The arrests took place this Tuesday in Miami. The new detainees are believed to have played a key role in the plot that led to the assassination of the Haitian head of state. The arrests were carried out almost a year and a half after the assassination. With these arrests, there are already 11 arrests in relation to the case.
The process that investigates the assassination of the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, advances in the United States. This Tuesday the arrest of four suspected of participating in the plot against the late head of state was learned. Two of them are citizens of the American Union, the other two permanent residents.
The arrests were made in the state of Florida. Those arrested were identified as Antonio Intriago, owner of the company ‘Unidad de Seguridad Contra el Terrorismo’ (CTU); Arcangel Pretel, CTU operator; Walter Veintemilla, head of the ‘Worldwide Capital Lending Group’, and Frederick Bergmann.
In a briefing, the US prosecutor Markenzy Lapointe indicated that with these arrests, the number of those arrested for the assassination of Moïse rose to 11. “It is extremely important to bring them to justice,” Lapointe said.
For his part, the assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice’s Homeland Security Division, Matthew Olsen, explained the alleged motivations. “According to the complaint, three of the defendants arrested today operated businesses here in South Florida and hoped to reap windfalls from security and construction contracts that would be awarded by those they believed would assume power in Haiti following the death of the president. Moise,” Olsen said.
The deputy attorney general also exposed findings from the investigation. Using “the use of code terms such as ‘screws,’ ‘nails,’ and ‘tools,’ to refer to weapons and ammunition, communications between the co-conspirators reveal a calculated plan that was intended to encourage civil unrest as a cover for the entry of the assassins to the president’s residence to carry out a coup that resulted in his death”.
What are the detainees accused of?
Joseph Tesmond, Intriago’s lawyer, indicated that this same day his defendant would appear in court. On another occasion, the defendant’s defense echoed some of his statements in which he highlighted having been “the victim of a scheme to assume power in Haiti.”
Tesmond further reported that the citizen he represents intends to plead not guilty at the (first) hearing. Intriago’s company, CTU, is accused of having been in charge of recruiting a group of inactive Colombian soldiers to carry out the assassination.
Veintemilla is charged with financing CTU with more than $170,000 for its activities in Haiti, while Bergman is charged with allegedly smuggling bulletproof vests to the mercenaries who carried out the assassination. Another of the endorsed charges is for not presenting the appropriate export documents for the armored implements from Miami to Haiti. The documentation stated that they were “school supplies” and “medical X-ray vests.”
According to the US authorities, the main plan of the plot, which would have had Intriago and Pretel as masterminds, was simply to remove Jovenel Moïse from office. For this they would have had as an alibi “a calculated plan designed to encourage civil unrest.”
Reactions on the case
The former Prime Minister of the Moïse Government, Claude Joseph, celebrated the news on his Twitter account. Joseph stated that “justice must prevail.”
The president’s widow, Martine Moïse, advocated earlier this month for the creation of a special United Nations tribunal to clarify the facts, arguing the obstacles facing the case in Haiti.
While the investigation advances in the United States, in the Caribbean nation it is almost frozen. At least four judges have led the inquiries. Three have abandoned the case for fear of threats, another was dismissed.
Haiti, in the midst of chaos and a power vacuum
Meanwhile, Haiti is plunged into an environment of extreme violence and poverty. On February 10, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the international community to “urgently consider” the formation of a force to help combat gangs.
Haiti had already outlined a similar idea last October, when it called for “a specialized armed force” to combat the gangs that, at that time, had seized a key terminal for the supply of fuel in the country.
The senior UN official described what the poorest nation on the continent is experiencing as “a living nightmare”, due to the actions of criminal gangs, which terrorize the people without the Government being able to do anything.
The Organization of American States also gave the green light to a resolution that aims to create a working group to address fundamental issues afflicting Haiti, including the creation of a force to help police restore order.
Another worrying issue is the little support that the current government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry has. After postponing the elections several times, Henry vowed to step down in 2024.
With AP, Reuters and EFE
#suspected #implicated #assassination #Haitian #president #arrested
Leave a Reply