As three people each claim to be the rightful leader of the country, skepticism has greeted recent official statements that a a bible thumping Florida doctor, 63, is accused of leading plot to assassinate Haiti’s President
Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian doctor who is based in Florida, was arrested in connection with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination
Sanon recently entered Haiti on a private plane ‘with the intention of taking the Haitian presidency,’ – Haiti National Police
National Police said they also have evidence that Sanon was in contact with at least two other suspects, Haitian nationals who planned the assassination
His revealed he arrived on private jet before shooting with intention of taking over country
He’s the third person with US ties to be arrested in the murder
Sanon is accused of being one of the leaders of the assassination by recruiting CTU Security, which recruited the Colombians who carried out the hit
Three men are claiming to be the leader of the Caribbean country, which has plunged into chaos
In an effort to calm tensions, President Biden sent a delegation to Haiti on Sunday to help with security and aid in the investigation
Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise was murdered at home before dawn Wednesday by a team comprising of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans carried
Some of the people debriefing the captured mercenaries reported that several of the men said they intended to arrest the embattled president, not kill him
Police have arrested 19 of the 28 involved in the attack. However, reports of the number of assassins killed by police has been inconsistent through the days, varying from three to as many as seven, then back to three
Moise was accused of becoming a dictator and ruled by decree since Jan 2020
A Haitian doctor based in Florida has been arrested and accused of being ‘one of the leaders’ behind the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.
Christian Emmanuel Sanon who reportedly has presented himself as a potential leader of the Caribbean nation for as long as a decade, was arrested in Haiti, entered the country last month on a private plane ‘with the intention of taking the Haitian presidency,’ the National Police said in a statement on Sunday.
Sanon, 63, ‘is the first person the attackers called’ after President Moïse was shot dead early on Wednesday at his Port-au-Prince home, according the National Police.
Sanon who according to friends was planning to run for the presidency this year. However, on Friday authorities in Haiti announced that the long term Miami resident recruited some of the alleged assailants accused of killing Moïse last week through a Venezuelan security firm based in the United States by telling them they would be his bodyguards. Moïse was killed inside his home early on the morning of July 7.
Haitian authorities described the suspects as a unit of assassins made up of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans. Five Colombians are still on the loose.
Sanon is the third person with US ties to be arrested in connection with last week’s assassination. James Solages, 35, and Joseph G. Vincent, 55, both from South Florida, have been in custody since they turned themselves in.
Sanon allegedly recruited the Miami-based CTU Security, which is registered in Florida as the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LCC, and CTU Security recruited the Colombians who are accused of carrying out the hit.
The National Police said they also have evidence that Sanon was in contact with at least two other suspects who planned the assassination.
Police Chief Léon Charles say authorities raided Sanon’s house in Haiti and found 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts, four automobile license plates from the Dominican Republic and two cars and correspondence.
They also found a hat emblazoned with the logo of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – the same disguise the assassins are said to have used during the attack.
Charles said Sanon recruited the suspects, adding that he flew into Haiti with them in early June. The men’s initial mission was to protect Sanon, but they later received a new one: arrest the president, the chief said.
‘The operation started from there,’ he said, adding that an additional 22 suspects joined the group and that contact was made with Haitian citizens.
Charles said that after Moïse was killed, one of the suspects phoned Sanon, who then got in touch with two people believed to be the intellectual authors of the plot. He did not identify the masterminds or say if police knew who they are.
Sanon has lived in Florida, in Broward County and in Hillsborough County on the Gulf Coast. Records show he has also lived in Kansas City, Missouri. He filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and identifies himself as a doctor in a video on YouTube titled ‘Leadership for Haiti.’
Although he describes himself as a doctor he does not have a license in Florida, the Miami Herald reports.
Records show his bankruptcy filing in 2013 in Tamp. He also lost a home in Brandon to foreclosure with debt totaling more than $400,000.
In the video, he denounces the leaders of Haiti as corrupt, accusing them of stripping the country of its resources, saying that ‘they don’t care about the country, they don’t care about the people.’
He claims Haiti has uranium, oil and other resources that have been taken by government officials. ‘With me in power, you are going to have to tell me: ‘What are you doing with my uranium? What are you doing with the oil that we have in the country? What are you going to do with the gold?”
He also added: ‘This is a country with resources. Nine million people can’t be in poverty when we have so much resources in the country. It’s impossible. … The world has to stop doing what they are doing right now. We can’t take it anymore. We need new leadership that will change the way of life.’
Sanon has more than a dozen registered companies in Florida, including medical services, an energy company and real estate, but most are now inactive, the Herald reports.
