Haitian Police Claim Arrest of President’s Assassins

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Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is assassinated in Port-au-Prince, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffles his cabinet, and U.S. troops targeted in Iraq and Syria. 

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Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is assassinated in Port-au-Prince, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffles his cabinet, and U.S. troops targeted in Iraq and Syria. 

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign up here.


Haiti’s President Assassinated

Haitian police say they have killed four and arrested two of the suspected perpetrators of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was killed in his home on Wednesday in the capital Port-au-Prince by a group of unknown assailants. Haiti’s First Lady Martine Moïse survived the attack, albeit with multiple bullet wounds.

The murder has thrown an already failing state into further turmoil. The poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti has endured years of economic mismanagement, corruption, and a surge in gang violence that displaced more than 5,000 people in the first ten days of June alone.

Few details have emerged following the assassination. Videos taken by witnesses appear to show an English-speaking member of the hit team identifying the group as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents over a loudspeaker, while other witnesses said the assailants spoke Spanish (Creole and French are Haiti’s primary languages).

Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday the attack appeared to be carried out by “well-trained professional killers” who were speaking Spanish, and he urged U.S. assistance in investigating the assassination.

Edmond, who appeared shellshocked from the news of his president’s assassination earlier in the day, appealed for calm and a halt to violence in his country. “We have to come together, there is no way we can continue down this path,” he said. He then paused, and added: “This is something I would have never imagined I would have seen in my lifetime.”

In a statement, Rep. Andy Levin, the Democratic co-chair of the House Haiti caucus, said the assassination was “a devastating if not shocking example of the extent to which the security situation in Haiti has unraveled.” Levin criticized world powers for turning a blind eye to the sharp uptick in violence. “For months, violent actors have terrorized the Haitian people with impunity while the international community—the United States included, I fear—has failed to heed their cries to change course and support a Haitian-led democratic transition,” Levin said.

Power vacuum. Moïse’s death has caused a constitutional crisis brought on in part by the failure of Moïse’s administration to hold parliamentary elections in 2019, leaving the country without an elected legislature as the president had ruled by decree. Under Haiti’s constitution, a National Assembly is supposed to elect a provisional president in the event of the sitting president’s death—without a parliament, the question of who will ultimately lead Haiti is still up in the air.

Storms ahead. On top of Haiti’s other problems, the assassination comes at the outset of a hurricane season that could worsen the country’s humanitarian situation. “Eleven years after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake and eleven years after the international assistance that followed, Haiti continues in a downward spiral with potential regional reverberations,” said Jason Marczak, an expert on Latin America at the Atlantic Council. “Political instability requires engagement with all actors, both those with power and those in opposition, to avoid contributing to the worsening political polarization.”


What We’re Following Today

EU-China relations. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell holds virtual talks today with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, soon after Monday’s three-way talks via video conference between Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Beijing’s readout of the meeting said both European leaders supported a revival of the EU-China investment pact that EU lawmakers refused to ratify after China issued tit-or-tat sanctions against members of the European parliament in response to European sanctions on Chinese officials over the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Modi’s new cabinet. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out his first cabinet reshuffle since winning reelection in 2019 as he battles with public discontent over his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already led to shock losses in state elections. In the biggest revamp since he gained power in 2014, Modi dropped 12 out of 15 senior cabinet…



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