published : 2023-10-28

Ex-Colombian Army Officer Sentenced to Life for Role in Haitian President's Assassination Plot

Assassination of Jovenel Moïse Fast-Tracked Haiti's Plunge into Gang-Dominated Chaos

A photograph of Germán Alejandro Rivera García, the retired Colombian army officer sentenced to life for his role in the assassination plot against Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. This image captures Rivera in his prisoner's attire, seated next to his attorney during the hearing in Miami. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

A federal judge in Miami has handed down a life sentence to a retired Colombian army officer, Germán Alejandro Rivera García, for his involvement in plotting to kill Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

The assassination of Moïse caused unprecedented turmoil in the Caribbean nation, plunging it into a state of gang-dominated chaos.

Rivera, also known as 'Colonel Mike,' had pleaded guilty to conspiring and supporting a plot to kill the Haitian president.

According to court documents, he was part of a convoy headed to Moïse's residence on the day of the killing, having relayed information that the plan was to kill the president, not kidnap him.

He is the second of 11 suspects detained and charged in Miami to be sentenced in connection with the conspiracy, which U.S. prosecutors describe as having been hatched both in Haiti and Florida.

An aerial view of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, showcasing the city's bustling streets and vibrant atmosphere. This photo represents the chaotic state of the country after the assassination of President Moïse. (Taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro)

Rivera faced a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, but he hopes that his sentence could be reduced in the future due to his cooperation agreement with U.S. authorities.

Federal Judge José E. Martínez delivered the sentence during a brief hearing in Miami, expressing well wishes for Rivera's future.

The sentencing comes just months after Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian-Chilean businessman, was also sentenced to life in prison for his role in Moïse's assassination.

Meanwhile, former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph is expected to be sentenced in December, and eight more defendants are awaiting trial in the United States next year.

The case involves a total of 40 suspects who remain detained in Haiti, including 18 former Colombian soldiers who are in custody.

A group of armed Colombian soldiers detained in Haiti as part of the investigation into the assassination plot. This image portrays the individuals responsible for carrying out the deadly act. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The investigation received a boost with the recent arrest of Joseph Félix Badio, a key suspect who had been on the run for over two years.

Since Moïse's assassination, Haiti has experienced a surge in gang violence, prompting the prime minister to request the deployment of an armed force.

In response, the U.N. Security Council voted to send a multinational force led by Kenya to help combat the gangs, though a deployment date has yet to be announced.