Retired Sgt. Edwin Blanquicet Rodríguez had spent 20 years in the Colombian military when he received an offer: Travel to Haiti as part of a security team to protect a politician and guard electrical infrastructure projects. Blanquicet, looking for a way to support his family, took the job. Weeks after arriving in Port-au-Prince in June of last year, however, he found himself fighting for his life. He and a team of other Colombian former soldiers got an order to leave their client — an evangelical preacher who wanted to be president — and head to a house in the hills of Port-au-Prince. The ordeal ended in the assassination of the country’s president, and hours later Blanquicet found himself pleading his innocence before an angry mob. “I begged for my life,” Blanquicet recalled in an interview on Colombian radio station La FM, breaking his silence on the slaying with fresh details that raise more questions in the slow-moving investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. “I told them that we were innocent, and they didn’t pay attention to me, and they kept striking me with their machetes,” he said. A year after Moïse was shot to death inside his private bedroom, those accused of his assassination have yet to be brought to trial or even be formally charged in Haiti, and Blanquicet’s account is raising questions about the events surrounding the killing. Blanquicet is among a group of former Colombian soldiers who Haitian and U.S. authorities say accompanied Haitian police officers and two Haitian Americans to storm Moïse’s private residence in the middle of the night on July 7, 2021, and shot him a dozen times. Moïse’s wife, Martine, who was also shot, survived the attack.
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