Haitian authorities arrested a US doctor as a suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

Haitian President Jovenel Moise onstage at a 2018 event.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit. He was killed Wednesday. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit
  • A doctor who has lived in the US was arrested as a suspect in the killing of Haiti’s president.
  • Authorities say the Haitian-born, Florida-based Christian Emmanuel Sanon recruited assailants.
  • The country’s police chief reportedly said Sanon went to Haiti in June with “political objectives.”
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Haitian officials say they arrested a Florida-based doctor as a suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, The New York Times reported Sunday.

According to The Washington Post, officials suspect Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a 63-year-old born in Haiti, of playing a leading role in the killing and recruiting others for the assassination.

Moïse was fatally shot early Wednesday at his home in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Authorities and news reports have indicated the assailants posed as US Drug Enforcement Agency agents before entering Moïse’s home.

Haiti’s national police chief, Léon Charles, said Sanon arrived in the country in early June by private plane with “political objectives,” The Times reported.

Charles accused Sanon of using a Venezuelan security firm based in the US to recruit assailants, according to The Post. The motive for the assassination is still not clear.

Two Americans – James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55 – are also among those arrested in connection to the killing. The Times reported that Solages and Vincent said that they worked as translators for the assailants and that the goal was to bring Moïse to the national palace but not to kill him.

Other suspects in the assassination include 18 Colombians, most of whom were former soldiers, The Times reported.

The country now has a power vacuum and no clear leader

The Post reported at least four men had claimed to be the leader of Haiti:

  1. Claude Joseph, the acting prime minister, who is internationally recognized but has been challenged domestically
  2. Ariel Henry, whom Moïse appointed as prime minister two days before his death
  3. Joseph Lambert, who was voted as acting president by the Senate, which currently has only a third of its 30 members
  4. Supreme Court Judge Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis, who was appointed as the interim president in February by an opposition group

On Friday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said that the Haitian government requested security and investigative assistance and that FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents would be sent to the country as soon as possible.

“The United States remains engaged and in close consultations with our Haitian and international partners to support the Haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president,” Psaki said.