The honorary consul of Colombia in Haiti has received threats for assisting Colombian ex-military men suspected of participating in the assassination of former Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez confirmed Tuesday.
Ramírez told the foreign press that the consul, Julio César Santa Martínez, has been the victim of attacks, without giving details of the attacks or clarifying whether they know the material and intellectual authors.
The honorary consulate in Haiti depends on the Embassy of Colombia in the Dominican Republic. According to Colombian law, the honorary consul can only exercise a limited and secondary number of consular functions, including providing assistance to Colombians and serving as a link between them and the corresponding Colombian embassy.
At the beginning of the investigation, in August, the first judge assigned to the Moïse case resigned when one of his assistants died under unclear circumstances, and several court clerks have gone into hiding with their families after receiving threats while investigating the death of Moïse.
The Colombian consul frequently visits the 18 Colombians imprisoned in Port-au-Prince, he is the one who verifies first-hand the conditions in which they live and their state of health. It also carries humanitarian aid sent by the Colombian government and by the families of the detainees.
The detained Colombians do not have legal assistance to exercise their defense nor do they have legal aid attorneys, despite the fact that they were captured hours after the murder of Moïse on July 7, 2021.
Lorena Lázaro, a lawyer who represents 15 of the ex-military in Colombia through the Foundation for the Defense and Representation of the Public Force and their Families, told The Associated Press that they have not been able to get a defense lawyer in Haiti to take up the case due to the high fees —which they cannot afford— nor the fact that the Colombian government assumes the payment of the lawyers “despite the obligation it has.”
Foreign Minister Ramírez assured that they have repeatedly asked for help from international organizations. Last August he sent a letter to the regional office of the Committee of the International Red Cross with jurisdiction in Haiti, requesting that an “urgent humanitarian visit be made to the prison” where Colombians are being held. “We require that the authorities of that country be urged to authorize the immediate repatriation of the bodies of the deceased,” added Ramírez in the letter released to the press on Tuesday.