Wife of assassinated Haitian president taken to Florida for treatment

Haitian first lady Martine Moïse, whose husband, President Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated on Wednesday by a group of gunmen, was airlifted to South Florida Wednesday afternoon to receive treatment for gunshot wounds sustained during the attack at the couple’s home.

The Miami Herald reported that Martine Moïse, 47, landed in Miami in the afternoon, and was transported to Jackson Health System’s Ryder Trauma Center.

Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, said the first lady was in stable but critical condition, according to The Associated Press.

The ambulance carrying Martine Moïse reportedly arrived at the hospital with protection from Miami-Dade police officers, NBC Miami reported.

Haitian police later on Wednesday fatally shot four people who were suspected of assassinating the 53-year-old president, the AP reported.

Three police officers were reportedly held hostage by the suspected gunmen, but were eventually freed late Wednesday, the AP reported, citing the chief of Haiti’s National Police, Léon Charles.

Edmond earlier on Wednesday said the attack on the president at his private residence was carried out by assailants claiming to be part of an operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to the wire service. The agency reportedly has an office in the Haitian capital to help with the country’s counternarcotics program.

When asked about the reports that the perpetrators were part of the DEA, a senior Biden administration official said “Those reports are absolutely false. The United States condemns this heinous act.”

President Biden on Wednesday called the attack on Moïse a “heinous act,” and said the U.S. is prepared to help ensure security and safety for the country in the aftermath of the incident.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti,” Biden said in a statement. “We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse’s recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”

Claude Joseph, Haiti’s interim prime minister, called the assassination a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” according to the AP.

“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti … Democracy and the republic will win,” he added.

He called on the United Nations to hold a Security Council meeting in the wake of the assassination.

Martine and Jovenel Moïse were married in 1996, and were childhood sweethearts, according to the Miami Herald. The pair have three children.

Martine Moïse is an advocate for women and girls, the newspaper reported, citing the Spouses of Caricom Leaders Action Network.

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