South Florida Political Leaders Ask U.S. To Help Haiti In Wake Of Presidential Assassination

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There is shock, sadness, and condemnation among leaders around the world and in South Florida following the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse.

Haiti’s interim prime minister says Moïse was killed in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday.

READ MORE: ‘Give Us A Hand’: Spiritual Leader Of Miami’s Haitian-American Community Believes U.S. Needs To Help Haiti Following Presidential Assassination

First lady Martine Moïse is hospitalized after she was shot in the attack. It is not yet clear who was behind the assassination in the troubled Caribbean nation.

President Joe Biden condemned what he called a “heinous act.”

His full statement reads, “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.  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.”

There are calls for calm and unity in Haiti.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging all Haitians “to preserve the constitutional order, remain united in the face of this abhorrent act and reject all violence.”

Here in South Florida, home to about 228,000 Haitian-Americans, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava said the county supports the Haitian people.

“My prayers are with the people of Haiti as they wake up to the deeply troubling news that the President was assassinated. The island was already facing grave challenges and instability, which are only deepened by this development. South Florida is home to a vibrant and thriving Haitian community and we stand with them during this difficult time, as we pray for peace for the Haitian people.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio called the assassination an “evil attack.”

“Jeanette and I are praying for the people of Haiti and First Lady Martine Moïse. I urge President Biden to direct the Department of State to support the Haitian National police and help bring the murderers to justice. We cannot allow this cowardly, evil attack to bring even more hardship to the people of Haiti and further destabilize their country.”

READ MORE: Official: Haiti President Jovenel Moïse Assassinated At Home

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, who represents more Haitian-Americans in her district than any other in the U.S., recommended that the interim Haitian government ask President Biden for help with security.

“I was shocked by the news about the assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse and to learn that his wife, Martine, also was shot during the attack. My thoughts are with the people of Haiti and I pray that this will not lead to more havoc in an already extremely troubled nation. I will continue to do all that I can to fight for the Haitian communities in my district and across the U.S. and work with President Biden to support the Haitian people during this crisis and help secure their nation. In addition, I encourage the acting prime minister to reach out to President Biden for additional U.S. security assistance to ensure its citizens’ safety during this international crisis. I also urge the Haitian people to remain calm and come together to save their nation.”

Florida Sen. Senator Shevrin Jones wants help from the “international community.”

“This morning’s news out of Haiti of the President’s assassination is horrifying, and I pray for the people of Haiti during this time of crisis. The dangerous civil unrest, violence, human rights abuses, and extreme poverty in Haiti have only compounded since the devastating 2010 earthquake, leaving lives disrupted and people unsafe. It is my hope that the international community will step in to protect Haitian citizens and stabilize the unsustainable, tumultuous situation on the ground.”

A peaceful transition is essential, said U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez.

“I call on the Haitian people and the international community to ensure the country’s stability so that democratic elections can be held in Haiti as prescribed by the Constitution. Democracy must prevail.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz released the following statement in response to the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

“I am extremely shocked and saddened to learn about the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti. This is a horrific incident that must be condemned in the strongest terms, as well as investigated to the full extent possible. Furthermore, our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors in the Haitian community, not just in Florida but throughout the world, who suffer the direct impacts of the situation in Haiti, during this deeply upsetting moment of turmoil. They can count on our full support. We are also hoping for the First Lady’s speedy recovery and are keeping her and the Haitian people in our prayers.” 

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, who is the first Haitian-American to serve as a Miami-Dade commissioner, is calling for peace and solidarity.

“The country of Haiti is once again hit by violence, as we woke up to the news of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. It is our prayer that the Haitian people continue to seek peace and solidarity. At this very difficult juncture, we ask everyone to continue to pray for our Haitian constituency and their loved ones in Haiti.”

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