The Haitian government has accused a Florida entrepreneur and former security guard of being involved in the assassination of Jovenel Moïse.
James Solages is one of two Haitian Americans the government said it arrested in Port-au-Prince in connection with Wednesday’s killing at the presidential residence. The other was named as Joseph Vincent, but there is little known about him.
Solages, on the other hand, has an extensive online presence as the head of a maintenance and repair company and a Haitian charity. His LinkedIn profile said he had been a “diplomatic agent”, had completed protection course and had been “the chief commander of body-guards” at the Canadian embassy in Haiti.
The country’s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada, confirmed to the Canadian press that Solages was “briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard by a security company hired by Global Affairs Canada in 2010.”
A man resembling Solages was one of the prisoners paraded in front of the press by the Haitian police on Thursday. He was wearing a white T-shirt, and sand-coloured trousers and boots. Another man, apparently Vincent, in a similar outfit, was sitting beside him, along with 15 men said to be Colombian nationals.
The government has so far produced no evidence against Solages. The US state department has said it was aware of reports of Americans being arrested but was not able to confirm their identities.
As well as running a building firm, Solages, 35, is the president of the board of a charity called Fwa Sa A Jacmel Avan, which claims to combat child hunger in the southern port town of Jacmel.
The organisation’s website was taken down on Thursday, but his archived biography page described him as “a youth leader and an advocate for underprivileged kids” but also “a politician promoting his country by focusing on compassion”.
The website showed Solages surrounded by Haitian children under the words “rebuild Haiti”. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported that the organisation raised $11,000 in 2019.
The Haitian ambassador to Washington, Bocchit Edmond, said on Wednesday he had asked the White House for assistance in the investigation into the assassination. The White House spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said the US was willing to help but was yet to receive a formal request.