Two Haitian Americans with ties to South Florida – including one who previously worked as a bodyguard at the Canadian embassy in Haiti – are among President Jovenel Moïse’s 28 suspected killers, officials said Thursday.
James Solages, 35, and Vincent Joseph, 55, were said to have participated in the blatant attack on the Haitian leader, who was allegedly shot a dozen times at his home in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, officials said . His wife, Martine, was seriously injured.
The two men marched with 15 other suspects, all of Colombian nationality, in front of reporters at a press conference Thursday evening. In total, the squad consisted of 28 armed men, including 26 Colombians, officials said.
Despite the Haitian authorities’ posting of the American suspects, who were seated near two tables filled with guns, machetes, bulletproof vests and cell phones, their alleged involvement in the murderous plot was shrouded in mystery. .
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It was not clear why the Haitian government thought they were involved, how long they had been in the country, how and when they got there, or even what their motive was, the Miami Herald reported.
U.S. officials said they were aware of the charges against U.S. citizens, but could not comment on the allegations due to privacy concerns, the newspaper said.
It was confirmed Thursday evening that Solages had previously worked for a company that had vowed to provide security for the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince, the Herald reported.
“We are aware of allegations involving a person who was briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard by a security company hired by Global Affairs Canada in 2010,” a government official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity due to of the unstable situation in Haiti.
Solages, who lived in Tamarac, a Florida town in the Fort Lauderdale area, has no criminal record, according to the Herald, which cited divorce proceedings in the United States but no other legal issues.
His aunt, Victorie Dorisme, told the newspaper she learned of the allegations against him from Haitian television – and was puzzled as to how the South Florida maintenance worker became a suspected international assassin.
“I’ve never heard of him in this kind of issue,” Dorisme told the Herald, adding that Solages had his mail forwarded to his address as he moved to another house due to his divorce.
She said he divided his time between working as a building maintenance officer and running a small charity.
Solages described himself on his charity website as a “certified diplomatic agent” and a former bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti – but that website appears to have ceased to function, the newspaper reported, adding that calls and emails to the charity had not been returned.
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In a statement, Canada’s Department of Foreign Relations did not refer to Solages by name, but said one of the men detained in the assassination had been “briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard” at its embassy by a private entrepreneur.
Solages’ now deleted Facebook page said he attended Fort Lauderdale high school, the outlet said.
Between 2015 and 2018, he continued his education at Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek and then Florida Career College, where he said he earned an associate’s degree in information technology, the Herald said, citing his social media page.
Solages – who said he was from the port city of Jacmel on the south coast of Haiti – had a Florida registered business called FWA SA A JACMEL AVAN INC, which he described on LinkedIn as an economic empowerment charity. , according to the newspaper.
He also has a business – EJS Maintenance & Repair LLC – with two other Haitian men, who are also affiliated with the charity, the Herald said, citing Florida business records. His LinkedIn page also describes him as the CEO of the renovation company.
“Experienced building engineer specializing in infrastructure, equipment, HAVC and painting with a proven track record in the hospital and healthcare industry,” he wrote on his LinkedIn page.
“Customer service, strategic planning, budgeting, team building, leadership, public speaking and training skills,” he added.
He cited Spanish, English, French and Haitian Creole as the languages he speaks. His Facebook page recently showed him dressed in a business suit, and he posted images of armored vehicles, the newspaper reported.
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The LinkedIn page now lists him as the director of operations at the plant in Lantana, about 40 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, for a company called Senior Lifestyle, which manages senior communities nationwide.
In Lantana, he operates the Carlisle Palm Beach, which describes itself as “an upscale resort-style senior living option.” Workers there refused to tell the Herald if Solages worked there.
Meanwhile, virtually nothing is known about Joseph, who Haitian authorities say lives or lived in Miami.
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