Haiti will inaugurate a new prime minister on Tuesday as Ariel Henry takes the helm of the Caribbean country nearly two weeks after President Jovenel Moise was shot dead in a murder plot that likely extends far beyond its borders. Official memorial services for the slain Moses were due to begin on Tuesday as the impoverished nation grappling with lawlessness fueled by violent gangs eagerly awaits the findings of the assassination investigation.
Moise was killed on July 7 in the middle of the night in his private residence in Port-au-Prince by a group of more than 20 mercenaries, mostly Colombians. The leader’s own security chief, Haitian police officers and a Haitian-American couple were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the plot to assassinate the president. Moise’s murder shook an already fragile political system while focusing attention on weak security institutions beset by powerful gangs who control entire swathes of Haiti like feudal lords.
Elections have not been held in Haiti since 2016, but are currently scheduled for September. Henry, a 71-year-old neurosurgeon, was chosen by Moise to be the new prime minister days before his assassination. But he was not then officially sworn in for the post.
Claude Joseph, the former prime minister, clung to the post immediately after the assassination despite strong criticism from national political opponents who accused him of pursuing a reckless takeover. Joseph has returned to his old post as foreign minister, just as several other ministers are expected to keep their old portfolios for the time being.
Moise’s wife Marine Moise, who was also shot in the assassination, returned to Haiti this weekend after being treated for her injuries at a Miami hospital.
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