Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, a former member of the Colombian military, is accused by Haitian authorities of being part of a mercenary group that tortured and killed Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July

Former member of Colombia’s military, Mario Antonio Palacios (43), is being accused by Haitian authorities that he was part of a mercenary team that killed and tortured President Jovenel Moise of Haiti in July.

A key suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was arrested in Miami Tuesday, after being detained and deported by lawmen in Jamaica, officials say. 

Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, a former member of the Colombian military, is accused by Haitian authorities of being part of a mercenary group that tortured and killed Moïse and wounded his wife, Martine, during an attack on Moïse’s private home in July.

Palacios, who admitted to previously being in Haiti at time of attack, was allegedly deported after escaping from the Caribbean islands by boat. Then, Palacios was reported by The Gleaner, Jamaican news outlet.

Palacios talked to The Week about his suspicions regarding the Haitan government before he was apprehended in Jamaica by authorities on October 25th, according to the Jamaican government.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise, pictured, was assassinated at his official residence in Port-au-Prince on July 7

Jovenel Moise was the Haitian president. He was shot at his Port-au-Prince official residence on July 7.

Footage circulating online purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property

Footage purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property

A video that circulated online, purportedly recorded by a neighbor of President Trump shows men carrying guns outside the property.

A wanted poster made by the Haitian government showing Palacios, an ex-Colombian soldier. Haiti issued an Interpol red notice for Palacios following his deportation from Jamaica

The Haitian government created a wanted poster showing Palacios (an ex-Colombian soldier). After Palacios’ deportation from Jamaica, Haiti sent an Interpol red alert to Palacios.

The entrance to Moise's private residence, which was raided by a group of gunmen on July 7. When arraigned Tuesday afternoon, Palacios will be the first person allegedly involved in the brazen assassination to be formally charged with a crime

A group of gunmen raided Moise’s private home on July 7, and forced the entrance. Palacios will face a formal criminal charge when he is arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

During the bombshell interview, Palacios asserted that he did not know who killed Moïse, but bizarrely conceded that he had been in the world leader’s bedroom the night of the attack.

‘I don’t know who killed him. Palacios stated that he said it out of love for his family and for his children. 

Leaders around the world condemn Moise’s murder and warn that there could be more unrest in the future 

US President Joe Biden stated Wednesday that he was shocked by the assassination attempt on Haiti’s president. He also said that more information is required.

Biden released a statement saying that he was shocked by the assassination attempt on President Jovenel Moise and the assault on First Lady Martine Morse.

“We condemn the heinous act, and I am sending my sincere hopes for First Lady Moise’s recovery,” he said.

Biden addressed reporters before departing for Chicago.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said that the murder by unidentified attackers was a “horrific act” and added: “We will be helping in any way to Haitians and the government of Haiti if an investigation is done.”

She stated that the White House was still gathering information. 

Boris Johnson, British Prime Minster tweeted that he was shocked and saddened by the passing of President Moise.

He said, “Our condolences are for his family as well as the Haitian people.” This is an awful act, and we need to be calm.

Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister, condemned the assassination.

Sanchez, during a trip to Latvia said that “I would like to make an appeal to political unity to get rid of this terrible trauma the country is going through.”

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s chief of foreign policy, warned that shooting could lead to instability and violence spirals.

Borrell stated that the perpetrators should be brought to justice.  

Luis Abinader, Dominican president, condemned the murder and said on Twitter that the crime “undermines democracy in Haiti”

He expressed condolences for the victims’ family, Martine Moise, his wife, and the Haitian people. 

Ivan Duque from Colombia, President of the Organization of American States condemned the ‘cowardly act’. He also expressed solidarity with Haiti. The President of Colombia, Ivan Duque called on the Organization of American States to send a mission urgently to ‘protect democracy’ 

Tsai-Ing-wen, Taiwan’s President, offered condolences via a Twitter statement.

‘We wish the First Lady a prompt recovery, & stand together with our ally Haiti in this difficult time,’ Tsai wrote. Haiti is among the countries that have formal diplomatic relations to Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as their own.

‘I don’t know who killed him because when I got to that room, the Yepes commandos and Mr. Romero were already there,’ said the retired military man referring to two of three other Colombian commandos killed during a clash with Haitian police after Moïse’s assassination. 

