Assassination Of Haiti's President Linked To Suspected Drug Traffickers

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Five months have passed since Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his own home. While more than 45 people have been arrested in connection with the fatal home invasion, no one has been charged with a crime. Now, new information is surfacing revealing a possible reason the attack was carried out.

According to The New York Times, Moïse had put together a list of suspected drug and weapons traffickers –– some of whom were among the island nation's oligarchs and political figures –– and was prepared to reveal it before he was gunned down in his bed on July 7, 2021.

Moïse's document, the report said, would expose the intricate network of traffickers who've grown in power in Haiti, some comparing the country to a narco-state due to the widespread smuggling, and corruption that helped powerful gangs, oligarchs, and government officials avoid punishment.

The Times' Maria Abi-Habib, who authored the report, said Moïse was ready to hand the information over to the US government including details of his predecessor, Michel Martelly, involvement in the illicit network.

"Michel Martelly has people around him that have always been suspected of being narco-traffickers," Abi-Habib told PBS News Hour. "One of the people," the journalist added, "was hugely influential on Michel Martell's cabinet and also in President Moïse's is a man named Charles 'Kiko' Saint-Remy, Kiko being his nickname."

The DEA says Kiko, who is also the brother in law of Martelly, is suspected of being one of the biggest drug traffickers in Haiti.

Reports speculate that Moïse had turned on some of Kiko's and Martelly's corrupt allies after being considered a "loyal successor" which may have prompted the assassination.

Moïse himself had been accused of corruption before taking office, and he had reportedly ignored the illicit involvement of others to "be able to do his own things, like provide electricity and infrastructure."

Still, the attack seemed to have been carried out after the president began investigating the industries –– including the eel industry –– ran by Kiko and other powerful figures authorities say are fronts for complex drug operations.

"This started to actually really hit where it hurts, which is your wallet," Abi-Habib explained. "And you can't have a political figure without a big chunk of change in your pocket."

Abi-Habib believes the investigation into Moïse's killing has stalled, though local authorities dispute the claim.

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