MIAMI (WSVN) - The assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has left the Haitian community in South Florida devastated.
People in the heart of Little Haiti so desperately want a peaceful future for the country, which has been experiencing a crisis for quite some time.
A group of gunmen assassinated Moïse in his own home overnight.
“Whether you were a part of the opposition or whether you were part of a small group that supported him, this is still a sad thing that happened,” said Marliene Bastien, executive director of the Family Action Network Movement.
Bastien is watching very closely at the turmoil that is happening in Haiti.
“Members are concerned about their loved ones. I’m concerned about my family because my family’s still there,” she said.
“I can tell you that it’s very, very sad to kill him. That is my president,” said a Haitian official.
Leaders are speaking out about the state of emergency in Haiti.
“He tried to change the system,” the Haitian official said. “They do not want that.”
A security guard lowered the country’s flag to half staff at the Haitian Consulate in Miami, Wednesday.
“We’re very concerned about the wellbeing of the people in Haiti, and we’re here to support them in their next steps and obviously shocked and very saddened,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Father Reginald Jean-Mary of Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church spoke with 7News about his personal connection to Moïse.
“It’s the death of democracy,” he said. “It’s the death of the serenity of Haiti. It’s the death of dignity, and this is not a good way for a child of God to be gone.”
Jean-Mary held a special mass service on Wednesday afternoon by talking about what happened. He asked his congregation to observe a moment of silence.
“It hurts me that we get to that level,” Jean-Mary said. “I think it’s a moment for all of us to do some soul searching and see how we can rescue that country.”
With tensions growing for some time, there are calls to end all violence.
“Hopefully, our people, our brothers and sisters will remain calm, and the people will unite their strengths to find a solution, a peaceful solution,” Bastien said.
Earlier in the day, Levine Cava released a statement that read in part, “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.”
Both state and local leaders will meet at the Little Haiti Cultural Center at 1 p.m. Thursday with messages of unity and U.S. support during this difficult time.
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