New twist in president's assassination after Florida arrest

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Despite an already convoluted plot around the assassination of the president of Haiti, the mystery has deepened further with the arrest of a failed businessman living in the United States. 

Authorities identified the suspect as former Haitian businessman Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, who lives in Florida and once expressed a desire to lead his country in a YouTube video.

Bizarrely, he is unknown in Haitian political circles.

According to The Associated Press, a theory has emerged he was duped by those really behind the brutal killing of President Jovenel Moïse in a fiery ambush last week.

Gunmen seen outside Haitian President Jovenel Moïse's home before his assassination.
The gunmen were seen outside the president's home before the assassination. Source: Twitter

Mr Moïse's wife Martine was also critically injured as gunmen disguised at American drug enforcement agents broke into their house and opened fire. She remains in hospital in Miami. 

Despite a series of arrests by Haitian police, confusion still reigns about the assassination of Mr Moïse in a dramatic attack less than a week ago.

A Florida friend of the suspect told AP Mr Sanon was an evangelical Christian pastor and a licensed physician in Haiti, but not in the US. 

Former senator Youri Latortue leaves the courthouse on Monday flanked by his bodyguard, surrounded by media.
Former senator and Senate President Youri Latortue is escorted by bodyguards as he leaves the courthouse on Monday (local time). Prosecutors have asked senior political figures to meet with officials for questioning. Source: Getty Images

The associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns, said Mr Sanon told him he was approached by people claiming to represent the US State and Justice departments who wanted to install him as president.

He said the plan was for the president to be arrested, not killed. He claimed Mr Sanon would not have participated if he knew Mr Moïse would be assassinated.

“I guarantee you that,” the friend said. 

“This was supposed to be a mission to save Haiti from hell, with support from the US government.”

He arrived in Haiti via private jet last month with a group of Colombian nationals with the initial goal of "arresting the president", according to Haitian national police director Leon Charles.

The Colombian men were originally going to provide security for Mr Sanon, but "then the mission changed", Mr Charles told reporters. 

He allegedly contacted a private security firm to recruit the gunmen who carried out the attack, authorities said, adding the company was a Venezuelan security firm based in the US.

Mr Charles did not provide further details or suggest how the 63-year-old could possibly have taken control of the government.

Twenty-six former Colombian soldiers are suspected in the killing and 23 have been arrested, along with three Haitians. Mr Charles said five suspects were still at large and at least three had been killed.

“They are dangerous individuals,” Mr Charles said. “I’m talking commando, specialised commando.”

YouTube videos show suspect with desire to be president

In a trio of decently produced YouTube videos uploaded in 2011, the suspect derided the corruption in politics that is endemic to Haiti. 

While his YouTube channel only has 93 subscribers, one video in August 2011 has now been watched more than 30,000 times.

Christian Sanon appears in a YouTube video.
The video were titled: "Dr. Christian Sanon - Leadership for Haiti". Source: YouTube

In it he claimed the country's leaders had "sold their soul to the enemy" and accused the government of being corrupt.

He said foreign forces liked the then president because he "did not care about the country... don’t care about the people" and would strip the nation of its natural resources like uranium.

Florida records show Mr Sanon started about a dozen businesses over the last 20 years, all of which failed.

with wires

Supporters of political leaders being questioned by authorites protest in the street. Source: Getty
Supporters of political leaders being questioned by authorites protest in the street. Source: Getty

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