Assassination in Haiti: Controversy as the Colombian government seeks lawyers to defend mercenaries

Opposition sectors and analysts have questioned the actions of the Colombian government after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti, for which 18 Colombian mercenaries are detained.

Once the involvement of former Colombian military personnel in the assassination was uncovered, media close to President Iván Duque released a government-backed version of events that portrayed it as a deception on the part of President Iván Duque. of those who supposedly hired them for the opposite: to support the Security of Moses.

For the Colombian analyst Aurelio Suárez, consulted by AL DÍA, “the government must take advantage of the investigations and cannot say that there was deception. It was defeated long ago. Those who are going to give a trial are the Haitian authorities, and Colombia must submit to them and respect them. If they are defeated at trial, there is nothing else to do but ensure due process.”

He even said that “it would be a unique precedent in Colombia, which has always respected the rules abroad. If Colombia hesitates on this, it risks entering a sort of zone of questioning its legitimacy at the international level.

The contact in Miami

In the meetings preceding the assassination of Moïse, according to what is known, a Venezuelan and Colombian citizen participated, who lent their company’s offices in Florida, and contacted and paid for the ex-servicemen’s trip to Port- to the Prince. It is the Colombian businessman Arcángel Pretel, security expert also known as Gabriel Pérez, and partner of the Venezuelan Antonio Intriago in the company CTU, in Florida.

In this regard, Senator Iván Cepeda, member of the Democratic Pole and opponent of the government, said AL DIA that “it is the responsibility of the Colombian authorities to investigate the relationship between these mercenaries and the companies that hired them in Miami. These companies seem to have carried out activities in Colombia and, of course, it is their duty to contribute to the investigation.

For his part, Suárez declares that “the events in Haiti are a disgrace for Colombia, and for any country, that military or ex-military, including mid-level officers, participate in an act of mercenary action to kill a president of a foreign country. Colombia must accept this as a national disgrace and an execrable act.

The defense of imprisoned mercenaries

What has caught the eye in recent weeks is the decision of the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office to send a delegation to Haiti to verify the conditions of the 18 Colombians and the government’s subsequent decision to seek lawyers to take charge of their defense.

At the time, Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez said “every detainee in the world must have the right to defense and due process” and said the government was “very concerned “by the lack of lawyers for the mercenaries.

“We are studying the possibility of finding an international lawyer, including Colombian, who knows Haitian law and who can at least have the support of a Haitian lawyer, if we do not find any Haitian lawyer willing to defend them,” said the senior civil servant, criticized by the opposition.

In this sense, Senator Iván Cepeda considered “that there is an impact on the symmetry between the efforts that exist to guarantee the rights of these people, but also the absence of explanations on the true origins of this operation”. .

Moreover, he was surprised by “this feverish activity around the defense of those involved in mercenary operations, but at the same time the government’s indolence in producing explanations for what happened. Also to formally apologize to the Haitian people for whom our government is politically responsible for having allowed people who were from the Army to participate in an operation of this nature.

Analyst Aurelio Suárez warned that “as Colombian citizens, they are entitled to the assistance that the country gives them. What is strange here is that it is only for them and there is no assistance for many other Colombians who, for different reasons, even minors, in the world are detained without legal assistance and completely helpless.

According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of September 1, 121,827 Colombians were detained abroad for various reasons. Of these, 29,439 are for drug trafficking, 15,527 for theft and 9,421 for homicide. There are 52,553 detainees, 44,378 under investigation, 17,067 on trial. In Venezuela, 17,618 Colombians are detained; in the United States, 15,674 and in Spain, 13,696. All three are the countries with the most Colombians in their prisons.

A little less than a month ago, after a meeting with the Haitian ambassador in Bogotá, Lucía Ramírez declared “that there can be no impunity” and that “we will not allow Colombia’s international image is linked to a land of mercenaries”.

Suárez said that “Colombia is not a country of mercenaries, but it is a country that exports mercenaries. For example, those who traveled to the United Arab Emirates a few years ago have been known to find themselves involved as private armed forces in the war against the Yemenis.

In the case of the mercenaries in Haiti, all eyes are on the Colombian government to see what their next move will be.

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