Life Sentence for Retired Colombian Army Officer Involved in Haitian President's Assassination Plot

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 This marks the second sentencing in a case involving 11 suspects detained and charged in Miami for their roles in a plot that unfolded in both Haiti and Florida, aimed at hiring mercenaries to either kidnap or kill the Haitian president.

Jovenel Moïse

Photo: Office of USAID Administrator

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Leer en español: Cadena perpetua para oficial retirado del ejército colombiano involucrado en el complot de asesinato del presidente haitiano

Life Sentence Handed Down in Miami

A federal judge in Miami handed down a life sentence to a retired Colombian army officer for his involvement in a 2021 plot to assassinate Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse. This event caused unprecedented chaos in the Caribbean nation.

Second Conviction in Miami

Germán Alejandro Rivera García, aged 45 and known as "Colonel Mike," becomes the second of eleven suspects arrested and charged in Miami to be sentenced. U.S. prosecutors have described this as a conspiracy that unfolded in both Haiti and Florida, aimed at hiring mercenaries to either kidnap or kill Moïse, who was tragically murdered at his private residence near Port-Au-Prince on July 7, 2021.
Rivera had previously pleaded guilty in September to conspiring and supporting the assassination plot against the Haitian president. Court documents revealed his involvement in a convoy en route to Moïse's residence on the day of the assassination. He had relayed information indicating that the plan was not to kidnap but to kill the president.
Rivera faced the possibility of a life sentence. However, he now hopes that his sentence could be reduced due to a cooperation agreement he has entered into with U.S. authorities.

Sentencing by Judge Martínez

In some cases, U.S. attorneys recommend sentence reductions when a convicted individual assists with an ongoing investigation. Federal Judge José E. Martínez delivered the sentence during a brief hearing in Miami that lasted less than half an hour. After Rivera requested to remain in a South Florida federal prison, the judge said, "Good luck to you, Mr. Rivera."
This sentencing follows the June imprisonment of Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar, who received a life sentence for his involvement in Moïse's assassination. Former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph is scheduled for sentencing in December, with eight additional defendants awaiting trial in the United States next year.
Rivera appeared at the hearing dressed in a beige prisoner's outfit, handcuffed and with ankle shackles, alongside his attorney. When asked if he had any statements, he replied, "Not at the moment, your honor."
According to the charges, Rivera, Jaar, Joseph, and others, including around 20 Colombian citizens and several Haitian-Americans, were part of the conspiracy. Initially, the plan was to kidnap President Moïse, but it was later changed to an assassination plot. Investigators allege that the conspirators aimed to secure contracts under a potential successor to Moïse.
Moïse was killed when assailants broke into his home; he was 53 years old at the time.
Over 40 suspects in the case remain detained in Haiti, where they have been held for more than two years following the assassination. This extended detention continues as the latest investigative judge conducts interrogations. Among those arrested post-assassination are 18 former Colombian soldiers who are currently in custody in Haiti.
The case received a significant breakthrough last week when key suspect Joseph Félix Badio, who had previously worked at Haiti's Ministry of Justice and in the government's anti-corruption unit, was apprehended in Port-au-Prince after more than two years on the run.

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Haiti's Turmoil

Since the assassination, Haiti has experienced a surge in gang violence, prompting the prime minister to request the deployment of an armed force. In early October, the U.N. Security Council authorized the dispatch of a multinational force led by Kenya to combat the gangs, although Kenya has not yet announced a deployment date.