A federal judge in Miami has sentenced retired Colombian army officer Germán Alejandro Rivera García to life in prison for his involvement in a plot to kill Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse. Rivera, also known as “Colonel Mike,” pleaded guilty to conspiring and supporting the plot in September. The conspiracy, described by U.S. prosecutors as a joint effort between Haiti and Florida, aimed to hire mercenaries to kidnap or assassinate President Moïse. Rivera was part of a convoy headed to Moïse’s residence on the day of the killing, where he relayed information that the plan had changed from kidnapping to killing the president.
Rivera’s sentencing follows the life imprisonment of Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar in June for his role in Moïse’s assassination. Former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph is scheduled to be sentenced in December, while eight more defendants await trial in the United States next year.
The case involves a total of 11 suspects, including about 20 Colombian citizens and several dual Haitian-American citizens. Initially planning to kidnap President Moïse, the conspirators later altered their plan to assassinate him. Investigators allege that the plotters hoped to secure contracts under a successor to Moïse.
Since the assassination, more than 40 suspects remain detained in Haiti, including 18 former Colombian soldiers. Last week, key suspect Joseph Félix Badio, a former employee of Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and the government’s anti-corruption unit, was arrested after evading capture for over two years.
The assassination of President Moïse in July 2021 has led to increased gang violence in Haiti, 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 assist in combating the gangs.