Washington, DC — A new investigative article by CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston reveals new details about suspects in the plot to assassinate Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse in July last year, and their connections to a murky, earlier “Petit Bois” conspiracy a year ago that was supposedly aimed at ousting Moïse and resulted in the mass, illegal arrests of more than a dozen people. Among other details, Johnston reveals the identity of an individual who impersonated a former State Department officer in an effort to build support for a conspiracy against Moïse.
The article, “They Fooled Us,” is based on interviews with individuals involved in, or close to, the supposed plots against Moïse; former US government officials; and associates of people connected to the plots; and on business records, government documents, and other primary source information.
While much remains unknown, what is clear is that even to many of those implicated in the assassination and the attempted “coup” months earlier, nothing is as it seems. Meanwhile, the entire saga is connected to a still unsolved assassination 20 years earlier.
The article also reveals:
- The individual who impersonated a former State Department official was also in direct communication with Dimitri Herard and Jean Laguel Civil, two of the slain president’s top security officials, who are now both in jail.
- Joseph Felix Badio, one of the principal suspects in the president’s assassination, was in direct communication with this individual as far back as August 2020. Badio was fired from his government job due to an allegation he solicited a $30,000 bribe from the individual, who also facilitated a $30,000 money transfer from Mexico in late 2020.
- Multiple sources say they informed the US Embassy of what was happening at Petit Bois before the alleged plotters were arrested on February 7, 2021, and that the Haitian government was also aware of what was happening.
- Christian Sanon, the alleged mastermind of the president’s assassination, had been planning a transitional government since at least early 2019. During a conversation in September 2019, he claimed to have the support of the Trump administration and that he had even met Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
- Two people intimately involved in Sanon’s plan to remove Moïse, Bob Balthazar and Helen Manich, both claimed to work for the US government.
- Arcángel Pretel Ortiz, who recruited the Colombian mercenaries who were arrested following the assassination, has a long history with the FBI.
- The same day in early June that a group of Colombian mercenaries entered Haiti from the Dominican Republic, so too did Dimitri Herard.
- President Moïse was aware of Sanon’s activity nearly a month prior to the assassination.
- Moïse had wanted to throw support in the next elections to someone other than his predecessor, Michel Martelly — setting off an internal power struggle on the eve of his assassination.
- President Moïse received a direct warning about the assassination the weekend before it took place.
- The morning of the assassination, two Haitian-Americans, long-time DEA informant Joseph Vincent and James Solage, were witnessed in shirts and ties in broad daylight, behind a police roadblock.
- New details on the relationship between Badio and Ariel Henry, the current acting prime minister, including multiple phone calls in the weeks ahead of the assassination. Their relationship dates to at least 2015, when Henry attempted to hire Badio as his chief of intelligence while serving as minister of the interior.
The full article is here. Johnston’s previous writings related to the assassination are available here and here.