“It’s the death of dignity, and this is not a good way for a child of God to be gone,” says Miami priest Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary.
A Miami Catholic priest who personally knew President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti called the leader’s assassination Wednesday morning “the death of democracy.”
“It’s the death of dignity, and this is not a good way for a child of God to be gone,” Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary of Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in Miami told 7News Miami.
Moïse was assassinated overnight in his home. His wife, Martine Moïse, was also shot and was taken to hospital. Her condition was not immediately known.
Fr. Jean-Mary asked his congregation to observe a moment of silence before Wednesday morning’s Mass.
“The nation is mourning this morning,” he said.
Fr. Jean-Mary told the television station that he knew the president as well as other members of the family.
“We grew up in the same department,” the priest said. “I have met him many times. I know the family very well. I’ve met with them several times and it was very difficult for me to embrace when I got the news this morning.
“It hurts me that we get to that level,” Fr. 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.”
The Caribbean country has been suffering from gang violence, soaring inflation, kidnappings, and protests by opposition supporters who accused Moise of increasing authoritarianism.
“The country appeared to be heading for fresh volatility ahead of planned general elections later this year. Moïse, 53, had been ruling by decree for more than a year after the country failed to hold elections and the opposition demanded he step down in recent months, saying he was leading Haiti toward yet another grim period of authoritarianism,” the Associated Press reported.