“I will tell you the truth. Tell me the whole truth about what happened. Because here, there is no guarantee of anything, I’m a fugitive. The Police here are corrupt. 

He continued, “There’s nothing here.” This is not man’s territory. My skin colour saved me. I’ve been hiding all day in certain places, and I have this terrible fear about my future. 

Homeland Security officials reportedly handcuffed Following the deportation of the ex-commando by Jamaican authorities, Palacios was allowed to arrive in the USA. of being involved in the coordinated attack on the world leader.  

To the chagrin of Haitian authorities, earlier this week, Palacios, who had been held in a detention center in Jamaica since October, was deported to his home nation of Colombia, instead of Haiti to face his alleged crimes.

However, during a stopover of a flight in Panama, the suspected mercenary – who is also known as ‘Floro’ – was again detained, Colombian immigration sources said that the Colombian source asked him to “voluntarily” board a plane to the United States.  

Although Palacios’s transfer from Panama into the USA is still a mystery at this point, it shows how law enforcement agencies seek to cut through extradition-related red tape. 

Panamanian officials stated that they would apply an Interpol red note issued by the United States to Haiti in case he refused, according to a source.

Haiti issued an Interpol red note for Palacios. 

Panama’s authorities did not make any public comments on this matter, however, a Panamaan familiar with the situation confirmed that Palacios was detained by US homeland security officials.     

Palacios is now scheduled to appear before a federal court Tuesday afternoon, where he will be indicted and face formal charges drafted by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI that have yet to be revealed.

According to sources familiar with the investigation however, the ex-Colombian commando will be facing charges for conspiracy to give material support leading to the death of foreign leaders and conspiracy to kidnap, kill and maim foreign leaders when he is charged Tuesday. 

Once arraigned, Palacios will be the first person allegedly involved in the brazen assassination – which saw a group of armed men storm the 53-year-old president’s private villa in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince – to be formally charged with a crime. 

Following Moïse’s murder, Haitian investigators arrested 44 other suspects, including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian descent. 

One of the initial suspects has died from COVID-related illness, while four other were released recently by a Haitian judge who was overseeing this investigation. 

None of those individuals have been charged, despite the sprawling six-month probe by the Haitian government, which has produced few concrete answers as to why Moïse was killed – until now.

Haitian authorities contend that Palacios was one of the main executors of the coordinated, nighttime strike that led to Moïse’s July 7 assassination, per the Miami Herald, who obtained a Haitian police report pertaining to the highly publicized case. 

Security forces inspect at the site after an attack at the residence of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 7

Following an attack on Haiti’s Presidential Residence Jovenel Mose, Port-au-Prince Haiti on July 7, 2017, security personnel inspect the scene

Ammunition casings lay on the ground near the entrance to the house of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise

Near the entry to the home of Jovenel Moise, a number of ammunition casings were found on the ground.

The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home in the Pelerin 5 neighbourhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince

Jovenel Mose, the President of Haiti, was killed in his Pelerin 5 neighborhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince.

Presidential guards patrol the entrance to the residence of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince in the wake of the July 7 assassination

After the assassination of July 7, Presidential Guards guard the Port-au-Prince entrance of Jovenel Mose’s residence.

A car riddled with bullet holes outside the late president's home in the hills about Port-au-Prince after the July 7 attack

Unmarked car with bullet holes erected outside of Port-au-Prince’s presidential residence after the July 7th attack

Per the document, Palacios is part of a list of dozens of suspects thought to be part of the assassination squad that now includes 26 Colombians – including Palacios – and the two aforementioned Haitian-Americans 

At night, they claimed that the raider was part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Palacios, on Tuesday, will be appearing in federal court. He faces charges which, in the US., often result in death.

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse are moved to be displayed to the media at police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haitian authorities have implicated 66 retired Colombian soldiers - including Palacios - in the president's assassination on July 7

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse are moved to be displayed to the media at police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The president was assassinated by the Haitian authorities on July 7.

Suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was shot dead July 7, pictured

Suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was shot dead July 7, pictured

Haiti is an island nation that was born from blood, and which has been ruled by several dictators such as the brutal Papa Doc and Baby Doc.

 The modern nation of Haiti was born in 1804 from a long and bloody revolution by slaves and free people of color against the French and it has suffered a turbulent history ever since.