He has also listed himself as church pastor at the Tabarre Evangelical Tabernacle and as president of a non-government organization called Organization Rome Haiti.
The rub is that despite the evidence Haitian authorities have presented against Sanon, many question the simplified explanation of the alleged plot. Chief among them: How a man who filed for bankruptcy in Florida in 2013, listing himself as a church pastor, could be behind what authorities have described as a commando operation in which more than 20 people have now been arrested.
In some sections of Haiti have expressed doubts about the government’s claims — and are wondering aloud whether presidential guards played a role in the assassination.
The unanswered question is how the killer squad penetrated the presidential villa with ease? For now, it’s unclear whether the assailants at the palace faced any resistance.
There has been no official linkage between the guards and the attack. But Colombian authorities said Monday that a senior figure in Moïse’s security detail took several trips through Bogotá in recent months.
Dimitri Hérard, head of security at the presidential palace, reportedly traveled through the Colombian capital to Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic between January and late May, they said.
Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, director of Colombia’s national police, said authorities are investigating what those trips entailed and are asking police in the other countries to do the same. Crystallizing this skepticism, prominent Haitian filmmaker Rachèle Magloire, has called the focus on Emmanuel Sanon a “red herring.”
“Police are trying to make people look away from the real questions about how these people entered the residency of the president without any of the guards being wounded,” she said.
Even political foes of the late president are not willing to give his security detail a pass. Former senator and presidential candidate Steven Irvenson Benoit, a Moïse critic, accused the president’s guards of a role in the assassination in a radio interview last week. Benoit was called for questioning Monday by prosecutors, he was accompanied by about a dozen activists and politicians. Alongside a rara band playing drums, a crowd outside the prosecutor’s office chanted “Arrest Dimitri Hérard!” and criticized the “politicization” of the investigation.
It goes back questions as to how the alleged mastermind got his financing. Sanon has projected himself as a physician and director of a philanthropic foundation that operated in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He claims he’s part owner of a humanitarian foundation called the Organization Rome Haiti, as well as an evangelical church and telecommunications company based in Tabarre, Haiti.
However in a 2013 U.S. bankruptcy filing in Florida, records show, he claimed his income was $5,000 a month.
The Florida Department of Health also said the department could not find any evidence that anyone with Sanon’s name was ever licensed to practice medicine in Florida.
The middle-of-the-night murder plunged the troubled Caribbean nation into chaos, with at least three men now claiming to be its leader. One Haiti expert, Duke University professor Laurent Dubois, believes questions over Moïse’s assassination could remain unanswered for a long time. “There are so many potential players who could be behind it,” he said.
“There is going to be some jockeying for positions of power. That is one big worry.”
In an effort to quell tensions, President Joe Biden acknowledged the county’s interim government’s request for help and sent a delegation of US officials to Haiti on Sunday to help with security and aid in the investigation.
They will report back to Biden on their findings as US debates its response.
In a new twist, the group of Colombians and Haitian Americans suspected of carrying out the assassination have reportedly told investigators they were there to arrest Moïse, not kill him.
Moïse was shot dead early on Wednesday at his Port-au-Prince home by what Haitian authorities say was a unit of assassins made up of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans, plunging the troubled Caribbean nation into deeper turmoil.
‘They probably were watching and waiting for the opportunity for them to do it,’ said Investigative Judge Clément Noël, who was among the first to question the two Haitian-Americans among the 19 suspects detained so far.
James A. Solages, 35, and 56-year-old Vincent Joseph, both from South Florida, insisted that the plan was not to assassinate him.
Their mission, Judge Noël and another person who debriefed the men said they were told, was to ‘arrest the president [at his home], and go to the presidential palace with him.’
The two Haitian Americans ‘said they were there, but they didn’t go to kill the president,’ Noël said.
‘They said they knew what happened, but they didn’t participate in the killing. They were there to translate.’
A source close to the investigation said the pair of Solages and Vincent, told investigators they were translators for the Colombian commando unit that had an arrest warrant.
But when they arrived, they found him dead.
Meanwhile, Haiti’s First Lady Martine Moïse is being treated for injuries in a Florida hospital, where she issued the recorded statement in Creole early Wednesday.
‘I’m alive, thanks to God,’ she said in the recording, which also played on local radio stations. ‘But I love my husband Jovenel. We fought together for more than 25 years.
‘During all these years, love radiated within the home. But suddenly, the mercenaries came and pelted my husband with bullets.’
Turning to the assassins who murdered her husband, the former first lady said: ‘You have to be a notorious criminal without guts to assassinate a president like Jovenel Moïse with impunity without giving him the chance to speak. You knew who the president was fighting against.
