Widow of slain Haitian president: 'When they left, they thought I was dead'

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The wife of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moïse said the men who murdered her husband also believed they'd killed her in an assassination rocked that has rocked the Caribbean nation's already shaky democracy

In an interview with The New York Times that was posted on the newspaper's website on Friday, widow Martine Moïse recounted the terrifying moments on July 7 when gunmen burst into their home, shot her and then killed the president before rifling through her husband's files looking for something.

“The only thing that I saw before they killed him were their boots,” Martine Moïse said, describing the moment President Moïse was gunned down next to her. “Then I closed my eyes, and I didn’t see anything else.”

After firing the fatal shots, attackers ransacked the room and looked through the president's files, all while speaking Spanish — and not the island's dominant languages of French and Haitian Creole - Martine Moïse said.

"'That’s not it. That’s not it,'" Martine Moïse recalled them saying before one finally declared: "'That's it.'"

She doesn't know what they were seeking or found.

“They were looking for something in the room, and they found it," she said.

The gunmen left the room.

“When they left, they thought I was dead," Martine Moïse told the newspaper in an interview in South Florida, where she's recovering from her wounds.

Before the group of "highly trained and heavily armed" people reached them, the couple was jarred awake by gunshots outside their home, prompting President Moïse to pick up a phone and call for help.

"He said, 'I found Dimitri Hérard; I found Jean Laguel Civil,'" she said, naming two officials in the president's security operation. "And they told me that they are coming."

Both Hérard and Civil have been detained in the ongoing probe that's so far implicated Colombian mercenaries in the president's slaying.

The widow said she still can't grasp how people got past 30 to 50 security personnel stationed at the president's home. None of them were killed or wounded in the attack.

“I don’t understand how nobody was shot,” she said.

Haiti's President Jovenel Moise addresses the media in Port-au-Prince (Andres Martinez Casares / Reuters file)
Haiti's President Jovenel Moise addresses the media in Port-au-Prince (Andres Martinez Casares / Reuters file)

And foremost on her mind, the president's widow said she wants all those responsible to be brought to justice. She believes Haitian elites are the lone individuals who could've organized such a brazen attack.

“Only the oligarchs and the system could kill him,” she said.

Until every person responsible is arrested, Moïse said the nation's fragile democracy will have no chance.

“I would like people who did this to be caught. Otherwise they will kill every single president who takes power,” she said. “They did it once. They will do it again.”

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