Florida lawmakers, immigrants respond to Haiti assassination

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IN THE STATE – With a significant number of Haitian Americans among their voters, lawmakers in Florida reacted quickly to news of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Wednesday.


What would you like to know

  • Florida lawmakers, lawmakers and immigrants respond to Haitian president’s assassination
  • The Orlando area has the 4th largest Haitian immigrant population in the United States; The Tampa area is 10th
  • US Senator Rubio: The assassination “will only bring more difficulties to the people of Haiti”

Moïse’s murder and the shooting and reported injuries of his wife, Martine Moïse, followed months of protests as opposition leaders demanded Moïse resign.

Opponents argued that the president’s term ended in February 2021, and they allegedly suggested he was putting Haiti on the path to returning to authoritarianism.

“The assassination of Haitian President Moïse was a horrific act and a call for swift and decisive action to bring political stability and peace to a nation in crisis,” said US Representative Val Demings, D-Orlando, in a press release on Twitter.

She called for “full transparency and an independent investigation” of the shootings.


In May, Demings joined three other members of Congress in announcing the formation of the House Haiti Caucus. In a press release at the time, Demings quoted the four members as saying they would “raise and listen to the Haitian voices that must shape a democratic future that will serve all the Haitian people, not a few.”

With 39,000 Haitian immigrants, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area holds the fourth largest such population in the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute, citing data from 2018.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, husband of Representative Val Demings, offered his condolences to the family of President Moïse and the residents of Orange County who come to the coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday. of Haiti ”.

Haitian immigrant Wilna Destin, a resident of central Florida, said she was praying early Wednesday when she received news of Moses’ assassination.

“It was very disturbing,” she told Spectrum News. “It’s a sad time for us.”

Destin said she was concerned for the safety of her mother, family and friends who still live in Haiti. She said she was also worried about “the street poor” who lack help and communication amid widespread poverty and gang violence on Capitol Hill in Port-au-Prince.

“It’s very scary,” she said.

Orlando has one of two Haitian consulates in Florida and its flag flew to half the staff on Wednesday. The other Haitian consulate in the state is in Miami.

Southeast Florida boasts by far the largest US population of Haitian immigrants. The Tampa Bay area in 2018 brought the 10e-the largest such population, at 9,000, said the Migration Policy Institute.

US Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Miami, condemned on Twitter the “cold-blooded murder of President Moses.”

Rubio added that the assassination “will only bring more difficulties to the Haitian people and further destabilize the country”.

There are reports that armed men killed the president and injured his wife in their home early on Wednesday.

The assassination creates another crisis for Haiti, where President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned the presidency under American pressure in 2004, where an earthquake killed at least tens of thousands of people in 2010 and where the Hurricane Matthew killed hundreds and left extensive damage in 2016.

The shootings threatened to plunge the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere into even deeper turmoil.

“It’s sad because a country that needs hope and help is now in a place of pause again,” said Tim DeTellis, president of Orlando-based New Missions, who says he establishes churches and services in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

United States Representative Frederica Wilson, a Democrat who represents parts of southern Broward and northern Miami-Dade counties, urged President Joe Biden to appoint a special envoy “Which could play a role in facilitating the deployment of key diplomatic resources.”

In a statement, Biden said the United States “offers its condolences to the Haitian people, and we stand ready to help as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”

US Representative Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, wrote on Twitter: “I call for peace and unity at this difficult time. “


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