‘These people hired mercenaries to kill the president and his family because of the projects of roads, electricity, drinking water supply, organization of the referendum and elections.
‘The mercenaries who assassinated the president are currently behind bars, but other mercenaries currently want to kill his dream, his vision, his ideology.’ A look at the chaos in Haiti amid president’s assassination.
The news follows reports that some of the Colombians had said they had gone to work as security personnel on Haiti, including for Moïse himself.
The Miami Herald reported the detained Colombians said they were hired to work in Haiti by Miami-based company CTU Security, run by Venezuelan emigre Antonio Emmanuel Intriago Valera.
CTU and Intriago have gone dark – calls to a phone number associated with the company to an answering machine that made a reference to the TV character Jack Bauer, who fought terrorism in the series ’24.’
The murder and uncertainty about who hatched the plot is the latest in a succession of blows to hit the struggling country, which has appealed for international help.
Washington has so far rebuffed Haiti’s request for troops, though a senior U.S. official said on Sunday that Washington was sending a technical team to assess the situation.
Citing people who had spoken to some of the 19 suspects detained so far, the Miami Herald said they said their mission was to arrest Moise and take him to the presidential palace.
A source close to the investigation said the two Haitian Americans, James Solages and Joseph Vincent, told investigators they were translators for the Colombian commando unit that had an arrest warrant.
But when they arrived, they found him dead.
The news follows reports that some of the Colombians had said they had gone to work as security personnel on Haiti, including for Moise himself.
The Miami Herald reported the detained Colombians said they were hired to work in Haiti by Miami-based company CTU Security, run by Venezuelan emigre Antonio Enmanuel Intriago Valera.
Neither CTU nor Intriago could be reached for comment. One phone number associated with the company in public records sent calls to an answering machine that made a reference to the fictional TV character Jack Bauer, who fought terrorism in the series ’24.’
‘Thank you for calling CTU security. For Tony Intriago please leave a message or send a text. For Jack Bauer wait for the next season. Thank you for calling and have a great day.’
Social media profiles that appeared to belong to Intriago included a Facebook photo showing a man in tactical gear pointing a high-powered rifle.
Other photos on Instagram showed ammunition, guns, and people engaged in tactical training.
Photos and X-ray images posted on social media at the weekend said to be from Moise’s autopsy showed his body riddled with bullet holes, a fractured skull and other broken bones, underscoring the brutal nature of the attack.
Via social media, Haitians in parts of the capital Port-au-Prince were planning protests this week against the interim prime minister and acting head of state Claude Joseph.
Joseph’s right to lead the country has been challenged by other senior politicians, threatening to exacerbate the turmoil engulfing the poorest country in the Americas.
Meanwhile, one of Haiti’s top gang leaders, Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer known as Barbecue, said on Saturday his men would take to the streets to protest the assassination.
Cherizier, boss of the so-called G9 federation of nine gangs, said police and opposition politicians had conspired with the ‘stinking bourgeoisie’ to ‘sacrifice’ Moise.
Gunfire rang out overnight on Saturday in the capital, which has suffered a surge in gang violence in recent months, displacing thousands and hampering economic activity.
Moise had been ruling by decree since January 2020, with only 10 senators left in power and an entirely vacant lower chamber.
On Monday Moise had appointed Ariel Henry, a 71-year-old former minister of interior and respected neurosurgeon, as his latest prime minister.
Henry had not taken up the role by the time Moise was assassinated two days later, and so interim prime minister Claude Joseph has remained in power, with the support so far of the United States and UN.
Joseph said that as head of the government ‘who is still in function’, he and other members of the government held a special meeting of Haiti’s security apparatus and decided to ‘declare a state of siege throughout the entire country’.
The two-week declaration of martial law permits the police and security members to enter homes, control traffic and take special security measures and ‘all general measures that permit the arrest of the assassins’.
The decree also forbids meetings meant to incite disorder.
Pushing for stability and continuity, elections Minister Mathias Pierre said Joseph would keep that role until presidential and legislative elections are held on September 26.
‘This is part of the chaos certain people are trying to create in the country,’ said Pierre, blaming Joseph’s opponents for destabilizing the country.
‘For us, this is a second attempt to assassinate the president. We are doing what we have to do to establish stability and prepare for elections.’
Henry’s appointment was made unilaterally by Moise, without political agreement – leading many to question its legitimacy.
To further complicate matters, a third person on Friday then claimed to be the legitimate ruler.
Joseph Lambert, head of Haiti’s senate, was on Friday nominated to be interim president.
‘I was chosen unanimously,’ he says.
‘That doesn’t add to the conflict.