PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — With the assassination of Haiti’s former president Jovenel Moise and the country’s descent into chaos, Prime Minister Ariel Henry took control of the government and was tasked with bringing the killers to justice and healing the country.
Evidence has now emerged suggesting Henry did maintain communications with a suspect – and that they remained in close contact even after the murder.
As a result of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July, a nation already in turmoil has been thrown further into chaos. Many of the country’s public institutions are in ruins, the capital is under gang control, an economic downturn is underway, and the few elected leaders remaining in the country are vying for control of the government.
Henry’s ascendancy promised to smooth some of the rifts, earning pledges of support from overseas and potentially paving the way for elections. He pledged assassins would be brought to justice, violence would be curbed, and political unity would begin.
Soon after, Henry’s investigation into the killing stalled, and concerns about his willingness to solve the crime emerged. The issues revolve around his relationship with Joseph Felix Badio, a former justice ministry official suspected of organizing the attack in which Moise was killed.
According to a New York Times report and interviews with Haitian officials and a suspect in the crime, potential details about the two men’s relationship can be gleaned from their phone records.
Among them were Badio’s calls to Henry before and after the assassination, as well as two phone calls lasting a total of seven minutes the morning after the murder.
Two Haitian officials familiar with the investigation claim that Badio visited Henry when he was wanted by the police.
Despite being on the run from the police, authorities said Badio entered Henry’s residence twice – both times at night – and managed to walk in unharmed, despite being on the run from the police.
Now the country’s Prime Minister, Henry, it’s unclear if he helped the suspects, most of whom were eventually captured or killed by police. Despite the phone records, Henry’s spokesperson said he did not speak with Badio after the assassination and didn’t have any connection with the suspect.
Nevertheless, Haiti’s former chief prosecutor, who was removed by Henry from his position, has asked the government chief to answer questions concerning Moise’s assassination. In the wake of the murder investigation, one of the main suspects has revealed extensive details about the relationship Badio had with Prime Minister Henry.
While fleeing the authorities, Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman, and former drug trafficker spoke extensively with The New York Times about the plot while he was hiding in a construction site.
Jaar contends that Badio told him shortly before the assassination that Henry would be a useful ally after the overthrow of president Moise.
“He is my good friend, I have full control over him,” Jaar recalled Badio telling him of PM Henry.
Jaar said he and Badio stayed in contact after the assassination while dodging the authorities. He said the two even shared a safe house several days after the murder.