In a Miami court, Joseph Vincent, a former US government informant, has been sentenced to life for his involvement in the assassination of Haiti’s former president, Jovenel Moise. Vincent, aged 58, pleaded guilty two months ago to participating in the plot to kill the late president. Prior to sentencing, he expressed remorse to the judge, saying, “Please forgive me for what I did.”
President Moise was shot and killed at his residence in Port-au-Prince in 2021. Joseph Vincent, who had worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is the fourth of 11 defendants to receive a life sentence in the federal case held in Miami, with the trial taking place in Florida due to the US justice department’s jurisdiction ruling.
Vincent, to be held in a Florida prison, admitted to discussing the assassination plot and guiding co-conspirators to President Moise’s residence. His role included providing advice on Haitian politics, meeting local leaders, and encouraging protests against Moise as a pretext for his overthrow. Vincent is reported to have worn a US State Department pin during meetings, aiming to create the impression of working for Washington, although the DEA clarified he did not represent the agency.
Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Bocchit Edmond, discredited the idea of US drug agents being involved in the attack, labeling it the work of “professional mercenaries.” Court documents revealed that the initial plan was to kidnap President Moise but evolved into a full-fledged assassination.
In a related development on Friday, another suspect, Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr., pleaded guilty to submitting false or misleading export information, accused of smuggling ballistic vests as part of the plot. The accused include Colombian ex-soldiers and businessmen who allegedly aided in funding, providing weapons, and executing the attack.
While Haiti has arrested 17 individuals in connection with President Moise’s murder, none have been formally charged. Since the assassination, Haiti has experienced political turmoil and escalating gang violence. The United Nations reported January as the most violent month in the country in over two years, with approximately 1,100 people killed, injured, or kidnapped during the month.