The U.S. Justice Department charged four men — three Haitian Americans and a Colombian national — in connection with the 2021 murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. The four were transferred from Haiti, where the assassination case has stagnated amid death threats against judicial officials.
The four men are considered to be some of the ringleaders in the assassination plot, the U.S. alleges they met April 2021 in South Florida to “discuss regime change in Haiti” and support for one of them, Christian Sanon, an aspiring Haitian politician, to replace Moïse. Over the next month, the goal of ousting the president in Haiti escalated from a kidnapping scheme to an assassination plot, according to investigators.
The suspects are scheduled to make their first appearance in court in Miami today.
A total of seven suspects in the case are now in U.S. custody. Dozens of others still languish in Haiti’s main penitentiary, which is severely overcrowded and often lacks food and water for inmates.
Haitian government’s parallel probe is currently on its fifth investigative judge, four others were dismissed or resigned for personal reasons. More than 40 people have been arrested in Haiti in relation to the investigation, but none have been formally charged.
- Violence in Colombia decreased significantly in January, the first month of a ceasefire between the government and four armed groups. Interior Minister Alfonso Prada said that there were fewer homicides and attacks on armed forces. (Reuters)
- Brazil is preparing a task force of armed forces, police and government agencies for an operation, dubbed “Yanomami Shield,” to expel illegal gold miners who invaded the country’s largest Indigenous reservation. More than 20,000 wildcat miners are blamed for bringing disease, violence and hunger that have caused a humanitarian crisis for isolated Yanomami villages, reports Reuters.
- Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cuba reached all-time lows on Transparency International’s corruption index, released yesterday. In Latin America, Nicaragua and Venezuela are the lowest ranked as each struggles with public institutions infiltrated by criminal networks, the report notes. (Reuters)
- Nicaraguan authorities said Friday they arrested 24 settlers after they allegedly attacked an indigenous community as part of a land dispute. (Associated Press)
- Honduran authorities ordered the exhumation of the body of a land defender who died under unclear circumstances near the country’s Caribbean coast on Saturday. Garifuna activists say Ricardo Arnaúl Montero was killed in relation to a long-running land dispute, reports the Associated Press.
- President Xiomara Castro’s government has not been decisive in fulfilling its international human rights obligations in its first year in office, according to Amnesty International which called on Honduras’ government to more forcefully ”counteract the dark legacy of previous governments.”
- Venezuelan opposition representatives met with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares. It is the start of a Europe tour in which they hope to unlock frozen national funds to finance a humanitarian deal with the government, reports Bloomberg.
- Dinorah Figuera, the new president of Venezuela’s parallel opposition-run legislature hopes the United States will back the body by continuing to protect foreign assets like oil refiner Citgo Petroleum from creditors, she told Reuters.
- A high-stakes trial in the UK between an investment fund and the Cuban government over Castro-era debt is seen as a test case on defaulted sovereign debt. (CNBC)
- The new issue of Americas Quarterly examines the many lessons Uruguay can give the region. “It is by many measures Latin America’s most economically prosperous country, its least corrupt, and its strongest democracy.”
- The country is far from perfect, writes Brian Winter noting growing crime and homicides, and an underperforming economy. But its many lessons on building a vibrant democracy include a strong social safety net and the importance of institutions.
Just Caribbean Updates