The U.S. accuses former Colombian soldier of assassinating Haitian president

The man told U.S. officials that he had been hired to travel to Haiti to provide security and to take part in a crackdown on President Jovenel


The U.S. government announced on Tuesday that it had opened fire on one of the main suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse as he revealed a complaint that authorities had interviewed him a few months ago while he was hiding in Jamaica.

Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, 43, a former Colombian soldier, faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material assistance leading to his death, knowingly or intentionally that such support would be used to prepare. or conspire to kill or kidnap.

He appeared in Miami state court on Tuesday afternoon but did not apply. Palacios, who was wearing jeans and a gray T-shirt with his hands and feet bound, told the judge he wanted to be appointed as a lawyer. After answering questions about his income and assets, including the fact that he owned a home in Cali, Colombia, and received a military pension of nearly $ 370, he was given limited financial advice.

Court-appointed attorney Alfredo Izaguirre told U.S. Magistrate Alicia Otazo-Reyes to suggest that Palacios remain in custody because he had no immigration status, relatives or ties to the United States. The judge ordered his detention and said he would be in danger of fleeing.

Palacios is expected to appear in court again in Jan. 31. Izaguirre said his client would plead not guilty during the trial.

Growing questions about the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

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An unspecified complaint Tuesday states that Palacios voluntarily spoke to US authorities in October and told them he had been hired to travel to Haiti to provide security and to participate in operations suspected of arresting the president. He said the first plan was for his co-workers to wear black hats, catch Moïse at the airport in June and take him on a plane. Palacios then said his unidentified colleagues told him on July 6, the day before his assassination, about a plot to assassinate Moïse.

Palacios was arrested in Jamaica in October and was scheduled to fly to Colombia on Monday. However, Interpol informed Palacios during his suspension in Panama that the US government was extraditing him, Gen said. Jorge Luis Vargas, Colombian police director.

He said Colombia, Jamaica and the US were in contact to coordinate the deportation and repatriation of Palacios to the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a media statement that Palacios had agreed to travel to the US while living in Panama.

Interpol has issued a stern warning to Palacios on charges including attempted murder, armed robbery and conspiracy based on a request from the Haitian government.

The Haitian prime minister's office has issued a brief statement saying it wanted justice for Moïse's assassination on July 7 in his bathroom. The office did not respond to any inquiries, including whether the government still wants to charge Palacios or send him back to Haiti.

Former Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said the US capture of Palacios was a step in the right direction, but urged local authorities to work with the US to extradite him to deal with justice in Haiti.