Diaspora

Colombian Man Pleads Not Guilty To Conspiring To Kill Haiti's President Jovenel Moise – The Organization for World Peace

On April 4, Mario Antonio Palacios pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to kidnap or murder former Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Palacios was a former Colombian soldier who was hired by Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian doctor, through a Miami-based security company called CTU. Palacios claims to have been unaware of the planned assassination of Moise, believing that he was hired solely to protect Sanon. 
The Haitian Police Chief, Léon Charles believes that the Colombians involved with the murder might have been misled and uninformed of the planned assassination. Charles states, “The initial mission that was given to these assailants was to protect the individual named Emmanuel Sanon, but afterward the mission changed.” Similarly, Alfredo Izaguirre, Palacio’s defense attorney, states “He is simply a soldier who was taken from Colombia to Haiti. This was orchestrated by other people.”  Izaguirre has entered a not-guilty plea at a brief hearing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. 
Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his residence last year on July 7, 2021, yet minimal progress has been made on the case. Several people were arrested in connection with the murder, but the investigation has been largely stagnant. Many details regarding the case remain unclear and ambiguous. Moreover, the CTU’s role in the assassination has not been closely examined, leaving many questions unanswered and justice delayed. How does an American-based organization become involved with the assassination of a foreign president? What are the legal implications of this? There needs to be a more thorough investigation into the various players involved in this assassination and their motives. 
Mario Palacios was the first to be charged in connection with the murder by the U.S. Department of Justice last November, according to the Jurist. If convicted, Palacios faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He was detained in Jamaica and scheduled to be deported to Colombia when the United States extradited Palacios during his layover in Panama. According to the Haitian National Police, Palacios was part of a group known as the “Delta Team” that gunned down Moise. Including them, a mercenary group of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans were believed to be involved in the killing of Moise.
The group was hired by Sanon through the CTU, which failed to perform due diligence. Some believe that the CTU may have been directly involved in the assassination. The entire operation is believed to have occurred due to Sanon’s political motives and desire to replace Moise as Haiti’s president. Additionally, figures such as the former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph and former official Joseph Felix Badio are being investigated. Despite the arrest of many, there have been delays in the investigation as several key judges resigned from the case due to intimidation and threats of violence. 
The arrest of dozens of people in relation to the murder yet no charges or progress in the case has left a political vacuum in Haiti, Reuters states. The country has been experiencing an economic crisis and political unrest and the delays in the case have contributed to rising tensions. This case must be unraveled so that justice is granted on behalf of the Haitian people and the life lost.
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