Haiti's President's wife among dozens indicted in assassination of President Jovenel Moise

 February 21, 2024

On Monday, 122 pages of indictments were issued by Haitian Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire against dozens of individuals allegedly implicated in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

The judge accused one of the indictments, Moise's widow, Martine, of conspiring with former prime minister Claude Joseph to assassinate the president, as Breitbart News reported.

On July 7, 2021, a squad of gunmen murdered Jovenel Moise in his residence; four of the assailants were subsequently killed in a gun battle with police. During the assault, Martine Moise, who was at home, was shot in the arm and thigh.

From the First Lady

“I still don’t believe that my husband has gone like this before my eyes without saying a last word to me. This pain will never pass,” she said from her hospital bed in Miami a few days after the assassination.

“You have to be a notorious criminal without guts to assassinate a president like Jovenel Moïse with impunity without giving him the chance to speak.

"You knew who the president was fighting against,” she said to the killers in an audio statement released from the hospital.

Other Arrests

In relation to the assassination of President Moise, dozens of individuals were apprehended. Haitian authorities claimed the killers met in Florida and the Dominican Republic to plot the murder.

A Miami-area security agency owner was among four individuals apprehended in February 2023 by U.S. federal authorities in South Florida on charges related to the Moise murder conspiracy.

“While the murder of President Moïse occurred in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, most of the planning, funding and direction of the plot to violently overthrow the president occurred right here in the United States in the Southern District of Florida, beginning in early 2021,” U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe said when the arrests were announced.

At the beginning of February, a Miami court sentenced 58-year-old Haitian American dual citizen Joseph Vincent to life in prison for his role in advising the conspirators, connecting them with local community leaders, and using rallies against Moise's government to hide their plot to topple him.

Case Details

Court records from the Vincent case indicate that the goal was shifted from abduction to assassination after the initial plan to abduct Moise was aborted. Vincent joined three other defendants—a former Haitian senator, a Haitian businessman with dual Chilean citizenship, and a retired Colombian army officer—in receiving life sentences for their roles in the scheme.

The assassination of Moise was probably motivated by "money and power," according to Lapointe. Haiti fell into a nightmare of gang warfare, which has persisted to this day, leading to poverty and anarchy.

Since Moise's death, the entire inquiry, including its Haitian component, has been chaotic. Since 2021, the inquiry has been overseen by Walther Wesser Voltaire, the fifth judge to do so. Threats to his life or family caused the resignation of multiple of his predecessors.

Several individuals, including former National Police commander Leon Charles, former Prime Minister Claude Joseph, and Martine Moise, have been indicted by Voltaire, which is "expected to further destabilize Haiti," according to the Associated Press (AP).

Other Political Threats

Not only has the current prime minister, Ariel Henry, been the target of terrible levels of murder and looting by gangs that dominate most of Port-au-Prince, but Haiti has also seen a string of violent and destructive mass rallies.

Henry is seen by many Haitians as an illegitimate leader who is willing to go to any lengths to maintain his position. Numerous Haitians would see foreign peacekeepers as Henry's proxies, which is why the UN and its member nations are hesitant to deploy the troops there.

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