**Update: 07/07/2021 @ 22:55 UTC – Further reports on the condition of First Lady Martine Moïse **
Toussaint Louverture International Airport, Haiti’s main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince, has been closed in the aftermath of an attack on the Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse. The President was assassinated in his home in the early hours of July 7th by a group of unidentified gunmen. Several flights in and out of Toussaint Louverture International Airport have been canceled or diverted.
Port-au-Prince airport closed after assassination
Haiti’s busiest airport, Toussaint Louverture International Airport, has been abruptly closed in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination. Flights to and from the airport have been canceled or diverted to third countries as authorities deal with the aftermath of the attack.
According to a statement from the Haiti government,
“Around one (1) o’clock in the morning, on the night of Tuesday, July 6th to Wednesday, July 7th, 2021, a group of unidentified individuals, some of whom spoke in Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and thus mortally wounded the Head of State.”
The President’s wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, was also wounded and taken to hospital. Reports indicate she was flown to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, arriving at approximately 3:30 pm local time. There has been no official word on her condition. The attack took place at President Moïse’s private residence in Pétion-Ville, an affluent suburb in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Governments across the world have condemned the attack. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the assassination a “horrific crime,” while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted it was an “abhorrent act.” The Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti, has also decided to close its borders in response to the attack.
I am shocked and saddened at the death of President Moïse. Our condolences are with his family and the people of Haiti. This is an abhorrent act and I call for calm at this time.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 7, 2021
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Flights canceled or diverted
Several flights were turned away from Toussaint Louverture International Airport due to the attack. One such flight, American Airlines flight AA387 from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Port-au-Prince, was forced to return to its point of departure. Others diverted to third countries, while scheduled flights out of Port-au-Prince were canceled.
Haitian airline Sunrise Airlines announced,
“Due to the current situation in Haiti, all flights are canceled and delayed until further notice, in order to protect staff, passengers and equipment. All tickets will be changed free of charge in a six month period.”
What’s next for Haiti?
President Jovenel Moïse has been succeeded by Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who will now take charge of the country pending further developments. Joseph was appointed to the role of interim PM in April this year and will now become acting President. Joseph is set to brief the country later today.
Moïse had grown unpopular in his time as President, which was blighted by protests and accusations of corruption.
In January, Gédéon Jean, a lawyer and human-rights activist in Port-au-Prince, said,
“He is doing everything, utilizing all kinds of maneuvers, to hold onto power and to ensure that he remains the only person governing in the country.”
A general election, postponed in 2019, was due to take place in September this year. Additionally, controversial reforms to Haiti’s 1987 Constitution were also set to go to a referendum. If successful, the reforms will grant additional power to the executive branch of government.
Were you affected by the closure of Toussaint Louverture International Airport? Let us know the details in the comments.