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Haiti swears in premier, mourns president

3 police officers linked to killing by The Associated Press | July 21, 2021 at 4:01 a.m.
Haiti's designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry, center, and interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, right, pose for a group photo with other authorities in front of a portrait of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at at the National Pantheon Museum during a memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's government installed a new prime minister Tuesday, while officials mourned assassinated President Jovenel Moise and arrested at least three police officers implicated in his killing.

Designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry was sworn in to replace interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moise's private home, which also severely injured his wife and stunned the nation of more than 11 million people.

"The task that awaits us is complex and difficult," Henry said as he called for unity and promised to meet with various sectors in coming days to build consensus. "I'm from a school that believes in dialogue."

He also thanked "sister nations" that he didn't identify for their solidarity and expertise in the ongoing investigation as he demanded that all those responsible be brought to justice.

Henry, a neurosurgeon and former Cabinet minister, has promised to form a provisional consensus government to lead Haiti until elections are held. He said he has already met with various unidentified actors as well as civil society and the private sector. He pledged to reestablish order, security and confidence in the government, as well as fight corruption, make covid-19 vaccines available to all, restart the economy, and create a credible and transparent elections system.

Joseph spoke before presenting Henry as he also urged unity and wished him much courage and determination while warning him: "You inherit a remarkable situation ... a political crisis without precedence... galloping insecurity, a morose and precarious socioeconomic situation."

After the ceremony, Henry's new Cabinet was formally presented, with the ministers of justice, economy, finance, agriculture and others keeping their positions.

Before Henry officially became prime minister, a crowd of international dignitaries and Haitian officials sat under the shade of pink and white bougainvillea in the yard of the Nation Pantheon Museum in downtown Port-au-Prince to commemorate Moise, whose assassination left a political void.

A large portrait of the slain president hung behind Joseph as he spoke to mourners. "The president is dead because of his political and social convictions," he said.

Joseph accused oligarchs and criminals of assassinating the president's character and then the president himself. He called on everyone to seize the moment as an opportunity to find a common purpose and durable, viable solutions.

Moise was shot multiple times, and while officials have arrested at least 26 people in the case, it remains unclear who ultimately was behind the attack. Among the arrested are 18 Colombians, five Haitians and three Haitian-Americans.

Police Chief Leon Charles announced four more formal arrests Tuesday -- at least three of them police officers, whose ranks he did not release.

"There was infiltration in the police," he said.

Charles said that a total of seven high-ranking police officers have now been detained and isolated -- but not formally arrested -- as they tried to determine why the attackers were able to reach the president without any of his guards being injured. The officers are not formally considered suspects.

Haitian police identified the fourth suspect, who was not a police officer, as Dominick Cauvin.

An individual named Dominick Cauvin has lived in south Florida, spending time in recent years in Miami, Miami Beach and Pembroke Pines, public records show. He's listed as an independent security consultant, according to his LinkedIn profile; his private Instagram account lists him as founder and owner of Armotech International Corp. and Armotech Group S.A., in Haiti.

Cauvin is listed as CEO for a company based in Pembroke Pines, Fla., called Armotech International Corp., which he registered with the state on Nov. 2, 2020, public records show. He set up a similarly named company, the Armotech Group Inc., in early January 2020, only to dissolve it in April 2021, records show.

Haiti Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said Monday that Joseph would step down and cede the position to Henry, who was chosen for the post by Moise shortly before Moise was killed but had not been sworn in.

The change in leadership comes after a group of key international diplomats called on Henry to create a "consensual and inclusive government" in a statement issued Saturday that made no reference to Joseph. The Core Group is composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France and the European Union, as well as representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

A main opposition coalition, known as the Democratic and Popular Sector, called Henry a puppet of the international community and rejected his appointment.

"This step is only a political provocation that will add fuel to the fire and push the country further into crisis," it said.

On the same day the Core Group issued its statement, first lady Martine Moise arrived back unannounced in Haiti to the surprise of many. She had been recovering at a hospital in Miami. On Monday, her office issued the first public statement since the killing, noting that the presidential family would pay for the funeral as it thanked Haitians for their support.

"Your moral support gives the presidential family the courage to go through this great ordeal and helps it transcend these moments of indescribable pain," it said.

Information for this article was contributed by Trenton Daniel of The Associated Press.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph leaves a memorial service for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry is expected to be sworn in later in the day to replace Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moïse's private home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph leaves a memorial service for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry is expected to be sworn in later in the day to replace Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moïse's private home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, sitting left, and designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry attend a memorial service for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Henry is expected to be sworn in later in the day to replace Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moïse's private home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, sitting left, and designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry attend a memorial service for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Henry is expected to be sworn in later in the day to replace Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moïse's private home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A person holds a photo of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise during his memorial ceremony at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A person holds a photo of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise during his memorial ceremony at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Ariel Henry speaks during his appointment as the new Prime Minister in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Ariel Henry speaks during his appointment as the new Prime Minister in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Authorities pose for a group photo in front of the portrait of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at at the National Pantheon Museum during his memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
Authorities pose for a group photo in front of the portrait of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at at the National Pantheon Museum during his memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
Security forces stand outside the National Pantheon Museum during a memorial ceremony for the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Security forces stand outside the National Pantheon Museum during a memorial ceremony for the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
People attend a memorial ceremony for the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
People attend a memorial ceremony for the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated at home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Haiti's designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry, right, and interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph speak during Henry's appointment as the new prime minister in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
Haiti's designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry, right, and interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph speak during Henry's appointment as the new prime minister in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
A man puts his name into a signature book during a memorial ceremony for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
A man puts his name into a signature book during a memorial ceremony for late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

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