The New York times is reporting wild new details about an alleged connection between Haiti’s new prime minister and the main suspect in the assassination of his predecessor.
According to the story, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been in close contact with a man named Joseph Badio ever since the attack on former President Jovenel Moïse last July, including phone calls shortly before and after the hit. Badio is a former official in the Haitian government and is still wanted for his role. Despite that, the Times story says, he’s been able to pretty much move freely in Port Au Prince, including walking right up to the Henry’s official residence for a meeting.
How does the Times know all this? They interviewed a guy who admits to helping Badio carry out the plot himself.
In an extensive interview with The New York Times in an empty construction site while he was on the run from the authorities, Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman and former drug trafficker, admitted helping finance and plan the plot.
Shortly before the assassination, Mr. Jaar said, Mr. Badio told him that Mr. Henry would serve as a useful ally after the president was overthrown.
“He is my good friend, I have full control of him,” Mr. Jaar recounted Mr. Badio telling him when Mr. Henry, a 72-year-old neurosurgeon, was named prime minister.
After the assassination, Mr. Jaar said he and Mr. Badio stayed in contact with one another while dodging the authorities, and that the two even shared a safe house several days after the murder.
In the hours after the killing, when police officers trapped the Colombian mercenaries accused of carrying out the assault, Mr. Jaar said Mr. Badio had sought help from Mr. Henry to escape. According to Mr. Jaar, Mr. Henry responded that “he would make some calls,” though his claims could not be independently verified.
Three Haitian officials involved in the investigation have confirmed that Mr. Henry was in touch with Mr. Badio on multiple occasions. The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the case publicly, argued that Mr. Henry would be a formal suspect in the investigation if he were not leading the government.
Haiti, in addition to being the poorest country in the West and on the bad end of European colonization, chattel slavery, a U.S. invasion, brutal dictatorships and general exploitation, a savage earthquake, has also been in political turmoil pretty much since it became an in 1804.
It wouldn’t be a shock if it turned out that the current prime minister was involved in having his predecessor killed but we were hoping for better.
Meanwhile, Henry’s time in power almost came to an end similar to Moïse’s; he survived a near miss by assassins on New Year’s Day.