The alleged mastermind behind the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has been arrested in Haiti. On October 19, the Haitian police detained Joseph Felix Badio, who stands accused of instigating and planning the assassination that took place in July 2021. Badio, a former agent of the Anti-Corruption Unit who was dismissed for serious ethical violations, was wanted by the police as one of the main orchestrators of the crime. The ex-police officer was captured inside a supermarket in Pétion-ville, a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince.
This arrest has the potential to shed light on a case that, more than two years later, remains shrouded in mystery. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Joseph Felix Badio had met with the current Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, on the eve of Moïse’s murder.
According to official reports, Moïse was tortured and killed at his private residence in the Pétion-ville neighborhood by a group of mercenaries, mostly Colombians, on July 7, 2021. The attack also left his wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, injured.
Several people have been detained in connection with the assassination, including 11 men in U.S. custody accused of orchestrating a plot between Haiti and Florida to eliminate Moïse and profit from renegotiated contracts with his successors. Additionally, in Haiti, the 18 Colombian ex-military personnel responsible for carrying out the murder remain in detention.
Haiti, chaos and sanctions
The assassination plunged Haiti into chaos, exacerbating the already complex situation in the Caribbean state. Moïse’s death created a power vacuum and sparked a subsequent power struggle among various politicians and armed family clans vying for control of the poorest country in the Americas.
Due to the instability and the strong presence of destabilizing criminal groups, the United Nations Security Council decided in 2022 to impose a package of sanctions on the country. These measures include a total arms embargo, asset freezes, and travel bans.
Coinciding with the arrest of the alleged mastermind behind the attack on Moïse, the United Nations has renewed these sanctions for another year, following a proposal presented by Ecuador and the United States that received unanimous support from the 15 members of the Security Council.
The resolution calls for the “immediate cessation of kidnappings, sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, homicides, extrajudicial executions, and the recruitment of children by armed groups.”
Additionally, the international organization approved the deployment of a Kenyan-led multinational force to help combat gangs in early October, although Kenya has not yet set a date for the deployment.