International

Martine Moïse, Widow of Haiti President, Speaks After Husband’s Assassination

Written by Marisol

An audio recording said to be of Martine Moïse, the widow of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, has urged people to carry on his “battle” in a country long plagued by gang violence and now plunged into a deep institutional crisis.

But some Haitians were questioning the authenticity of the recording, which comes amid a fierce battle for control of the country after Mr. Moïse was assassinated last week.

In the recording, which was posted to Ms. Moïse’s verified Twitter account on Saturday, a woman speaking in Creole says, “I am alive thanks to God, but I lost my husband Jovenel Moïse.”

Ms. Moïse was also shot in last week’s attack at the couple’s residence and was taken to a hospital in Miami for treatment. The Haitian authorities have said that she is out of danger and in stable condition.

In the recording, the voice says, “In the blink of an eye, the mercenaries entered my house and riddled my husband with bullets.”

The New York Times could not immediately confirm that the woman speaking in the message was Ms. Moïse, but the Haitian minister of culture and communications, Pradel Henriquez, told Agence France-Presse that it was.

However, a Haitian former culture minister, Lilas Desquiron, said that she doubted the authenticity of the message because she did not recognize Ms. Moïse’s voice.

The authorities in Haiti have arrested at least 20 suspects in the killing of Mr. Moïse. Eighteen have been identified as Colombians, and two as Haitian Americans.

Carl Henry Destin, a Haitian justice of the peace, said that he had found the body of the president lying on the floor at the foot of his bed, “bathed in blood,” with 12 bullet holes. Two of the presidential couple’s three children were present during the attack and hid together in a bathroom, Mr. Destin added.

The woman in the recording says, “I’m crying, it’s true, but we can’t let the country go astray,” and she denounces mercenaries “who want to assassinate the president’s dream, vision and ideas for the country.”

She does not say who could have sponsored the attack but suggests that those behind the killing “do not want to see a transition in the country.”

In his final year in office, Mr. Moïse faced growing protests, with much of Haiti’s political opposition and civil society believing that his term should have ended in February. But Mr. Moïse refused to resign and clung to power, governing by decree as Parliament ceased to function and the country sank deeper into gang violence.



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