A Pentagon spokesperson said that several suspects who were allegedly involved in the assassination of Haitian President Joivel Moise last week were once trained by the U.S. military.
The suspects who were trained by the U.S. military were Colombian, said Department of Defense (DoD) Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman said in a statement.
After a review of military training databases, a “small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past U.S. military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” Hoffman’s statement added, according to several news reports. “Our review is ongoing, so we do not have additional details at this time,” he said.
For decades, the United States has trained tens of thousands of military forces across South America, including Colombia—a key regional U.S. ally. Colombia is used as a bulwark by the U.S. against Venezuela’s socialist regime as well as the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), drug cartels, right-wing paramilitary groups, and other criminal organizations. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has approved more than $12 billion in aid to Colombia, mainly via the State and Defense Departments.
Hoffman made note of this fact, saying the DoD “routinely conducts training” for “military men and women representing partner nations from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.”
“This training emphasizes and promotes respect for human rights, compliance with the rule of law, and militaries subordinate to democratically elected civilian leadership,” Hoffman added.
It’s not the first federal agency that has a connection to the attack.
A Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spokesperson earlier this week confirmed that one of the suspects was a former informant to the agency. The DEA hasn’t responded to several requests for comment.
“At times, one of the suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was a confidential source to the DEA,” a DEA official told said Tuesday. “DEA is aware of reports that President Moïse’s assassins yelled ‘DEA’ at the time of their attack. These individuals were not acting on behalf of DEA,” they added.
Moise, 53, and his wife were attacked at about 1 a.m. local time on July 7 at their residence in Port-au-Prince, Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement last week. In the days after the assassination, more than a dozen individuals—including several American citizens—were arrested in connection to the attack.
“The security situation of the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces,” the prime minister said in the statement. “All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and to protect the nation. Democracy and the Republic will triumph.”
Haitian authorities arrested two Haitian-American men last week, identified as 55-year-old Joseph Vincent and 35-year-old James Solages. They were charged with joining 26 Colombians in the fatal attack on Moise.
The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Defense for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.