Colombian government says consul in Haiti received threats

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) – The Colombian foreign minister said on Tuesday that the country’s consul in Haiti had received threats after he tried to provide humanitarian aid to 18 former Colombian soldiers who were arrested last year for having allegedly participated in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez did not provide details on the nature of the threats against Julio Cesar Santa Martinez. She also didn’t comment on who made them.

Colombia does not have an embassy in Haiti and Santa Martinez has been the country’s sole representative as an honorary consul since 2016. It provides limited links to Colombian citizens in Haiti with the Colombian embassy in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The Foreign Ministry said that last year the consul had repeatedly visited former soldiers detained to check their health and also provided them with toiletries and other items sent by their relatives in Colombia.

Colombia has offered to help Haitian authorities investigate the murder of Moise, who was shot last year when gunmen stormed his home. Haitian officials say the attack was carried out by a group of former Colombian soldiers working for a private security company.

The Colombian government complained that former soldiers had been mistreated in Haitian prisons.

In August, Ramirez sent a letter urging the International Red Cross to visit the prisoners and document their condition. She said two of the ex-soldiers had been tortured and none of them had been accompanied by lawyers.

Haiti has arrested dozens of people for the murder of Moise, but none have been officially charged.

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