The motive behind the assassination of the Haitian president and suspicions about the alleged mastermind

The%20motive%20behind%20the%20assassination%20of%20the%20Haitian%20president%20and%20suspicions%20about%20the%20alleged%20mastermind
source: www.nytimes.com

The motive behind the assassination of the Haitian president and suspicions about the alleged mastermind promised the hitmen.

He was identified as Christian Emmanuel Sanon by the Haitian investigators, who managed to arrest him. The head of state, Jovenel Moise, was shot at his home on July 7

Authorities said Sunday they had arrested a Haitian man suspected of plotting to assassinate President Jovenel Moise, who allegedly recruited some of the attackers, and told them. That they would be his protectors.

Police say 63-year-old Christian Emmanuel Sanon had planned to take over the presidency and hire some people for his security team.

Sanon is a doctor with longstanding ties to Florida. The announcement of his arrest came as senior officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security arrived in Haiti on Sunday to discuss how the United States could help in the wake of Moise's murder last week.

The head of the National Police, Léon Charles, said Sanon landed in Haiti on a private plane in early June with "political objectives" and recruited a team through company-based Venezuelan security in the United States. However, the team's mission changed when one of its members was presented with an arrest warrant for Moise.

The president was shot and killed on July 7 by what authorities have described as a team of commandos at his home in Port-au-Prince.

Sporadic gunfire broke out in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, breaking the relative calm that followed Moise's assassination, as violent gangs threatened to fill the power vacuum in a country that now has no clear leader. An influential gang leader called his followers to the streets as residents closed their doors on the possibility of further bloodshed in a city already terrorized by criminal violence.

In the mystery and confusion that followed Moise's murder, gangs gave the city a respite from the torrent of gunfire that has killed hundreds this year. But while the answers remain elusive - the motive for the president's assassination remains unclear, and at least four men have claimed to be in command now - the peace has been broken.

The leader of the most powerful gang in the city, Jimmy Barbecue Cherizier, called his followers to the streets in the coming days to demand "justice against this cowardly murder carried out by foreign mercenaries in the country ." In a video message released on Saturday, the self-described revolutionary called on other gang leaders to join him in the violence.

A resident of the Martissant neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, a journalist in his 20s, spoke of fleeing if conditions worsen.

"Anyone who stays in Martissant can be a victim at any time," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. Anyone who decides to go on the road knows that there are three possibilities: either you die, or you get hurt, or you stay home safe and sound.

Among the four men claiming government leadership are Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon Moise appointed Prime Minister two days before his death. 

On Friday, ineffective senators voted in favor of the body's leader, Joseph Lambert, to nominate Haiti's acting president.

In February, an opposition faction declared Supreme Court Justice Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis acting president.

Joseph, who has been internationally recognized but questioned at home, has called on the United States and the United Nations to send troops to help provide security. The spokesman for the Pentagon, John Kirby, said Sunday that the request was being studied.

"We're looking at, as we would any other request for help here at the Pentagon," he told the host of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace.

Asked by Wallace if the events in Haiti were a matter of national security for the United States, he said: "I don't know where we can say that.

But we value our Haitian partners," Kirby said. "We value stability and security in that country. And that's why we want to send a team there today to help them understand precisely what has happened and the best way forward. "

US officials have pressured Joseph to make good on his promise to hold elections scheduled for September. 

But many here say that as long as gangs continue to rule the streets, elections are impossible.

The coalition of Cherizier and his group's leaders, called the G9 family and allies, say they are engaged in a revolution to free Haiti from a rich and corrupt political class.

Human rights organizations have accused Moise of having ties to Cherizier.

In his video message, in which he appeared in a work suit before a Haitian flag, he pointed to the country's Syrian and Lebanese businessmen, who he said: "are holding this country and its economy hostage ." He said they should leave the country: "It's about time people who look like us owned supermarkets in this country. It's time for us to hold the car dealerships and the banks. "

He said his followers "would practice what we call legitimate violence ." "If they shoot us, you know what to do," he said. "You are not children ."

On Saturday, hundreds of Haitians showed their passports outside the embassy of the United States in Tabarre to ask for asylum.

Earlier on Saturday, an audio clip appeared on the Twitter account of First Lady Martine Moise, who was injured in the attack in which her husband was killed and who is now receiving treatment in Florida. It was described as a message from the first lady.

"In the blink of an eye, mercenaries broke into my house and shot my husband," Moise says in the recording. She urged Haitians to continue their fight for Haiti.

Haitian authorities have described the assailants as a squad of 28 people, including former Colombian soldiers and their two Haitian-American interpreters.

The Miami Herald identified Sanon as a longtime Florida physician who has logged more than a dozen businesses in the state. Police said two other people had been implicated in the alleged scheme as "masterminds" of the murder but did not name them. Last week, the police detained two Haitian-Americans who were allegedly working as translators for the team; now, they have arrested at least 21 people, most Colombians.

A US government official, who spoke on anonymity to discuss the matter, expressed doubts about the authenticity of the recording of the first lady. 

The official said that after his injury and when the audio was released, it was suspected that he was in a medical condition to record such audio clips.

But a Haitian government official told the Washington Post that he had spoken to a First Lady's security team member at his Miami hospital to confirm the message.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of escalating violence, said he was concerned about the days leading up to the president's funeral, which has no date yet.

"Right now, we are trying to keep calm in the country," he said.