September 19, 2021

Assassination of Jovenel Moïse: who is Christian E. Sanon, presumed mastermind of the commando operation?

It is a scenario worthy of an obscure thriller that is emerging around the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. On Sunday, the authorities announced that they had arrested one of the alleged instigators of the operation: Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a 63-year-old national.

The latter is suspected of having ordered the operation during which the president was executed, on July 7 in the middle of the night, in his residence, by a commando group made up of two Haitian Americans and 26 former Colombian soldiers – three were killed by police, 18 arrested and five are still at large. According to the latest elements of the investigation, revealed on Sunday, July 10, Christian Emmanuel Sanon’s initial plan was not the execution of Jovenel Moïse, but his arrest, in order to take his place.

Political ambition

Christian Emmanuel Sanon was born in 1958 in the town of Marigot, in the south-east of the country. He returned to Haiti in June, according to police, after living in Florida for many years. On histwitter account, the man presents himself as a doctor of medicine and a Christian pastor who brings ‘leadership for Haiti through a life of affirmative action and absolute integrity.’ In a video that looks like a campaign spot, posted on his YouTube account in 2011, Christian Emmanuel Sanon criticizes the corruption of the Haitian elites, the hold of the international community on the country and affirmshis desire to embody the political alternativethat the people need. “70% of the Haitian population is under 30 years old. They are young, they want to work and they are waiting for someone to come and create these jobs so that they can make a living from their work. That’s what I want to get them, ”he said then, looking serious.

A troubled past

Christian Emmanuel Sanon therefore saw himself as the future reformer president of a country in ruins. But what looked like the start of a political campaign 10 years ago will go unanswered. The man stops feeding his networks and will no longer publish videos. Faced with serious financial problems, Christian Emmanuel Sanon could have been forced to temporarily abandon his major projects because, according to theMiami Herald, he filed for bankruptcy in 2013 in Tampa, Florida. In debt, he would then have lost his house and moved several times. His professional career in the United States is murky to say the least: he owns several companies declared in his name, most of which are inactive and, according to reporters from the Miami Herald, does not hold a medical license in Florida, although he is present as doctor.

Christian Emmanuel Sanon was also co-director of a humanitarian organization called ‘Rome Haiti’, based in Florida. Created shortly before the terrible earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people in 2010, the NGO would have managed to collect and send nearly 100,000 euros of equipment in three months, to help the victims, as well as about sixty doctors and nurses, according to the American television channel Bay News 9,who then devotes several reports to him.

Multiple shadow areas

According to the police investigation, Christian Emmanuel Sanon arrived in Haiti in early June aboard a private plane accompanied by Colombian security agents, hired to protect him. “The mission then changed,” National Police Director Leon Charles said on Sunday, explaining that a plan had been made to arrest the president. “The operation was mounted from there: 22 other individuals then entered Haiti,” he added.

Police interrogations of the 18 Colombian citizens arrested revealed that Christian Emmanuel Sanon had recruited the 26 members of the commando through the services of a Venezuelan security company called CTU, based in Florida, authorities say. Since the assassination, he has reportedly been in contact with several people involved in the operation, including one of the attackers. Police also said they discovered several clues during the search of his home, including cartridges and parts of firearms.

While everything now seems to accuse Christian Emmanuel Sanon, many gray areas nonetheless persist as to his degree of involvement. How did the latter, ruined ten years earlier, finance such a large-scale operation? Why was the president summarily executed and not arrested, as foreseen in the initial plan according to some of the protagonists? The police director, for his part, announced that in addition to the criminal investigation to identify responsibilities, an investigation should also shed light on possible complicity within the police, which would have allowed the commando to act. unimpeded.