Haiti said goodbye to its president, Jovenel Moïse, this Friday in a ceremony in Cap-Haitien, in the north of the country, 15 days after he was tortured and murdered at his home in Port-au-Prince. The investigation into his death, for which there are at least 26 detainees – including 18 Colombians, ex-military men who were supposedly hired for the assassination -, at least ten fugitives and suspects from various countries, has overtones of an intrigue novel and is full of unknowns and connections with different countries in Latin America.
Assassination in Haiti
Moïse was shot 12 times on July 7 at his residence on Calle Pelerin, in Port-au-Prince, where he was spending the night with his wife, who was injured, and their two children. According to the investigation, the operation was perpetrated by a command of 24 Colombian mercenaries who did not encounter any type of resistance from the president’s security team. In addition to the 18 detainees, three other men of that nationality died in clashes with the police after the crime and at least three more are believed to have escaped. Among those arrested there are also at least three Haitian police officers, allegedly involved in the assassination, while other agents and security guards of the president are in isolation but without formal charges against them and must give explanations of how the hitmen apparently managed to perpetrate the plan. at ease.
There are also six Haitian civilians in detention, including three South Florida residents, one of the main reception places of the Haitian diaspora in United States. One of them, Emmanuel Sanon, a doctor and evangelical pastor who aspired to replace Moïse in power, the authorities accused him of being the mastermind the same week as the crime. But in Haiti, it is hard to believe that this 63-year-old man who had lived in South Florida for 20 years and without connections in the highest spheres of the country is behind a plan of this magnitude. Later, the Colombian authorities – who together with the FBI are collaborating in the investigation – identified one of the ten fugitives, Joseph Felix Badio, a former official of an anti-corruption agency of the Haitian Ministry of Justice, as the person who gave the order to the mercenaries to assassinate Moïse.
But the investigation is still full of inconsistencies and it is not clear who is the real mastermind or who could finance such an expensive operation: only the hiring and transfer of Colombian hitmen from their country to Haiti, with a previous stop in tourist places in the Republic. Dominican Republic, is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Following the trail of money and logistics to carry out the plot, two names of Latin Americans living in the Miami metropolitan area have also emerged: Antonio Intriago, a Venezuelan who runs the security company CTU Security, who allegedly hired the Colombian mercenaries. , and Walter Veintemilla, the Ecuadorian who runs Worldwide Capital Lending Group, a loan company that, according to authorities, Intriago and Sanon turned to to finance the operation.
Although the Haitian authorities have mentioned their names, no arrest warrant has been issued for any of them. And while the Venezuelan has not been seen publicly since the beginning of July, the Ecuadorian’s lawyer, Robert Nicholson, has told the newspaper Miami Herald that his client made two loans to Intriago’s company and to Sanon to carry out a plan to replace President Moïse in a peaceful transition of power. “No plan was ever discussed or suggested that contemplated a violent overthrow of the Haitian government or assassinate the president,” he said.
“My life is in danger. Come and save me “
The plot’s connections with Latin America do not end there. Dimitri Hérard, the head of security at the National Palace, is in the crosshairs of the Colombian authorities, since in the last year he made several stops to that country as part of his trips to Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Among the suspicions that weigh on him and President Moïse’s head of security, Jean Laguel Civil, is how it is possible that no one in his team was injured in front of a heavily armed group and why, if the exterior of the house was strewn with casings, inside there were no signs of exchange of shots.
The newspaper Miami Herald has revealed that on the night of his death Moïse made several calls after 1:30 in the morning in an interval of ten minutes to the National Police in which he warned that they were shooting at his house and asked for help. “My life is in danger. Come quickly and save me, ”he said in one of those calls to an agent before the sound of an assault rifle was heard. Hours later, the judge in charge of the investigation, Carl Henry Destin, found the president’s body shot in the forehead, chest, hip and stomach. In addition, the hitmen had gouged out an eye and he had some broken bones. The president died after ten minutes of torture and asking for help that never came.
His wife, Martine Moïse, who was injured, was transferred to Miami for medical treatment and has returned to the country for funerals, where she has appeared with one arm in a sling and a bulletproof vest at acts in honor of her husband. In a public statement, the woman thanked Haitians for their support and said she rejected the use of public money for the funeral, in which the new prime minister, Ariel Henry, participated. In the days leading up to the wake, Moïse’s followers have taken to the streets to demand justice. With his body already buried, Henry faces the imminent challenge of stabilizing a country ravaged by political and social chaos and with a severe crisis of insecurity, a challenge that will go through ensuring that answers are found to the unknowns of the assassination.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.