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Haitian Pastor Says ‘No One Is Exempt From the Violence’ Following President Moïse’s Assassination

President Jovenel Moïse

Haitian Dieufort Fleurissaint, who pastors a church in Boston, spoke out after Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home around 1 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Boston has one of the largest Haitian populations within all of the United States.

The Associated Press reported that Fleurissaint said, “To kill and assassinate a president in his home just shows the level of insecurity in the country and how no one is exempt from the violence. It’s unacceptable.” The Haitian pastor, 59, has lived in the United States since he was 18. He said he called family and friends in Haiti to make sure no one leaves their home for the time being for fear of more “reprisals and unrest” following President Moïse’s assassination. Fleurissaint also heads a Haitian advocacy group.

In a weekly prayer meeting he holds with pastors in Haiti, Fleurissaint said Wednesday’s call focused on the events that have taken place. Fellow pastors in Haiti are “afraid for their lives,” he said.

The Caribbean nation of approximately 11 million people designates more than 60% of its population as living in poverty. In 2020, the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory advised travelers not to travel to Haiti because of crime, civil unrest, and kidnappings. “The situation is dire. We’re praying for peace in Haiti,” Fleurissaint said.

President Jovenel Moïse Assassination

President Jovenel Moïse’s home was invaded by “well-trained professional commandos” in the early hours of Wednesday morning, resulting in his death and the critical wounding of his wife Martine. She is expected to make a full recovery.

President Moïse, whose security is a specialized unit of the Haitian National Police, was lethally shot twelve times in the planned attack. It was reported that his daughter Jomarlie hid in her brother’s bedroom while the assassins tore through the house looking for her father. Her brother was found tied up alongside a maid, while the couple’s other child was not reported to have been in the home at the time of the attack.

Four of the unidentified assailants were killed by Haitian National Police and six were arrested. One of the men is believed to be a U.S. citizen.

In November 2016, Moïse was declared the winner of Haiti’s presidential election in a controversial win. Since then, his presidency has been plagued with accusations of corruption and ongoing civil unrest, all of which was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Claude Joseph has become acting President for the time being.