Who’s behind the assassination of the Haitian President?
A US-based security firm appears to be central to Jovenel Moise’s killing by a professional team, which allegedly includes Haitian-Americans and ex-Colombian soldiers.
Haiti’s controversial President Jovenel Moise, whose legal presidential term ended in February according to some accounts, was killed on July 7 by a hit squad, which had people from Colombia, the US and Haiti.
Before the assassination, Moise aimed to change the country’s constitution through a June referendum, which was rescheduled to September under US pressure, as anti-government protests hit the country. Washington is Haiti’s most powerful supporter in the international arena. In September, the country’s presidential elections will also be held.
While the president, which allegedly collaborated with the country’s brutal gangs to suppress dissent, clearly fell victim to the assassination plot, all other details continue to be enigmatic to outside observers, leading to confusing reports about what actually happened in the day of the killing, who did that and why.
Here is a brief explanation on the alleged actors of the assassination plot:
Who were the killers?
According to both Haitian and Colombian officials. leading actual assassins were former Colombian soldiers, some of whom were trained by the US military. There were allegations that one of the attackers shouted with an American accent on the night of the assassination that the raid was a “DAE operation”, referring to America’s Drug Enforcement Administration.
The two emerging leaders of around two dozen former Colombian soldiers, which raided Moise’ private residence in Port-au-Prince, were Germán Alejandro Rivera and Duberney Capador. Both of them were killed during clashes between the hired mercenaries and the Haitian security forces on the night of July 7.
Capador, who appeared to be the primary recruiter of Colombian ex-soldiers, sent a picture of himself to her sister prior to the assassination, wearing a t-shirt with a CTU emblem on it. The CTU is a Miami-based US security firm, which has “extensive experience in military and law enforcement special operations,” in various conflicts from Iraq to Bolivia and Colombia, according to the Washington Post.
Haitian officials said that the same two Colombians and others were hired by Antonio “Tony” Intriago, the head of the CTU and an American citizen. Walter Veintemilla, another American and the owner of Worldwide Capital Lending Group, also allegedly financed expenses of the CTU-led Colombian force in Haiti prior to the assassination.
People representing Veintemilla claimed that the presence of Colombian mercenaries in Haiti was related to a project to create a security force for the protection of Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a pastor who also happens to hold both American and Haitian citizenships.
Sanon projected himself the next leader of Haiti following the supposed fall of Moise and asked both Veintemilla and Intriago to form a security force to protect him, according to documents obtained by the Post.
An enigmatic alliance
According to Haiti authorities, three Americans, Intriago, Veintemilla and Sanon were seen together in some pictures apparently with Colombian mercenaries. The CTU, which is a crucial component of the assassination plot according to Haiti officials, gave no response to any media inquiry until now.
Veintemilla’s firm and other American acolytes of Sanon remained that the Haitian pastor would come to power by a peaceful transition despite giving no clear explanation on how it could happen.
“At the time of the meetings he was, we all believed, going to become a prime minister,” said Parnell Duverger, an American retired adjunct economics professor, who appeared to prepare an economic development plan for Sanon’s Haiti. “I keep asking myself, there must be something wrong with me for being so naïve,” Duverger reflected on his past conduct with Sanon, who appeared to create an impression on his counterparts that he was backed by both Democratic and Republican politicians in the US.
But if the aim to form a security force had been protecting a Haitian-American pastor with great political ambitions, why would that force have ended up killing the Haitian president?
While involving Americans have no response to that question, Haitian officials suspect that Sanon backed by Veintemilla and Intriago planned the assassination plot, using Colombian mercenaries as hitmen. Colombian authorities also said that Rivera, one of the ringleaders of the assassination plot, received payment coming from the US, apparently either from the CTU or Veintemilla’s Worldwide Capital, the CTU’s co-financier of the Sanon’s project.
Sanon, who is also known for his humanitarian work, was arrested by Haitian authorities after the killing of the president. He was accused of being the main conspirator of the July 7 attack. Sanon denies any involvement saying that “he doesn’t know anything at all”, according to an anonymous source, who is involved in the murder investigation. A Colombia-based TV station also accused the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who is currently in charge of the country, being one of the men behind the assassination. Haitian police deny that claim.
Even if Veintemilla’s account regarding the protection of Sanon, who does not hold any elected office, were true, there would be another problematic aspect in its story concerning how Sanon will pay back to American firms. Veintemilla’s firm accepted that Sanon will pay back to both Worldwide Capital and the CTU after becoming the president of Haiti, using the country’s public assets.
“The Parties agree that the source of funding for amounts due to Consultant pursuant to this Agreement shall be from the proceeds of monetary assets seized by Haiti due to the efforts of Consultant and/or its Subcontractor,” said a draft contract between Sanon and American firms circulated on June 22.
Haiti is the poorest country across the American continent, hit by gang violence, corruption, economic stagnation and political disorder.