Jovenel Moïse was sworn in as the president of Haiti on 07 February 2017, following an extended and complicated two-year election cycle. In 2015, the President Michel Martelly, designated Jovenel Moïse as presidential candidate of the political party he founded, the Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK). Moïse, whom former Haitian President Michel Martelly hand-picked as his Bald Heads Party (PHTK) candidate, won with nearly 56 percent of the votes cast in the November 20 election.
The Haitian businessman, 48, faced lingering accusations of money laundering. In January 2017, Moïse spent four hours answering an investigative judge's questions in a closed Port-au-Prince courtroom, in a process similar to that of a US grand jury. He had denied the allegation, claiming it was politically motivated. The investigation could take months to complete.
Jovenel Moïse sold his vision of a bio-ecological agriculture as the engine of the Haitian economy, to create jobs and generate wealth for a population which was over 50% was rural. He proposed agriculture as the basis for economic recovery. His policy also included elements that had been the workhorse of Martelly: education for all, access to health, energy reform, the rule of law, the creation of sustainable jobs, environmental protection, and development of Haiti come a tourist destination by adding eco-tourism and agro-tourism.
Jovenel Moïse was born June 26, 1968 in Trou du Nord (North-East Department) in a modest family (father farmer and mechanic, seamstress mother).
In July 1974, he settled with his family in Port-au-Prince where he continued his primary education at the National School Don Durélin, then his secondary education at Lycee Toussaint Louverture first and then at the Cultural Center of the Collège Canado Haitien. Later, he attended the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University Quisqueya. Despite his future already mapped as educator, he changes direction to engage in entrepreneurship.
In 1996, he left the capital and moved to Port-de-Paix, with the dream of developing the hinterland. With very little investment capital, he created his first business at Port-de-Paix, "JOMAR Auto Parts", still in operation today. The same year, his love of the land directed its efforts towards the establishment of an agricultural project. Jovenel set up a plantation of 10 hectares of bananas in the Northwest Department.
Shortly after then, he became aware that access to clean water was a major issue in the hinterland and embarked on a new project. In 2001, strengthened by his experiences, he decided to find a solution to this problem. He started in partnership with the company Culligan of Port-au-Prince and combine loans from financial institutions and individuals, with difficulty, he started a water plant for distribution of drinking water in the North-West and North-East.
From his success in the business world and his desire to support community development, Jovenel became in 2004 a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Industry (CCINO). In no time, he was elected president of the CCINO. His ability to build a group synergy allows him to become Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti (CHIC) where he played a significant role in integrating the regional Chambers of Commerce, to ensure their full and fair representation within the CCIH.
Interested in regional electrification, he formed in 2008 with more partners, the Haitian Energy Company SA (COMPHENER SA), which aimed to bring solar and wind energy to 10 communes of the Northwest department. In 2012, in Trou du Nord, he founded AGRITRANS SA, bringing the agricultural project NOURRIBIO to become the first Haitian Agricultural Zone Franche. With this project, Jovenel Moïse has transformed a site dedicated to the abandonment of an integrated sustainable development project, a model for the development of agriculture in Haiti. Recall that the project NOURRIBIO had already enabled the emergence of more than a dozen agricultural projects that created almost 3,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs. This project was the most innovative in Haiti and the largest that the Caribbean had seen.
Moise, a 50-year-old former entrepreneur who set up a string of businesses in the north of the country, where he hailed from, burst on to the political stage with a populist message of building up the impoverished Caribbean nation. His talk was backed up by his business background: past ventures included water treatment, the energy sector and agricultural production, the latter of which earned him his nickname, "Neg Bannan nan" or "The Banana Man" in Creole.
His business interests led him to a meeting in 2014 with the man who would become his political mentor, then- president Michel Martelly, a former singer who had once performed under the stage name Sweet Micky. He too had been a political newbie when he took the presidency in 2011. But the financing of the plantation, launched in 2014 and bolstered by a $6 million government loan a year later, had been dogged by questions, which the president's opponents used to stoke speculation about corruption. In a report published in January 2019, a court investigating mismanagement of a major development fund also found that Moise's Agritrans banana firm had been paid to upgrade a road, but that no contract had ever been located by the investigating judges.
Moise campaigned on populist pledges, just like all candidates in Haiti do, but he kept up the rhetoric even after he was elected in February 2017. Leaving his ministers behind, he criss-crossed the country to whip up support for his "caravan of change," including the purchase of heavy machinery and the launch of major works projects, whose exact costs have never been elaborated, despite repeated calls for clarity in the media. While traveling the provinces, he also made big promises, such as providing the whole country with round-the-clock electricity.
The president faced steep opposition from swathes of the population that deemed his mandate illegitimate, and he churned through a series of seven prime ministers in four years. Joseph was slated to be replaced after only three months in the post. Moise cycled through seven prime ministers in four years and faced a strong opposition protest movement. Opposition leaders have accused him of being power-hungry. In addition to presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was due to have a constitutional referendum in September 2021 after it was twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Supported by Moise, the text of the constitutional reform, aimed at strengthening the executive branch, has been overwhelmingly rejected by the opposition and many civil society organizations.
At around 1am on 07 July 2021, a group of unidentified people, including some speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president, mortally wounding the head of state. The First Lady suffered bullet injuries and was in hospital, said a statement released by Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph’s office. Carl Henry Destin, deputy magistrate of Pétion-Ville, a commune located in Port-au-Prince, affirmed to Le Nouvelliste that the office and the bedroom of the president were ransacked. On his corpse, they observed twelve holes "made with large-caliber weapons and 9-millimeter projectiles". He said "We found him lying on his back, with his blue pants, his white shirt stained with blood, his mouth open, and his left eye perforated. We saw a bullet hole in the forehead, one in each nipple, three in the hip, and one in the abdomen".
The heavily armed commando unit that assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was composed of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans, authorities said on 08 July 2021, as the hunt went on for the masterminds of the killing. Police Chief Charles Leon paraded 17 men before journalists at a news conference late, showing a number of Colombian passports, plus assault rifles, machetes, walkie-talkies and materials including bolt cutters and hammers. Three of the assailants were killed and eight remained on the run.
On 09 July 2021, the Taiwanese embassy confirmed that eleven suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise were detained at its facilities in Port-au-Prince. The suspects had entered the embassy while fleeing Haitian police, who initially tried to chase them even into the Asian country's territory. Taiwanese diplomats immediately authorized the operation to demonstrate their nation's commitment to the Haitian people and to allow "the truth of the incident to be discovered as soon as possible".
Police on 14 July 2021 said they were searching for a former official, a former senator and a former businessman. Authorities believe they are "armed and dangerous." The former senator, John Joel Joseph, is a prominent politician who had previously criticized Moise's Tet Kale party. The former official, Joseph Felix Badio, has worked for the Justice Ministry and the government's Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC). Following the announcement, ULCC said in a press statement that he had been fired in May over "serious breaches" of ethical rules. "This villainous act is an affront to our democracy,'' ULCC said. "The authors, co-authors, accomplices must be hunted down, investigated and punished with the utmost rigor." The third suspect, Rodolphe Jaar — also known as "Whiskey" — is a Haitian businessman who was previously indicted by US federal prosecutors for allegedly conspiring with others to distribute cocaine in the US.
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