Mourning Haitians Console Martine Moïse, Widow of the Slain President
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Four days after surprising Haitians by returning to her country in a sling and bulletproof vest, the widow of the murdered Haitian president appeared before her fellow citizens on Wednesday at a memorial to her husband.
Martine Moïse, who was injured in the July 7 attack on her home that claimed the life of her husband, was evacuated to a Miami hospital, where she was operated on as her country was in shock. the loss of its president, Jovenel Moïse.
Since then, apart from a few statements on social media, Ms. Moïse had stayed away from the spotlight. But on Wednesday that changed.
The former first lady arrived at the end of the afternoon at her husband’s memorial at the Haitian National Pantheon Museum, still wearing a splint on one arm and accompanied by her three children and her three bodyguards, their weapons of well exposed assault. Mrs. Moses was dressed in black and wore beads, and Pachelbel’s Canon could be heard in the background.
As she stood with her children, Ms. Moïse received condolences from eminent Haitians, including the newly installed Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, Helen La Lime, the top United Nations official in Haiti, and Michel Martelly, the former president of Haiti who chose the little known Mr. Moïse to be his successor.
The first part of the event was closed to the public and the press, but it took place on the day of the final exams for the high school students, and the sound of their celebratory cheers pierced the walls of the Pantheon property from the near the Champ de Mars, the main square of the city, mingling with music.
After spending about an hour inside the Pantheon, Mrs. Moïse emerged to attend a small service in the gardens. There, addressing the crowd, Frantz Exantus, Haiti’s Secretary of State for Communications, recalled the glories of the past, when Haitians rose up and overturned a notoriously brutal slavery system.
“How did Haiti get there today? Mr. Exantus lamented.
Amidst prayer, poetry and song, Ms. Moses faced the crowd from an antique gold painted chair, holding her injured arm. When service required her to stand, she did so with noticeable pain.
At nightfall, the ceremony was drawing to a close and Mme Moïse left, her face drenched in tears.
Ms. Moïse left it to others to make public statements on Wednesday. But as discreet as she has remained since the assassination, she has sometimes shared some of her feelings with her Haitian compatriots. A message, both sad and politically sharp, arrived while she was still in a Miami hospital.
The assassination of the Haitian president
“Twenty-five years together,” she said in an audio recording posted to her verified Twitter account. “In one night, the mercenaries snatched him from me. The tears will never dry up in my eyes. My heart will always bleed.
As Haitian politicians vied for power, Ms. Moïse accused her husband’s killers of wanting to “assassinate the president’s dream, vision and ideas for the country”.
“I am crying, it’s true,” she said, “but we cannot let the country go astray.
On Tuesday, Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, was installed as the country’s interim prime minister, ending – temporarily at least – an open battle over who would replace Mr Moïse to lead the fragile country.
Mr. Moïse’s funeral is scheduled for Friday in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. In a post on her Twitter account, Ms. Moïse said the family wanted to pay for the ceremony themselves and did not want to withdraw from Haiti’s public treasury.
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