MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A moment of silence for Haiti was held Thursday at the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting, a day after the country’s president was assassinated in his own home.
Commissioner Jean Monestime asked for prayers in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
“In the midst of this heartbreaking situation, it is not time to turn our back on the long suffering of the Haitian people, as a community and as a country,” Monestime said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, held a news conference Thursday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami and called on the Biden administration to provide security to keep Haiti safe.
She said the government of Haiti would have to formally ask for assistance from the U.S., and urged the country’s interim prime minister to do so.
“News of President Moïse’s assassination and the shooting of his wife, Martine, has shocked the world. Now more than ever we must do everything in our power to support Haiti and its citizens who were already facing several crises on critical fronts,” Wilson said. “I am fully committed to working with the Biden administration to provide Haiti with the resources necessary to keep the nation safe and secure as this crisis unfolds.”
Wilson said she believes the Biden administration should appoint a special envoy to Haiti as soon as possible to help facilitate additional diplomatic resources there.
She said she called for that position to be created even before the assassination due to the political and economic instability.
Wilson stressed that she is not urging the U.S. to take over to Haiti, but to step up to help keep the country’s citizens safe.
Haiti’s First Lady Martine Moïse arrived at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport via Trinity Air Ambulance Wednesday. She has been shot multiple times in the early morning attack.
Video shows her arriving to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, surrounded by police.
Two arrests have been made and four suspects were killed after an exchange of gunfire with police Wednesday evening near Port-Au-Prince.
Shell casings were left on the ground and bullet holes were seen on the walls after the president was ambushed inside his private residence.
The interim prime minister declared Haiti in a state of siege, meaning borders are closed and martial law is temporarily in place.
Haitian news outlets reported that a group of people, some of whom spoke in Spanish and English, stormed the president’s home around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
In a statement, Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said the president’s assassination was a “highly coordinated attack by a highly trained and heavily armed group.”
He vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
Later in the day Wednesday, Haiti’s police chief said four of the suspected assailants had been shot and killed by police and two others were arrested.
No additional details were provided about the suspects.
In South Florida, where there is a large Haitian population, the news is affecting many.
Community leaders say they worry the brutal killing of Moïse, who had been ruling by decree for more than a year after the country failed to hold elections, and the shooting of his wife will push Haiti into further instability.
The presidential and legislative elections in Haiti are scheduled to be held this year on Sept. 26. A constitutional referendum will also be held on that date. It had been postponed twice, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic.