Haiti President Assassination: Where the Investigation Stands
Haiti looks to the UN for help. Meanwhile, US and Colombia promise support amid an exodus to escape the instability.
After President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home on 7 July, 20 Colombians have been implicated in the plot to kill him.
Haitian police suspect 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans were behind the crime.
As Haiti reels from political instability, we look at the developments so far in the assassination of Moïse.
What is the Haiti Police Claiming?
Within a day of the assassination, the Haitian Police killed seven of the accused gunmen in an encounter and took into custody another 13, intercepting them at the Taiwanese embassy. Twenty-six of the 28 accused have been identified as Colombians by the Haitian Police. 17 accused have been identified by the Colombian Defense Ministry, who has promised cooperation to Haiti, as military veterans. Eight of the accused are still at large.
While the police is still investigating who the master minds of this assassination are, there have been questions raised on the legitimacy of the police enquiries.
The sister of one of the accused killed in the gun fight with the police, has claimed that her brother only came to Haiti since he was called not to kill but to "take care of someone" important. Yenny Capador in an interview to The Guardian said that her brother, Duberney Capador, 40, an ex-military personnel from Colombia is a "loyal man with values" and he did not hurt anyone.
He was employed by a security company and reached Haiti in only in May and it was a few hours after the President's assassination that he communicated to her about him being "in danger". He also told her that he was "late" to save the "important person".
Soon after the arrests, the police had claimed that foreign minds are involved in the assassination and the 28 personnel who were sent to kill the President are part of a highly skilled commando unit. However, there have been claims of the unit being contracted by Haitians by the likes of former Senator Steven Benoit on the radio.
The police has, in fact, on 11 July, arrested a Haitian national by the name of Christian Emmanuel Sanon, who entered Haiti last month with several Colombians in a private plane. They claim the 63-year-old had a political agenda which was "mounted from within the country".
An enquiry has been initiated and senior police officials responsible for the President's security have been summoned to appear before courts.
We offer all possible help to find out the truth about the material and intellectual perpetrators of the assassination.Colombian President Ivan Duque on Twitter
"The head of Colombia’s National Intelligence Directorate and the intelligence director for the National Police will travel to Haiti with Interpol to help with investigations," Colombian President Ivan Duque declared on Friday, 8 July.
While the Colombian President and defense minister have pledged cooperation in helping Haiti find the masterminds, the US Department of State has made no comments on the accusation of two US-Haitians from Florida being involved in the crime. They said they are "monitoring the situation closely" but cannot give a comment due to privacy considerations. They have, however, offered condolences and said that they will provide assistance to Haiti.
Although the FBI is reportedly being sent to Haiti to investigate the killing of the President, the US has denied any claims of deploying military. Reports say that unlike his predecessors, US President Biden has "low appetite for this" and would not like to get "too involved" in Haiti's affairs.
Seeking Aid from UN
Immediately after the assassination, the borders were shut and the interim government has been trying to safeguard infrastructure. The Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph on 7 July sent a letter to the UN asking for deployment of international troops of the UN to Haiti to secure key infrastructure by supporting the "efforts of the national police aiming to reestablish security and public order" as the assassination of President Jovenel Moise "plunged the country into turmoil".
The UN had previously commented on Haiti's situation and asked for a lawful election to be held to elect the next president.
Continued Political and Social Crisis
The assassination has left Haitians confused and their politicians scrambling for power. Following the President's death, a 15-day state of emergency has been declared. As per the 1987 constitution, the head of the Supreme court should take over, however, that seat is vacant too. In fact, out of the 30 Senate seats, only 10 are filled. The elections to be held in 2019 were postponed and so there is no sitting Parliament.
While interim Prime Minister Joseph Claude claims to be honestly discharging his duties and not fighting for power, there has been a debate on who should take power in such a scenario. There is indecisiveness and a clear power struggle between the Prime Minister, Senate President Joseph Lambert and opposition politician Andre Michel.
Though there is a need for elections to be held soon as planned for September, many believe the society is not ready to take that step. A political chaos exists where may stakeholders are ready to assume power.
People are living a state of confusion, and dozens of people with packed bags are lining up outside the US embassy in Haiti in an attempt to flee the country. The Embassy has been shut for a few days and there has been no indication of the US offering humanitarian visas, however, Haitians still decided to sleep outside the embassy waiting for their turn.
In an interview to The New York Times, a citizen of Haiti said:
We, Haitian citizens, are in danger. We live in the state of endless insecurity. Even our president, who was the most guarded man in the country, was a victim of mercenaries.Thervil Henrider, a 30-year-old Port-au-Prince resident who was among the petitioners told the NYT
Haitians have a history of mass exodus. In 1991, more than 10,000 Haitians fled to the US following a coup and another 8000 in June to escape gang violence, the NYT reported.
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