Dr. Christian Emanuel Sanon is a Florida pastor and doctor in Haiti who police allege was involved in the plot that led to the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and injury of Moise’s wife, Martine Moise.
Police said Sanon flew into Haiti in June on a private jet with “political motives,” according to CBS Miami. Haiti’s first lady is still being treated in Florida, at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the news outlet reported. She suffered gunshot wounds in the attack at their home Wednesday, July 7, 2021 and was critically wounded.
CBS Miami reported that the plan was not to kill Moise, but only to arrest him and install Sanon, a Haitian native, as the new president of Haiti. Sanon, 62, was a pastor and a physician who had lived in the United States for decades, the Associated Press reported. He was licensed to practice medicine in Haiti but not in the US, according to the AP. Sanon has lived in Broward County, Florida, Hillsborough County on the Gulf Coast and in Kansas City, Missouri, the AP reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Latest Tweet From an Account Linked to Sanon Said a Transitional Government Was Necessary in Haiti
A Twitter account linked to Sanon, called HaitiLivesMatter, spoke about politics in Haiti, according to an archived version of the Twitter account. The original Twitter account’s page has been deleted.
“A transitional government in Haiti is the only way forward. Port-au-Prince is now in complete chaos,” the tweet said on June 7, 2021.
The page, @HaitiMatter, was created in June 2021. The bio of the page references Sanon.
“Haiti Lives Matter to Dr. Christian Sanon, Physician and Pastor. Dr. Sanon has worked his whole life for the physical and spritual(sic) needs of Haitians everywhere,” the bio said.
The account included only one other worded tweet. The HaitiLivesMatter account retweeted a post from the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 6, calling on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “withhold funding for the constitutional referendum proposed by Haitian President Moïse.” The referendum had been scheduled for June 27, but Moise postponed it until September.
The account was following seven people and had five followers. The account also referred to the webpage www.haitilivesmatter.com, which has now been deleted.
2. Sanon Set Up Churches & Medical Clinics in Haiti & Associates Suggested He Was Duped into Participating in a Coup D’Etat
A friend of Sanon who lives in Florida told The Associated Press that people claiming to be representatives of the U.S. State and Justice departments approached Sanon, saying they wanted to install him as the new president of Haiti. The person spoke on conditions of anonymity due to safety concerns. The friend said that the plan was to arrest Moïse, not kill him, and that Sanon would not have participated if he knew Moïse would be assassinated.
“I guarantee you that,” the friend told the AP. “This was supposed to be a mission to save Haiti from hell, with support from the U.S. government.”
The Rev. Larry Caldwell, a Florida pastor, also said Sanon would not have been involved in violence, according to the AP. The men worked together setting up churches and medical clinics in Haiti from 2000-2010, the AP reported.
“I know the character of the man,” Caldwell told the AP. “You take a man like that and you’re then going to say he participated in a brutal crime of murder, knowing that being associated with that would send him to the pits of hell? … If there was one man who would be willing to stand in the breach to help his country, it would be Christian.”
3. Sanon Spoke About Haiti’s Political Leadership on His YouTube Channel in 2011
Sanon appeared on a YouTube video in 2011, “Leadership for Haiti,” and spoke about a desire to bring new leadership to the country. He said on the video the leadership of the country was corrupt, and accused Haiti’s political leaders of stripping the country of its resources.
“They don’t care about the country, they don’t care about the people,” he said on the video.
He claimed Haiti had rich resources that were taken over by government officials.
“Nine million people can’t be in poverty when we have so much resources in the country. It’s impossible,” Sanon said on YouTube. “We need new leadership that will change the way of life.”
Sanon posted three videos on his YouTube account, all within one year. He started the account in 2010 and had 101 subscribers as of June 13, 2021.
4. Police Said a Florida Security Company, CTU Security, Was Used to Hired 26 Columbians Who Carried Out the Attack
Investigators allege a Florida-based security firm, CTU security, was used to hire 26 Columbians to carry out the attack at Moise’s home, according to CBS Miami. Most of them have been arrested, the news outlet reported, in addition to two Haitian Americans who told police in interviews that they were hired as translators in the plot.
Investigators are continuing to unravel the plot, and are working to determine how the attackers were able to breach three security checkpoints to access Moise and his wife, CBS Miami reported. None of Moise’s guards were injured, and police are investigating whether the attackers had help within the president’s security detail, the news outlet reported.
Five suspects in the attack are still wanted, and at least three of them have been killed, Haiti’s National Police chief, Léon Charles, told the Associated Press.
“They are dangerous individuals,” Charles told the AP. “I’m talking commando, specialized commando.”
Colombia’s national police chief, General Jorge Luis Vargas, told the Associated Press that CTU Security used its company credit card to buy 19 plane tickets for the Columbian suspects from Bogota, Columbia to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Most of them arrived in the Dominican Republic in June and then moved into Haiti a few weeks later, Vargas told the AP.
5. A Raid at Sanon’s Home Revealed a Cache of Bullets & a DEA Hat & He Filed for Bankruptcy in 2013
Law enforcement executed a raid at Sanon’s home, CBS Miami reported, and located 20 boxes of bullets, a DEA hat and “a list of hit squad members.” Investigators have said the attackers at Moise’s home were posing as American DEA agents. They also found gun parts, four license plates from the Dominican Republic, two cars and correspondence at Sanon’s home in Haiti, the Associated Press reported.
Sanon filed for bankruptcy in Florida in 2013, according to the AP. Court papers reviewed by the AP said he was a physician and a pastor at the Tabarre Evangelical Tabernacle in Haiti. He and his wife reported income of $5,000 per month at the time of the bankruptcy filing, and a home in Brandon, Florida, valued at about $143,000, with a mortgage of more than $367,000, the AP reported. A federal bankruptcy trustee later determined the couple hid ownership from creditors of about 35 acres of property in Haiti, the AP reported.
Records reviewed by the AP show Sanon started about a dozen businesses over 20 years, all of which failed. The AP said the businesses included ones that appeared to be related to medical imaging, physical therapy, fossil fuel trading, real estate and veganism.