Haiti’s interim administration said it requested assistance from the United States to secure critical infrastructure as it attempts to stabilize the country and pave the way for elections following President Jovenel Mose’s death.
“We definitely require assistance, and we have requested assistance from our international partners,” Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told The Associated Press in a late Friday phone interview. “Our partners, we believe, can assist the national police in resolving the situation.”
The unexpected plea for US military assistance recalled the uproar that followed Haiti’s last presidential assassination in 1915, when an enraged mob pulled President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam out of the French Embassy and lynched him. President Woodrow Wilson responded by sending Marines into Haiti, describing the almost two-decade-long American military intervention as a means of averting anarchy.
However, the Biden administration has made no indication that it intends to deploy military help. For the time being, it intends to send FBI agents to assist with the ongoing investigation into a crime that has thrown Haiti, already beleaguered by gaping poverty and gang violence, into a destabilizing power struggle and constitutional impasse.
On Friday, a number of MPs announced their allegiance to the temporary administration and recognized Joseph Lambert, the chairman of Haiti’s defunct senate, as provisional president, in a direct challenge to the authority of the interim government. They also acknowledged Ariel Henry as prime minister, whom Mose had chosen to succeed Joseph the day before he was assassinated but had not yet entered office or formed a government.
Joseph voiced dismay at the prospect of others exploiting Mose’s murder for political benefit.
“I am not interested in a power struggle,” Joseph stated after assuming authority with the support of police and the military. “In Haiti, there is only one path to presidency. And that is accomplished through elections.”
Joseph spoke as new facts emerged about a homicide that has taken on the aura of a mysterious international conspiracy involving a Hollywood actor, a battle with gunmen holed up in a foreign embassy, and a private security service operating out of a gigantic Miami warehouse.
Among those arrested are two Haitian Americans, one of whom collaborated with Sean Penn in the aftermath of the country’s terrible 2010 earthquake. Additionally, police detained or executed more than a dozen “mercenaries.” “who were formerly military personnel in Colombia.
Several of the suspects were apprehended during a raid on Taiwan’s Embassy, where they are suspected of seeking asylum. According to National Police Chief Léon Charles, an additional eight individuals remain at large and are being sought.
The incident, which occurred before dawn Wednesday at Mose’s home, also gravely injured his wife, who was transported to Miami for surgery. Joseph stated that he chatted with the first lady but did not enquire about the attack out of respect for her grief.
According to Colombian officials, the guys were recruited by four companies and arrived in the Caribbean nation via the Dominican Republic in two groups. Colombian soldiers trained in the United States are highly sought after by private security organizations and mercenary armies operating in global crisis zones due to their experience fighting leftist guerrillas and powerful drug cartels for decades.
In an unfathomable twist that would have unmasked any highly classified mission, several of the guys uploaded images on Facebook of themselves touring the presidential palace and other tourist attractions in the Dominican Republic, which shares Hispaniola Island with Haiti.
Duberney Capador, the sister of one of the deceased suspects, told the AP that she last spoke to her brother late Wednesday — hours after Mose’s murder — while the guys were holed up in a residence and encircled, urgently attempting to bargain their way out of a gunfight.
“He instructed me not to inform our mother, so she would not be concerned,” Yenny Capador explained, fighting back tears.
The attacker’s identity is unknown. Furthermore, significant concerns remain concerning how the culprits gained access to the president’s mansion while acting as US Drug Enforcement Administration officials and encountered minimal resistance from those responsible with protecting the president.
Capador stated that her brother, who resigned from the Colombian army with the rank of sergeant in 2019, was hired by a private security agency with the idea that he would provide protection for prominent Haitians.
Capador stated that she was unfamiliar with the job but supplied a photo of her brother wearing a uniform bearing the emblem of CTU Security – a previously unknown company situated in Doral, a Miami neighborhood popular with Colombian migrants.
The wife of Francisco Uribe, one of those arrested, told Colombia’s W Radio that CTU offered to pay the men approximately $2,700 per month — a pittance for a dangerous international mission but significantly more than the majority of the men, non-commissioned officers and professional soldiers, earned from their retirement pensions.
Uribe is being investigated for his suspected involvement in the 2008 death of an unarmed civilian whom he attempted to present as a victim of conflict. The killing was part of a wave of thousands of extrajudicial executions that rocked Colombia’s US-trained army more than a decade ago.
CTU Security was registered in 2008 and lists Antonio Intriago as its president. Intriago is also affiliated with a number of other Florida-registered entities, several of which have since dissolved, including the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy, the Venezuelan American National Council, and Doral Food Corp.
CTU’s website listed two addresses, one of which was a gray-colored warehouse that was closed Friday with no indication of who owned it. The other was a small suite in a modern office building a few blocks away, occupied by a different company. According to the office’s receptionist, Intriago visits every few days to collect mail and hold meetings. Venezuelan-born Intriago did not respond to phone calls and an email requesting comment.
“We are the ones most interested in establishing the truth about what happened, so that my brother’s reputation does not remain tarnished,” Capador stated. “He was a modest, hardworking gentleman. He was a recipient of awards and decorations.”
Along with the Colombians, authorities nabbed two Haitian Americans.
According to Le Nouvelliste, investigative judge Clément Nol stated that the arrested Americans, James Solages and Joseph Vincent, stated that the attackers intended to apprehend Mose rather than kill him. According to the publication, Nol stated that Solages and Vincent were working as translators for the attackers.
Solages, 35, identified himself on a now-defunct website for a charity he founded in south Florida in 2019 to assist residents of his hometown of Jacmel on Haiti’s southern coast as a “certified diplomatic agent,” a kid advocate, and a future politician.
He briefly worked as a driver and bodyguard for a relief group founded by Penn in the aftermath of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed 300,000 Haitians and displaced tens of thousands. Additionally, he mentions the Canadian Embassy in Haiti as a previous employer. His Facebook profile, which was also removed upon news of his arrest, featured images of armored military equipment and a photograph of himself standing in front of an American flag.
Contacts made to the charity and acquaintances of Solages went unanswered. However, a cousin in south Florida stated that Solages lacks military experience and believes he was not engaged in the killing.
“I feel as though my son murdered my brother because I adore my president and James Solages,” Schubert Dorisme, whose wife is Solages’ aunt, told Miami’s WPLG.
Joseph refused to name the attackers, but stated that Mose had amassed a large number of enemies by taking on strong oligarchs who had benefited for years from too lavish state contracts.
Authorities have requested that presidential aspirant and well-known businessman Reginald Boulos and former Senate President Youri Latortue appear before prosecutors early next week for interrogation. There were no other information revealed, and none of the males have been charged.
According to analysts, whoever orchestrated the audacious attempt was almost certainly connected to a criminal underworld that has developed in recent years as corruption and drug trafficking have become entrenched. Even before to Mose’s assassination, Port-au-Prince had been on edge because to the growing influence of gangs, which displaced over 14,700 people last month alone as they set fire to and trashed homes in a territorial dispute.
Additionally, prosecutors want to question members of Mose’s security detail, including the president’s security coordinator, Jean Laguel Civil, and Dimitri Hérard, head of the National Palace’s General Security Unit.
“Where have you been if you are responsible for the president’s security?” Prosecutor Bed-Ford of Port-au-Prince According to French-language publication Le Nouvelliste, Claude stated. “How did you manage to spare the president this fate?”