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July 12, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Why Haiti is seeking international community’s help after President’s assassination

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

Summary: Haiti police arrested at least 20 people, including two U.S. citizens, in the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in his home on Wednesday, July 7. While the Haitian first lady is recovering in a hospital in Florida, the nation’s interim president Claude Joseph asked the U.S. and the United Nations for military help to protect critical infrastructure. The political situation remains highly volatile for the people of Haiti spurred on by the majority of parliament calling for a new government to replace Joseph. Haiti’s turmoil dates back more than two centuries after enslaved Black people overthrew their French colonial rulers. In 1825, France’s Charles X charged a massive sum for Haitian independence which bankrupted the economy, causing more problems for the people. 

Discussion questions: 

Five Facts: 

  • Who was assassinated in Haiti? 
  • What is “ruling by decree”? 
  • Why has there been a power vacuum in Haiti, according to this piece? 
  • Where are the group that allegedly assassinated President Moïse from?
  • How does expert Marlene Daut believe Haitians will react over the next few months to this assassination? 

Focus questions:

  • What do you know about the nation of Haiti?
  • What role do you think the U.S. or the U.N., if any, should take on in a request from Interim President Claude Joseph?
  • What are some potential negative consequences of the U.S. becoming involved in disputes over power in Haiti?
  • How might learning about Haiti’s long history of colonialism and slavery under the French affect how you understand events happening there today?

Media literacy: Whose voice or perspectives in Haiti are represented in this piece? Whose important voices do you think might have been left out?  

 

Dig deeper: 

  • For a brief history of Haiti, see this website.
  • To learn more about the structure of the Haitian government, see this website
  • For more of PBS NewsHour’s coverage on the recent events in Haiti, see these videos: 

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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