Haitians hope ‘the truth will come out’ as foreign investigators investigate brutal murder of their president

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Moise was killed at his home on Wednesday in a shocking incident whose motives, means and brains are still being investigated by authorities. At least 28 people are suspected in the plot, of which 26 are Colombians and two are US citizens, according to government figures.

But a deep mistrust of the official narrative reigns in certain neighborhoods of the capital Port-au-Prince. Former influential lawmaker and opposition politician Steven Benoit, for example, told CNN on Saturday that he refused to believe information provided by the remaining government, currently headed by interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

Benoit drew local and international attention for his insistence that Colombian detainees were just the hapless scapegoats for an unspecified local perpetrator. However, standing in the sunny lobby of a Haitian radio station, he also admitted to CNN that he had no direct evidence to support the theory. He was summoned Monday before the prosecutor of the Republic of Haiti as part of the investigation.

Haiti assassination allegedly involved Americans and retired Colombian military officials, officials say
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On the same day, the sister of a retired Colombian sergeant – who was named as a suspect and died in a clash with Haitian security forces – spoke to offer new details about her brother, including including text messages from the day Moses died. assassination.

She, too, said she did not believe her brother could have been involved in the murder, citing a phone conversation they had on the day the president died.

People cheer as a police car drives past the police station where gunmen accused of being involved in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise were held in Port-au-Prince on July 8.
The police search the Morne Calvaire district in Pétion-Ville in search of suspects still at large in the murder.

But international assistance in the ongoing Haiti investigation could potentially encourage greater public confidence in its findings and impartiality, not to mention its progress, several people in the capital told CNN, including sources in the capital. within the Haitian law enforcement agencies.

The United States and Colombia have engaged experts in expanding research in Haiti, and despite his skepticism, former lawmaker Benoit said on Saturday he was eagerly awaiting to hear the final results of the investigation. reinforced.

“The good news is that the FBI is here, the equivalent of the Colombian FBI arrived yesterday. They are professionals. And I hope that by Monday morning – before going to the DA’s office – the truth will burst, ”said Benoit. .

Help the Haiti investigation

Earlier in the week, Haiti made several requests for foreign aid regarding security in the country and the investigation into Moise’s death.

A special Colombian police unit arrived in the country on Saturday to help investigate the assassination, according to Haiti’s Communication Secretary Frantz Exantus. The Colombian National Police also confirmed to CNN that the director of the country’s National Intelligence Agency and the director of the police intelligence division are in Haiti, as well as Interpol personnel assigned to the Colombian police.

FBI and Homeland Security officials to visit Haiti

The reinforcements followed previous statements by Colombian officials that at least 13 retired Colombian military personnel who visited Haiti in recent months are implicated in the assassination, as well as the injury of the Haitian first lady. Martine Moise.

Senior US agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security will also be dispatched to the troubled nation “as soon as possible” to help determine how and why the president was assassinated, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki .

However, the United States said on Saturday that despite a request from the administration of acting Prime Minister Joseph, it had no plans to send troops to Haiti. “There is no military assistance plan at the moment,” a senior administration official told CNN.

Since no other attacks have targeted key infrastructure like ports and energy – vulnerable areas that Joseph’s government cited in its request for support of foreign troops – the Haitian government takes the Pentagon statement in the wake, Election Minister Mathias Pierre told CNN.

“If I trust the Pentagon’s statement, it’s more of a prudent decision,” Pierre said. “So far things are normal here, no chaos, but we are still in a volatile situation.”

Inspector General of Police Léon Charles speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minister's residence on July 08.

A political landscape that changes day by day

Meanwhile, the political maneuvering in the vacuum left by Moise’s death can have their own disorienting effect on onlookers, as potential challenges for the leadership of Acting Prime Minister Joseph emerge and dissipate.

Joseph pledged to retain power until the presidential and legislative elections are held in September. “This is our job, and this is what we intend to do,” Pierre said, adding that it would honor Moise’s memory.

It is certainly true that Haiti is in desperate need of elected lawmakers, after Moise has repeatedly failed to hold elections at various levels of government. Parliament became dysfunctional in January 2020, when the terms of two-thirds of the Senate’s 30 members expired, leaving just 10 senators in office.

But critics of the government say the country is unable to hold a free and free vote, with extreme gang violence preventing many movements in Port-au-Prince.

Guards guard the morgue where President Jovenel Moise's body was held on Saturday.

The handful of remaining Senate members on Friday appointed one of their own, Senator Joseph Lambert, as Haiti’s interim president – a direct challenge to the current interim leadership, albeit short-lived. Less than 24 hours later, he appeared to withdraw, saying on Saturday his swearing-in was postponed without giving a new date for the event.

“The Senators have decided to postpone the oath for this afternoon. They all want to be present to actively participate in the nomination,” he said in a tweet on Saturday, before adding: “There is a urgent need to rebuild hope in the country. “

CNN’s Caitlin Hu, Etant Dupain, Natalie Gallon and Matt Rivers reported from Port-au-Prince. CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon reported from Bogota, DJ Judd from Washington and Radina Gigova from Atlanta.

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