WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The Haitian community in Polk County is reacting to the assassination of the president of Haiti.
There is a large population of Haitians that live in Winter Haven.
“I was in shock, painful. And still, right now, I'm still thinking. I wonder why,” said Patrick Dorcant.
The news of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse sent shock waves through the tight-knit community. Holding back his tears, business owner Patrick Dorcant said it still doesn’t seem real.
“Very special. You know he’s a businessman, works hard just like me,” he said.
According to Haiti's Interim Prime Minister, President Moïse was assassinated overnight during an armed attack at his private residence. His wife was shot multiple times during the attack and is hospitalized.
The assassination of Moïse comes at a time of deepening political and economic instability and an increase in gang violence. Some fear this will discourage people from visiting Haiti, further hurting the country’s economy.
“We have a whole bunch of stuff to offer people, man. We got the nice beach, we got nice hotels. People come and spend money down there, but when it’s insecurity like that, they ain’t coming,” said Jay Mentor.
The Winter Haven Haitian community says now it’s more important than ever for the people of Haiti to come together.
“We Haitian people have to put ourselves together and say, look we need a better place, a better country for my kids, your kids,” Dorcant said.