Just over two weeks after the 53-year-old Moise was shot and killed in his Port-au-Prince home in the early hours of July 7, he was buried in Cap Haitien, the main city of his northern home region.
At an open-air funeral that lasted for several hours, Moise’s coffin was draped in the red, white and blue Haitian flag and the presidential sash, and surrounded by flowers. The military guards kept watch and the soldiers sang the national and presidential anthems.
One by one, government representatives and foreign diplomats stopped to pay their respects to Martine, Moise’s widow, who was seriously injured in the attack that killed her husband and required treatment in the United States.
Her arm was in a sling and she wore a black hat and a mask with a photo of her late husband on one side.
“What crime did you commit to deserve such punishment?” she asked in moving praise, calling Haitian politics “rotten and unfair” and insisting that her husband had tried to clean it up before he was “savagely murdered.”
“Overnight, he found the entire system aligned against him,” the widow said, however, noting that he was not seeking “revenge or violence.”
Despite his accolades, the late president was not a popular man; many people accused him of failing to make progress on the country’s many problems.
And in a sign of Haiti’s chronic security problems, despite a heavy police presence on the streets of Cap-Haitien, shots rang out during the funeral, prompting some of the attendees to leave early.
US President Joe Biden had sent a high-level delegation to the funeral, including his ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and his new special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote.
“Members of the presidential delegation to President Moise’s funeral have returned safely to the United States,” Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement, underscoring his country’s commitment “to support an inclusive and peaceful dialogue in Haiti.”
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington remains “deeply concerned about the situation on the ground in Haiti.”
“We strongly urge all parties to speak out peacefully and call on Haitian leaders to make it clear that their supporters must refrain from violence,” Sullivan said in a statement.
So far, more than 20 people have been arrested in connection with Moise’s murder, mostly Colombians, and police say the plot was organized by Haitians with political ambitions and ties outside the country.
But the case remains murky, with many unanswered questions, such as that no member of the presidential security detail was injured in the brazen assault.
Haitians have expressed shock that those charged with protecting the president and his home failed him so abjectly.
Haiti is rife with crime and powerful gangs, problems that were exacerbated during Moise’s presidency.
Earlier this week, clashes broke out in Cap-Haitien when Police Chief Leon Charles visited before the ceremony.
He was booed and interrupted while inspecting the security arrangements for the funeral by local residents who blame him for not protecting Moise.
In Cap-Haitien, on Friday, several roads were blocked by barricades and burning cars. Several businesses were burned. The protesters attacked local and foreign journalists.
Commemorative ceremonies honoring Moise were also held this week in Port-au-Prince.
One of them was attended by new Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was sworn in on Tuesday and vowed to restore order and stage long-delayed elections sought after by Haitians and the international community.
Haiti currently does not have a functioning parliament and only a handful of elected senators. The interim government installed this week does not have a president.
Washington has said that elections should be held later this year.
Moise had ruled Haiti, the poorest country in America, by decree after legislative elections scheduled for 2018 were delayed in the following multiple disputes.
In addition to the presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was due to have a constitutional referendum in September after it was postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.