Aristide, a charismatic but divisive figure from Haiti, was being treated in Cuba for unspecified medical reasons. He returned to a country that is still reeling from tensions over President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7.
Jorge Luis Vargas, Colombia's Police Chief, has accused Moise of being a former Haitian official who ordered ex-Colombian soldiers killed. He claimed Joseph Felix Badio had told Colombians Duberney Capeador and German Rivera, "What they have to do" was kill the President of Haiti.
Vargas stated that Badio had given the order three days prior to the assassination. Vargas was in Haiti for a meeting with two Colombians who had been visiting the country since May 10.
Capador was shot to death by Haitian police shortly after Moise was killed. Rivera is still being held in Haiti, while police continue to search for Badio. Badio was previously employed by the Haitian Justice Ministry and then for the government's anticorruption unit until his firing in May.
More than 20 suspects have been arrested for direct involvement in the killings, most of whom are ex-military personnel from Colombia. Police have stated that at least three other suspects were also killed and they are still searching for at least seven more.
Colombia's government claims that only a few soldiers in Colombia knew the truth about the operation, and that others were fooled.
Marta Lucia Ramirez (Colombia's vice president) said Friday that the government was preparing a consular team to arrive in Haiti to assist the suspects and repatriate those who have been killed.
On Friday, Leon Charles, the Police Chief of Police, stated that 24 officers who are part of President's security detail were invited to question him. He didn't say how many were on duty at the time Moise was murdered. Charles stated that a fifth police officer of high rank was placed in isolation detention along with four other officers, but none have been identified as suspects.
Claude Joseph, Interim Prime Minister, stated that the government will continue to bring people responsible to justice.
He said, "We will continue asking questions."
Officials announced that Moise would be buried in Cap-Haitien on July 23. They also announced that Moise's wife Martine, who sustained serious injuries in the attack but is still in Miami, would be attending.
The investigation is continuing. Vargas stated Friday that tickets for most of the ex-soldiers were purchased through Worldwide Capital Lending Group in Florida.
Officials had previously stated that they were being sold to CTU Security in Florida, who allegedly recruited them.
Worldwide released a statement on Thursday stating that it had provided a loan to CTU. However, it stated that it was intended to finance infrastructure projects requested by Christian Emmanuel Sanon (a Haitian pastor and physician who was arrested in the plot).
The company stated that there was no discussion, suggestion or mention of an assassination plot against President Moise during any conversation or meeting with Dr. Sanon and any of his representatives.
The former president was welcomed by cheering crowds of Aristide supporters. A few hours earlier, they had arrived holding photos of the former priest and some saying, "The King is Back!"
Aristide was transported home by an ambulance that negotiated the crowd. Police pushed them away after some touched the windows of the ambulance. Aristide's former leader didn't speak to some of the supporters who remained outside the home after the ambulance arrived.
Joel Edouard Vorbe, an executive member of Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party, said that Aristide is "completely recovered", although he did not provide details. The health problem was not described by Aristide or the government.
Aristide's unexpected return will add volatility to an already volatile situation in Haiti, which is currently facing a power vacuum. Aristide, who has been polarizing Haitian politicians for many years, is still very popular.
Aristide was a figure of resistance in the world when, as a slum priest with fiery oratory, he led a rebellion against Jean-Claude Duvalier, the hated dictator.
In 1990, he was elected president. He was forced to resign in a military coup one year later. The U.S. military restored him to power in 1994 to complete his term. He was a strong advocate for the poor and a proponent of leftist "liberationtheology" and was hated deeply by the elite.
In 2000, Aristide was reelected. He was then ousted by student protests and a rebellion of former supporters and opponents, who had ties to the elite, and the Duvalierist regime. Aristide spent seven year in exile in South Africa, before returning to the country in 2011. Aristide has kept a low profile except for when he was campaigning in 2016 for the party's unsuccessful presidential candidate.
Joseph currently governs Haiti with the support of military and police, but he is facing increasing challenges to his authority.
Although Haiti's government has requested military assistance, the U.S. President Joe Biden stated Thursday that sending troops is not on the agenda. However, he indicated that U.S. Marines will be deployed to increase security at the U.S. Embassy.
Mathias Pierre is Haiti's elections minister. He said that he believes there is still potential for U.S. military aid. However, he noted that Haiti is currently in a "fragile" situation and needs a secure environment in order to hold elections in the upcoming months.