Martine Moise, wife of assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moise, was seriously wounded in the attack at their home, Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said Wednesday. The couple had three adult children together.
Joseph said in his statement that Martine Moise was injured and hospitalized. The first lady, whose full name is Martine Marie Etienne Moise, was born in Port-au-Prince and studied at at the college of Roger Anglade in 1993, according to Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN). She earned a degree in Interpretation Studies at Quisqueya University in 1997, her SCLAN bio said. Martine Moise is 47.
The bio said “she has remained a strong support for her husband and a sure advocate for the children.”
Martine Moise survived the attack and is in “critical but stable condition,” according to Reuters.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph released few details about the killing, and did not say who carried out the assassination. He called the assassination “a hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Martine Moise Is a Well-Known Businesswoman Recognized for Her Work Advocating for Women & Children
Martine Moise was recognized as a donor for Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN). The network was launched by First Ladies and Spouses of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) “to tackle issues related to the health and well being of women, adolescents and children in the Caribbean,” its website says. Her donor bio describes her as an advocate for women and children.
“Martine’s main concern is the wellbeing of children. She really cares about her mission to work for their respect and their rights,” her bio says.
Among her efforts was “KONTEM MWEN KONTE” or “Register me. I am important,” an initiative which made birth certificate registration available at multiple maternity centers throughout Haiti, the bio said.
SCLAN also recognized her for her work advocating for women and girls with her message “Vyolans sou fanm, fòk nou pale,” or “Violence against women, we will not keep quiet,” the bio said.
“Martine Moïse has reiterated her promise to work for the wellbeing of those who are most vulnerable. Her other priorities are gender equality, early pregnancy, human trafficking, and the transmission of HIV from mother to child during breast-feeding,” the bio said.
She also worked with the Global Fund in Haiti – CCM for the treatment and eradication of HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. She launched an effort to eradicate malaria. She also led an effort, “Vilaj Kado,” a series of cartoons to educate people about political issues.
2. Martine Moise & Jovenel Moise Were Childhood Sweethearts & Have Three Children Together
Martine Marie Etienne and Jovenel Moise were classmates and childhood sweethearts, according to The Focus. They were married in 1996, the news outlet reported. They have three children together, Jomarlie, Joverlein and Jovenel Jr., the article said.
First Lady Moise survived the attack, and plans were underway to transport her to Miami, Florida for further treatment, Ambassador Bocchit Edmond told Reuters reporters and others in a virtual press conference.
“She’s stable but in critical condition,” Bocchit said. “Efforts are being done now to take her to Miami to be treated,” he said.
3. Joseph Said ‘the Dark Forces Will Lose’ in His Statement About the President’s Death & First Lady’s Injuries
Joseph vowed to hold those who carried out the attack accountable in his statement confirming the death of Jovenel Moise and the injuries of First Lady Martine Moise.
“In line with article 149 of the Constitution, I have just chaired an extraordinary council of ministers and we have decided to declare a state of siege throughout the country,” Joseph said.
“They shot and killed the president and injured his wife,” Joseph continued, and said the assassins “would not go unpunished.”
He said at the time that Martine Moise was in the hospital and seriously injured.
“It is democracy and the Republic which must win. The dark forces will lose,” Joseph said.
4. Joseph Said the Assassination Was Carried Out by Heavily Armed Men Speaking Spanish
Joseph released few details about the assassination in his announcement in the hours after the killing. He said the gunmen were heavily armed and spoke Spanish.
Joseph said police and the military were in charge of security in the country. The AP described Haiti as “the poorest country in the Americas where a history of dictatorship and political upheaval have long stymied the consolidation of democratic rule.”
Africa Insider reported the assassination came following two years of protests and cries for Moise to step down from his position of power. The news outlet reported Haiti was “already in a precarious political situation before the assassination, having grown increasingly unstable and disgruntled under President Moise.”
“Haiti’s economic, political and social woes have deepened recently with gun violence spiking heavily in the capital city,” Africa Insider reported, adding residents have faced food scarcity and more than half the population makes less than $2 per day.
5. ‘I Thought There Was an Earthquake, There Was So Much Shooting,’ Said a Woman Who Lives Near the President & First Lady
A woman who lived near the president and first lady’s home described the attack to the Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity because she fears for her life.
“I thought there was an earthquake, there was so much shooting,” the woman told the AP. “The president had problems with many people, but this is not how we expected him to die. This is something I wouldn’t wish on any Haitian.”
Jonathan Katz, who previously covered Haiti for The Associated Press and wrote a book about the 2010 earthquake, analyzed the situation in an interview with the AP.
“At this hour, we don’t know who did this, what their end game is, what else they have planned,” he said to the AP. “There were a lot of people who wanted him gone. And there were a lot of people whom he wanted gone.”
Katz told the AP that the majority of Haitian presidents have been forced out of office, but it has been more than 100 years since a sitting Haitian president was killed.
“It seems to be a pretty well-financed operation,” he told the AP, and added officials could spend days piecing together the incident. “That’s the question: Who’s behind it and what do they want?”