ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Two weeks ago, Haiti President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home and his wife was injured in the attack.
The murder happened just months before the nation’s election. Now, local mission groups from Rockford can no longer travel to the country, as the U.S. State Department says unrest is too dangerous to allow Americans to go there.
“I was very devastated, very upset, because it’s just one more cog in the wheel of political unrest in Haiti,” said Linda Underwood, the medical mission coordinator for Friends of the Children, an outfit which delivers medical and educational supplies to the country.
“I’m afraid, now, that it will lead to more diseases, it leads to more food insecurity and less help that is able to go into the country,” she added.
Twice a year, Underwood and her husband travel to Haiti.
“When its safe for us to go, we go, and we try to take care of these people and meet their basic needs and provide them with education, to help them, so they can provide for some of their needs as well,” she said.
Some said Moise’s killing rocked an already fragile political system.
“Chaos, over there, is their lifestyle,” said Pat Bachrodt, founder of Hope for Haitians. He says he isn’t surprised by the assassination, but worries for the people of Haiti, who haven’t had an election since 2016.
“Somebody will take that over and nothing will change in Haiti. It’s the poorest country in our hemisphere,” he said.
Bachrodt said most Haitians are angry with the government.
“Then it turns out to be, they find out they’ve been really abused by the money they have taken, the property they have taken,” he said.
Underwood believes the people deserve better.
“They’re loving people. They know that their hungry. They know they don’t have work. They know their kids can’t go to school. But, they just have a better appreciation for each other,” she said.
Both Underwood and Bachrodt say they hope to return to the island in the future.