Haitian first lady Martine Moise arrived in Florida on Wednesday evening to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds after her husband, Haitian President Jovenel Moise, was assassinated earlier in the day.
Martine Moise touched down via aircraft in Fort Lauderdale around 3:30 p.m. before being transported in a gurney to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The 47-year-old suffered wounds to her arms, thigh, hands, and abdomen. Her vitals are stable, though she is in critical condition.
Haiti, located in the Caribbean, is roughly 700 miles away from Miami.
Hours before her arrival, Jovenel Moise, 53, was slain at his home by assailants claiming to be with members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. However, a Haitian official insisted the attackers were “mercenaries.”
In videos obtained after the incident, someone with an American accent is heard yelling in English over a megaphone, “DEA operation. Everybody, stand down. DEA operation. Everybody, back up, stand down.”
Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, told reporters it was “absolutely false” that DEA agents were involved in the attack.
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” said Claude Joseph, the interim premier, in a statement from his office. “Democracy and the republic will win.”
The interim premier characterized the assassination as a “hateful, inhumane, and barbaric act.” He did not reveal many details about the perpetrators other than some of them spoke in Spanish.
President Joe Biden condemned what he called a “heinous act” in the country.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the attack on First Lady Martine Moise of Haiti,” Biden wrote in a Wednesday tweet. “We condemn this heinous act — and stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”
Similarly, State Department spokesman Ned Price referred to the assassination as a “tragedy.”
“The U.S. strongly condemns the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the attack on first lady Martine Moise in Haiti,” he said during videotaped remarks. “We extend our deepest condolences to President Moise’s family and his loved ones and to the people of Haiti in the midst of this tragedy.”
The country — which has had its economic, political, and social woes intensify recently — is scheduled to hold general elections later in 2021.
Moise, who was elected in 2016 and took office in 2017, announced the arrest of more than 20 people, including two high-profile government officials, on Feb. 7, accusing them of plotting to kill him and overthrow the government.