The assassination of a president, prime minister or that of a king can be so shocking that his memory is forever embedded in the memory of citizens. After the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, we bring up a list of five assassinations in various regions of the world that marked the collective memory of the countries where they occurred.
July 7, 2021 was recorded as the day on which one of the greatest political attacks in Latin America and the Caribbean occurred.
Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti, was shot dead in his own home. With his death, the figure of seventeen assassinations of presidents in Latin America and around fifty worldwide.
Several of them are consigned in the collective memory because of how impressive they were and because of the importance that the political leader had for his country. Below we review five assassinations of acting presidents and prime ministers that caused international commotion.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, one of the most remembered assassinations of the 20th century
The attack on Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, occurred in a caravan of convertible cars in which he paraded with his wife Jacqueline Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas Texas.
He was shot twice – one to the head – from a sniper’s gun. For this crime, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US marine who is presumed to be the shooter, was arrested, but who could not be brought to trial since two days after his arrest he was murdered while in police custody.
When questioned, Oswald pleaded not guilty to the assassination and claimed to be a “scapegoat,” but five government investigations concluded that Oswald fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
The motive is unclear and there are multiple conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination. Kennedy had served since January 20, 1961, and during his nearly three years as President he faced the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Fidel Castro, as well as the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, which put the world on edge. entirely out of fear of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Among other policies, Kennedy promoted the American space race and gave guarantees to the Civil Rights Movement of the also assassinated Martin Luther King.
Anwar el-Sadat, the Egyptian president assassinated by his own soldiers after peace with Israel
On the one hand, Anwar el-Sadat was Prime Minister and then President of Egypt from 1970 until he was assassinated in 1981. For years he sustained a series of war intrigues with his enemy Israel, largely to regain the Sinai Peninsula, the territory occupied by the Israelis during the 1967 Six Day War.
In September 1978 he signed peace with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, in the so-called Camp David agreements sponsored by the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.
Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and, in return, Egypt was the first Arab country to recognize the existence of its state. The event was condemned by the Arab world. Three years later, on October 6, 1981, Anwar el-Sadat, just preceding a military parade commemorating the recovery of the Sinai, was machine-gunned to death by a group of six soldiers.
Isaac Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was assassinated for making peace with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
In what would be considered a similar motive, the other political assassination related to the conflict between Israel and the Arab countries was the one perpetrated against Prime Minister Isaac Rabin, who was assassinated on November 4, 1995 by an extremist Jewish student.
As Israel’s seventh prime minister since its founding in 1948, Isaac Rabin set out to achieve peace with the Palestine Liberation Organization, then headed by Yasser Arafat. Similar to the Camp David Accords, the 1993 Oslo Accords were carried out, this time mediated by US President Bill Clinton. Rabin shook hands with Arafat, in a historic event, which marked the end to a decades-long armed struggle and six years of the first intifada or “revolt of the stones”, a Palestinian protest movement against the Israeli Army that had claimed the the lives of 1,374 Palestinians and about 200 Israelis.
Peace reconciled Israel with Palestine through a mutual recognition of their States and a border tracing by mutual agreement. But what was signed by Rabin and Arafat would soon fail, in principle, due to the assassination of Rabin on November 4, 1995 during a massive event in Tel Aviv to reinforce the peace process with the Palestinians. The extremist Jewish student took advantage of the crowd and shot him in the back, killing the prime minister.
In India, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 caused a commotion.
Daughter of the national hero Jawaharlal Nehru, who together with Mahatma Gandhi fought for the emancipation of India from British colonialism, she became the first woman to take the reins of her country in 1966, and to date the only one to do so. He spent 11 years commanding India, under all kinds of controversies, as he was accused of repression, corruption, censoring criticism from the media while building ties with the Soviet Union and distancing himself from the United States in the middle of the Cold War.
In her second term, from 1980 to 1984, Indira Gandhi repressed the nationalism of the Sikhs in the Punjab region, in northwestern India, on the border with Pakistan. The repression order left hundreds of civilians dead, including the Sikh leader who was advancing the separatist process. Although having resisted the independence of the Sikhs gained him popularity in the rest of India, in 1984, on the way to an interview, two of his bodyguards, who belonged to the religious minority, inflicted 31 bullets on him.
Muammar al-Gaddafi, the dictator who spent 42 years in power in Libya, was assassinated after the Arab Spring
One of the murders of African leaders that most occupied the pages and news of the international press was that of the controversial Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.
At the end of his 42 years in power, Gaddafi violently suppressed the rebellion of his opponents in 2011 in the framework of the Arab Spring protests. His acts of oppression against the civilian population encouraged NATO forces to take sides to overthrow him.
Cornered by the military advance of the international coalition, he fled from Tripoli to Sirte, where he was besieged for several weeks, until he was wounded and fell into the hands of the rebels whom he had repressed. The latter executed him on October 20, 2011, and since then, the country has been absolutely fragmented into various military groups.