In her first public comments since her husband’s assassination, Martine Moïse, the wife of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, has urged people to carry on his “battle” in a country long plagued by gang violence and now plunged into a deep institutional crisis.
Ms. Moïse was also shot in last week’s attack at the couple’s residence and was taken to a hospital in Miami for treatment. The Haitian authorities said that she was out of danger and in stable condition.
In an audio recording posted to her Twitter account on Saturday, Ms. Moïse, speaking in Creole, said, “I am alive thanks to God, but I lost my husband Jovenel Moïse.”
She added, “In the blink of an eye, the mercenaries entered my house and riddled my husband with bullets.”
The woman speaking in the message was confirmed as Ms. Moïse by the Haitian minister of culture and communications, Pradel Henriquez, according to Agence France-Presse.
The authorities in Haiti have arrested at least 20 suspects in the attack. Eighteen have been identified as Colombians, and two as Haitian Americans.
Carl Henry Destin, a Haitian justice of the peace, said that he had found the body of the president lying on the floor at the foot of his bed, “bathed in blood,” with 12 bullet holes. Two of the presidential couple’s three children were present during the attack and had hidden together in a bathroom, Mr. Destin added.
“I’m crying, it’s true, but we can’t let the country go astray,” Ms. Moïse said, as she denounced mercenaries “who want to assassinate the president’s dream, vision and ideas for the country.”
She did not say who could have sponsored the attack but suggested that those behind the killing “do not want to see a transition in the country.”
The president, Ms. Moïse said, was fighting for “roads, water and electricity, the referendum and the elections scheduled for the end of the year.”
In his final year in office, Mr. Moïse faced growing protests, with much of Haiti’s political opposition and civil society believing that his term should have ended in February. But Mr. Moïse refused to resign and clung to power, governing by decree as Parliament ceased to function and the country sank deeper into gang violence.
Ms. Moïse said that her husband “has always believed in institutions and stability,” and she noted: “The battle he was fighting was not his own, he was fighting for us. We must continue.”
“We will not let the president die a second time,” she added.