Haiti Bids Slain President Farewell Under Tight Security

Post created on 12:05 pm

A man cries during the wake of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise at Notre Dame Cathedral in Cap-Haitien, Haiti July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo


Mourners were set to offer their final farewell to Haiti’s slain president Jovenel Moise under tight security on Friday, just over two weeks after his assassination rattled a country mired in poverty, corruption, and political instability.

Moise, who was 53 when he was shot dead in his home in the early hours of July 7, is set to be interred in Cap-Haïtien, the main city in his native northern region.

According to the official program, the funeral is due to begin in the morning and last for several hours, with large screens set up for mourners to follow the event.

Moise’s widow is expected to be joined at the event by the late president’s relatives, cabinet members, and current and former senior government officials, as well as religious figures and representatives of trade unions and civil society groups.

Cap-Haitien was calm Thursday, but a day earlier clashes broke out when police chief Leon Charles visited. He was booed and heckled while inspecting security arrangements for the funeral.

Local residents blame the police chief for not protecting Moise, whose wife Martine was seriously wounded in the gun attack seemingly carried out by a group of mainly Colombian retired soldiers – with no injuries to the presidential guard.

So far, more than 20 people have been arrested, most of them Colombians, and police say the plot was organized by Haitians with political ambitions and links outside the country.

But the case remains murky, with many unanswered questions.

Haitians have expressed shock that those tasked with protecting the president and his home failed him so abjectly. The impoverished Caribbean nation is riddled with crime and powerful gangs – problems that were exacerbated during Moise’s presidency.

His death has rekindled long-standing tensions between the north of Haiti and the west, which in part stems from historic racial divisions dating back to French colonialism between northern blacks who are descendants of slaves and lighter-skinned Haitians of mixed race living in the south and west.

Some residents have even set up barricades on roads leading to Cap-Haitien to keep people from the capital Port-au-Prince from attending the funeral.

“We are going to do everything we can to honor him the way he deserves, in line with his importance for our city,” said Cap-Haitien Mayor Yvrose Pierre.



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