A Caribbean county has been thrown into turmoil after its president was assassinated on July 7.
The killers remain free as the country deals with a power vacuum as the successor died recently due to COVID-19 complications.
President Jovenel Moise was shot and killed around 1 a.m., according to a statement from the government of Haiti.
The attack occurred outside the Presidential residence. The government described the attack as well-coordinated by a heavily trained and heavily armed group. Moise’s wife was also injured in the assault.
“We will ensure that those responsible for this heinous act are swiftly brought to justice,” a statement from the government read.
The statement described Moise as a “beacon” of democracy who worked to reform the country’s constitution. He wanted to distance himself from polarized politics and to help change the country.
“President Moise died in defense of democracy, and we have a duty to ensure his legacy is honored,” the statement reads.
Haiti has been in turmoil as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic difficulties. The country’s turmoil will only be exasperated with Moise’s death. Typically, the head of the National Association of Haitian judges would take over.
But, that person died from COVID-19 and his funeral was set for July 8, according to CNN.
The acting prime minister was replaced with a new nominee last week. The acting prime minister could assume the presidential power, which he has done in the wake of the assassination. But CNN notes that parliament would have to approve his elevation. Haiti’s parliament is non-existent without recent elections.
In 2015, the president of the National Assembly assumed the presidential role. But, again, that position is currently vacant, according to CNN.
Several world leaders have taken to social media to speak out about the killing of Moise.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of the Republic of Haiti. The perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice,” United Nationals Secretary-General Antonio Guterres posted on social media. “The United Nations will continue to stand with the Government and the people of Haiti.”
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) also posted on social media about the assassination.
“Congress joins President Biden, Americans & the people of Haiti in horror over the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse & attack on First Lady Martine Moïse,” she wrote. “We condemn this barbaric act & we stand ready to provide support & assistance to Haiti during this challenging time.”