Since the 19th century, at least 16 presidents have been assassinated while in office in the Americas. Cases in the region are concentrated between the 1870s and 1960s, and four of them were in the United States. None of them took place in Brazil.
On Wednesday (7), Jovenel Moïse, 53, President of Haiti, was shot dead in an attack on his home, according to Prime Minister Claude Joseph.
The most emblematic presidential death case is that of John Kennedy, an American leader who was shot in the head while parading in a car discovered in Dallas in 1963. The man accused of shooting was killed days later, and the reasons for the Democrat’s death have never been fully clarified. This has led to the emergence of many conspiracy theories.
In addition to Kennedy, three other US presidents were assassinated by guns. An actor shot Abraham Lincoln in 1865 in a theater. In 1881, James Garfield was shot dead at a Washington train station. In 1901, William McKinley was shot while visiting an exhibit in Buffalo, New York.
Neighboring Haiti, the Dominican Republic had at least three dead leaders: Ulises Heureaux (in 1899), Ramón Cáceres (1911) and Rafael Trujillo (1959). Cáceres and Trujillo were murdered in ambushes mounted by opponents as they moved. The death of Trujillo inspired the book “A Festa do Bode”, by Mario Vargas Llosa.
In El Salvador in 1913, President Manuel Enrique Araújo was shot and beaten with a machete while attending a concert in a park. He died five days later of complications from surgery to remove fragments.
In Guatemala, there were two cases: José Maria Barrios was murdered in the street in 1898, on his way to the theater. And in 1957, a palace guard linked to the opposition kills Carlos Castillo, who had seized power in a coup.
In Mexico, Venustiano Carranza, one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, was killed by order of his former allies while riding a horse in 1920.
In South America, there have been presidential assassinations in Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. In 1872, Peruvian leader Tomás Gutiérrez lost his life in the midst of a popular uprising in Lima. He attempted to flee the palace in disguise, but was eventually recognized in the street and killed. Then his body and that of his brother were displayed in the street and hung from the tower of a cathedral.
Also in Peru, Luis Miguel Cerro was shot dead by a member of a government-banned party in 1933. Cerro and Gutiérrez both came to power after military coups.
In Ecuador, Gabriel Garcia Moreno was beaten with a machete in 1875, inside the government palace, when a group of opponents ambushed him. In Uruguay, Juan Borda was attacked during a street parade after a religious event in 1897.
In Brazil, no president has been assassinated in power, but two died during their tenure. Afonso Pena had complications after pneumonia in 1909. And, in 1954, Getúlio Vargas committed suicide in the midst of a political crisis.
In 1973, Chilean President Salvador Allende died in the midst of a coup. A Chilean justice investigation, carried out decades later, revealed that he had committed suicide while soldiers bombed the government building.