene of the crime, while his wife, who was also shot, tended to immediate medical care. Martine Marie Etienne Joseph, Moïse’s wife, survived after getting treatment for her wounded arm in the United States. The late president’s funeral took place in the city of Cap-Haitien, 16 days after his passing. The killing appears to have been conducted by a group of 26 Colombians and 2 Haitian Americans, who were allegedly hired by Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian doctor who desired to be Haiti’s president.
Haiti is a small country in the Caribbean that ranks 143rd globally in GDP per capita (growth domestic product per person) and has always struggled economically, with mass poverty spread all throughout the country. At the time Moïse became president, Haiti was still recovering from the devastating earthquake in 2010 that resulted in over 200,000 deaths. Haiti is widely seen as the poorest country of the western hemisphere and, as soon as he became president, allegations rose of Moïse being involved in an embezzlement of over 2 billion USD. Having a sudden change in presidency certainly only made worsened the country's situation, as the aftermath of a presidential assassination is not an easy task to handle. Experienced politician and neurosurgeon, Ariel Henry, filled Moïse’s position following the unexpected vacancy that needed to be filled in Haiti’s government.
As mentioned before, Haiti has always had a subpar economy, which often leads to an increase in crime. High street violence numbers have only escalated following Moïse’s killing, leaving citizens' safety in utter shambles. Furthermore, Haiti is dealing with severe political instability as, prior to Moïse’s killing, the head of the supreme court passed away in June due to COVID-19 complications. Aside from that, on August 14th, 2021, Haiti suffered an earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale and killed over 2,200 people, further damaging their already fragile economy. Haiti is in a tough situation, and they desperately need to assert some stability and security to get themselves out of the hole that they are in now. They have always had a good exporting relationship with the US and China, if they were to invest more in that, it might get them a step closer to solid ground.