In its first century of independence, the country was largely characterized by political instability and a series of dictatorships. These were interrupted only by short periods of democracy. Between 1915 and 1934, the US occupied this country, which is located on the Caribbean island Hispaniola together with the Dominican Republic.

One of its most famous leaders was the father and daughter dictators Pap Doc & Baby Doc. They ruled for over 30 years and had an estimated 90,000.

Francois Duvalier – who was known as Papa Doc for his previous career as a medical doctor – came to power as president in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform.

The military coup that he survived in 2011 led to his survival and his government became the most oppressive in Western hemisphere. He relied on the Tonton Macoute death squad to eliminate opponents.

Duvalier strengthened his control by including elements from Voodoo in a personality-cult, and he was elected president for life in 1964.

Papa Doc was a proponent of ‘Noirisme’ which seeks to promote Haiti’s African roots more than its European ones and unite the black majority against a elite of mulattos in a country that is divided by colour and class. 

The death toll from the Duvalier assassination in 1971 is approximately 60,000. His son Jean-Claude took over the presidency.

Baby Doc was a 19-year-old chubby playboy when he ‘inherited’ the country – one of the world’s poorest – from his despotic father after he died suddenly of an illness. 

Haitians suffered under the increasingly despotic and repressive regimes of Papa Doc and his son Baby Doc (pictured together) for three decades, with an estimated 90,000 people killed

Haitians lived under Papa Doc’s increasingly dictatorial and oppressive regimes for over three decades. An estimated 90,000. Haitians were killed. 

He was succeeded by his son, and many political enemies were executed or disappeared.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, estimated that as many as 30,000 Haitians died under the rule of the Duvaliers.   

Under the leadership of the younger Duvalier, there were improvements made for Haitians. Because of international pressure, echoes of press freedom were heard and some personal criticism was tolerated, but only sporadically. 

Baby Doc was a 19-year-old chubby playboy when he ¿inherited¿ the country - one of the world's poorest - from his despotic father after he died suddenly of an illness in 1971

Baby Doc was a 19-year-old chubby playboy when he ‘inherited’ the country – one of the world’s poorest – from his despotic father after he died suddenly of an illness in 1971

Yet, human rights organisations documented instances of abuse and persecution. The brutality of the regime was symbolized by the trio of prisons called the “Triangle of Death”, which also included Fort Dimanche, a long-term detainee facility. 

In 1980, he was elected president after marrying Michele Bennett (the daughter of a rich coffee merchant). 

It was an extravagant affair that featured imported champagne, flowers, and fireworks. It was reported that the $5 million ceremony was live broadcast on TV to an impoverished country.

Michele Duvalier, his wife, had two children: Francois Nicolas “Nico” Duvalier, and Anya, a daughter. 

Haiti experienced a wide range of demographic shifts under Duvalier. As the demand for labor grew, peasants fled to the capital to find work. Many professionals fled from repression in cities like New York, Miami, or Montreal.  

The United States, along with agencies like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund, began sending aid. Many tourists came to the area in search for a type of tropical hedonism which involved prostitution, alcohol, and Voodoo rituals, making it a country of legend. 

In the 1980s, the tourism industry collapsed after Florida doctors discovered that a surprising number of AIDS cases had come from Haitian emigrants. Although the disease is believed to have originated in the U.S.

Duvalier rule was de facto defined by human rights violations and corruption.

Duvalier, facing allegations of corruption, torture, and other human right abuses was forced to flee France in 1986 after mass protests and the abandonment of Tonton Macoute. 

The country turned against the security forces of the younger Duvalier and killed them all. 

The end of his tenure marked the beginning of an era in which democracy was halted and has been marked by tumultuous election after election.  

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest was elected as president during the 1990 country’s first democratic elections. He was overthrown by a coup and then reinstated.

Rene Preval won the 2006 election, being followed by Michel Martelly who was a former carnival singer. 

Moise won the disputed elections and was elected to power in 2017. However, protests over fuel scarcity soon followed him into office. These violent demonstrations quickly took his place as president.

In 2019, court auditors were investigating $2 billion in assistance from Venezuelan oil companies. He was even further undermined after they found out that companies he ran before becoming president were involved in an embezzlement plot.

Moise asserted that he would be able to continue as head of state till February 7, 2022. This was an opposition interpretation of the constitution.

Since 2020, the businessman was able to govern himself by decree without having to go through parliamentary approvals.