A “small number” of the retired members of the Colombian military arrested last week in connection with the assassination of Haiti’s president have received training by the U.S. military, the Pentagon said Thursday.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Pentagon spokesperson LTC Ken Hoffman said, “A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past U.S. military training and education programs while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces.”

“The department routinely conducts training for thousands of military men and women representing partner nations from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean,” Hoffman added.

“[The training] emphasizes and promotes respect for human rights, compliance with the rule of law, and militaries subordinate to democratically elected civilian leadership.”

In fact, in May, a Colombian counter-narcotics unit traveled to Fort Polk, Louisiana to train alongside U.S. National Guard forces at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). The partnership between the two units goes back to 2012.

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Colombian and U.S. troops training together in June at JRTC in Fort Polk, LA. (DVIDS)

Although the Pentagon has not yet specified how many of the suspects received training from the U.S., according to Colombian officials, 13 out of 15 of the men had served in the Colombian military.

That the former Colombian troops received training from the U.S. is hardly news. In no way does it provide a “smoking gun” tying the assassination to any nefarious U.S. intent on overthrowing the Haitian government.

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Colombia has been one of the United States’ staunchest allies in Latin America for several decades. The United States helped start a program called “Lancero” in Colombia in the 1950s based on the U.S. Army Ranger School. The U.S. has retained liaison officers and NCOs in the country ever since.