First lady Martine Moïse returns to Haiti after president assassinated
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Martine Moïse, the wife of Haiti’s assassinated president who was injured in the July 7 attack at their private home, returned to the Caribbean nation on Saturday following her release from a Miami hospital.
Her arrival was unannounced and surprised many in the country of more than 11 million people still reeling from the killing of Jovenel Moïse in a raid authorities say involved Haitians, Haitian-Americans and former Colombian soldiers.
Martine Moïse disembarked the flight at the Port-au-Prince airport wearing a black dress, a black bulletproof jacket, a black face mask, and her right arm in a black sling as she slowly walked down the steps of what appeared to be a private plan one by one. She was greeted by Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and other officials.
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Earlier this week, she tweeted from the Miami hospital that she could not believe her husband, Jovenel Moïse, was gone "without saying a last word," she wrote. "This pain will never pass."
On Friday, government officials had announced that Jovenel Moïse’s funeral would be held on July 23 in the northern Haitian city of Cap-Haitien and that his wife is expected to attend.
She arrived hours after a key group of international diplomats on Saturday appeared to snub the man currently running Haiti by urging another politician, the designated prime minister, to form a government following Moïse’s killing.
Joseph has been leading Haiti with the backing of police and the military despite the fact that Moïse had announced his replacement a day before the president was killed.
Joseph and his allies argue that the designated successor, Ariel Henry, was never sworn in, though he pledged to work with him and with Joseph Lambert, the head of Haiti’s inactive Senate.
The statement was issued by the Core Group, which is composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
The group called for the creation of "a consensual and inclusive government."
"To this end, it strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government," the group said.
U.S. officials could not be immediately reached for comment. A U.N. spokesman declined comment except to say that the U.N. is part of the group that issued the statement. Meanwhile, an OAS spokesman only said the following: "For the moment, there is nothing further to say other than what the statement says."
Henry and spokespeople for Joseph did not immediately return messages for comment.
The group also asked that "all political, economic and civil society actors in the country fully support authorities in their efforts to restore security."
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Robert Fatton, a Haitian politics expert at the University of Virginia, said the statement is very confusing especially after the U.N. representative had said that Joseph was in charge.
"More confusion in a very confusing and bewildering situation," he said.
The question of who should take over has been complicated by the fact Haiti’s parliament has not been functioning because a lack of elections meant most members’ terms had expired. And the head of the Supreme Court recently died of Covid-19.
A day after the assassination, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that Joseph was the incumbent in the position and was serving as acting prime minister before the assassination: "We continue to work with Claude Joseph as such," he said.
On July 11, a delegation of representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and National Security Council traveled to Haiti. They reviewed critical infrastructure, talked with Haitian National Police and met with Joseph, Henry and Lambert in a joint meeting.