When Manuel Antonio Grosso Guarín jetted into Punta Cana’s tourist-clogged airport early last month on Avianca Flight 252, immigration officials are unlikely to have given the 41-year-old Colombian a second glance. Visitors from around the globe flock to this Dominican resort town each week in search of sun, sea and Caribbean sands.
Grosso appears to have had rather different plans, though: to sneak over the border into neighbouring Haiti and help assassinate that country’s president.
“Colombian mercenaries: trained, cheap, and available,” read a headline in Colombia’s largest newspaper, El Tiempo, on Friday after the Bogotá-based former special forces fighter was identified as one of Jovenel Moïse’s 28 alleged killers.
The presence of such a large number of foreigners among the Haitian leader’s alleged murderers has shocked many, particularly in Haiti itself. But Colombian guns-for-hire have been turning up in war zones around the world, including Yemen, Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan, for years now.
Many were once trained by American soldiers and, having spent years battling insurgent groups or drug traffickers within Colombia, go on to find work with US-based private military contractors.
“After so many years of warfare, Colombia just has a surplus of people who are trained in lethal tactics,” said Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin…