The “big fish” who orchestrated the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise remain at large, a government prime minister has admitted as the Caribbean country unveils a new prime minister to defuse a nascent struggle for power.
Police named two Haitian citizens as key suspects in the murder: a Florida-based pastor called Christian Emmanuel Sanon and former intelligence officer Joseph Felix Badio. Colombian police chief General Jorge Luis Vargas said on Friday that Badio could have ordered two retired Colombian soldiers to assassinate Moses in the early hours of July 7 for reasons that remain unclear. Sanon was arrested in Haiti last week, and Badio’s whereabouts are unknown.
But speaking to the Guardian, Haitian Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said he doubted Sanon and Badio were the main architects of a brazen crime some fear would plunge the Caribbean country into a new chapter of volatility. .
“Such an assassination plot is not the work of two people [alone] Pierre said, referring to the pair.
“We know there are big fish out there who wanted death and are part of the plot to kill the president… There are more powerful people behind it,” the 54-year-old politician added.
Pierre admitted that the identity of these conspirators remained unknown: “But we think the president had a lot of enemies – people who did not agree with his plan and his programs, and certainly with his agenda. And we think they could be linked to this crime.
Sanon, a 63-year-old pastor, was arrested in Haiti on July 11 after traveling to its capital, Port-au-Prince, the previous month on a private jet. Reports suggest he had half-baked dreams of leading a multibillion-dollar reconstruction of his homeland and becoming one of Haiti’s top leaders.
According to the Washington Post, two US-based companies – Worldwide Investment Development Group and CTU Security – had planned to assemble a private security team to protect Sanon upon his return to Haiti and begin work to achieve those goals.
However, Peter said he believed Sanon was not the chief architect of the murder but rather was “used by some people” with a grudge against Moses. The precise nature of this grudge is not clear but Pierre asserted that there were influential Haitian personalities “feeling that their personal interests were in danger and they wanted to do everything to get rid of them. [of the president]”.
“But we would never have thought that the assassination was part of the game plan,” Pierre added on Monday as Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced he was stepping down in favor of the politician he Moses had appointed as his new prime minister shortly before he was killed.
Ariel Henry, who was to be appointed prime minister on the day of Moses’ murder, has received support from foreign governments, including the United States, Brazil, Canada and the EU.
“There is no power struggle,” Pierre said after Joseph’s decision to resign, which followed days of speculation over who was in charge of Haiti.
Moïse is to be buried on Friday in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. His wife, who was injured in the attack on their home, returned to Haiti last Saturday after being rushed to the United States for emergency treatment following the murder.
Peter said that Moses spoke on several occasions of alleged plots to assassinate him, “but there was no immediate threat.”