- A group of 17 American missionaries was kidnapped Saturday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
- The victims were on their way to the airport from a house where an orphanage was being built when they were kidnapped by a criminal gang.
- The event takes place amid a spike in gang-related kidnappings in Haiti.
A group of 17 American missionaries, including underage relatives, was abducted on Saturday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as they left a house under construction that would become an orphanage and headed to the airport, the newspaper The New York Times reported.
The alert was sent by the Christian Aid Ministries organization to various religious organizations through a voice message. “This is a special prayer alert,” the one-minute message stated. “Pray that the gang members repent themselves.”
Group of 17 American missionaries kidnapped in Haiti
The message stated that the mission’s field director worked with the US embassy, and that the director’s family and another unidentified man had stayed at the ministry headquarters. All the other members of the delegation were kidnapped after visiting the orphanage.
No further details were available on the rapture at first. Despite the deterioration of the security situation in Haiti, the abduction of such a large group of American people surprised local authorities, says the The New York Times.
The US government is aware of the reports
A US government spokesman said he was aware of the kidnapping reports. “The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the State Department’s highest priorities,” said the spokesperson, declining to comment further.
Haiti once again suffers a rebound in gang-related kidnappings, which had subsided after the assassination of the president, Jovenel Moïse, at his private residence on July 7 and after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the southeast of the country in August and killed more than 2,200 people.
Gangs demand huge ransoms
The gangs have claimed ransoms in the thousands of dollars to more than a million dollars, according to authorities. In recent months there have been dozens of kidnappings. Last week, a deacon was killed outside a church in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and his wife was captured, according to AP.
In the first eight months of 2021, at least 328 kidnappings were reported to the Haitian National Police, compared to the total of 234 in all of 2020, according to a report published last month by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, known by its acronym. in English BINUH.
Kidnappings on the rise in Haiti
Gangs have been accused of kidnapping schoolchildren, doctors, police, entire bus passages and others as they gain power. In April, a gang kidnapped five priests and two nuns, sparking a protest similar to the one called for Monday to condemn the lack of security in the impoverished country.
“Political instability, the increase in gang violence, the deterioration of socioeconomic conditions – including food insecurity and malnutrition – contribute to the worsening of the humanitarian situation,” said BINUH in its report.
Haitian police without resources and overwhelmed
“An overwhelmed police force and lack of resources cannot solve the security problems in Haiti by itself.” The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved an extension of the UN’s political mission in Haiti on Friday.
Just days before the missionaries were abducted, senior U.S. officials visited Haiti and pledged more resources for the Haitian National Police, including another $ 15 million to help combat gang violence, which this year has displaced thousands. Haitians now living in temporary shelters in increasingly unsanitary conditions.
Among the officials who met with the Haitian police chief was Uzra Zeya, the US Under Secretary of State for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights. “Dismantling violent gangs is vital for Haitian stability and citizen security,” he recently tweeted, according to the AP.
In August, the authorities had to negotiate a new truce with the gangs to allow the passage of humanitarian convoys destined to attend the areas affected by the devastating earthquake that caused great destruction in the south of the country, where there are at least 690,000 victims. EFE reviewed.
Haitians pay more than 20 thousand pesos to marry Mexican women
Haitians pay more than 20 thousand pesos (equivalent to about $ 950) to marry Mexican women and in this way they obtain a document that regularizes their immigration status in Mexico, while they arrive at the northern border to cross to USA.
It is a series of marriages of convenience that have begun to crowd the Civil Registry offices of Chiapas, Baja California, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Puebla and Guanajuato, which already report the highest figures since 2000.
Haitians pay more than 20 thousand pesos to marry Mexican women
The agreement between Mexican women who agree to marry a Haitian man is summarized in an offer of more than 20 thousand pesos for a marriage lasting one year. In Chiapas, 13 of these marriages were registered, in Baja California nine, in Mexicali seven and in Tijuana two, just since last September 1.
Luisa decided to marry Leroi
It is not a matter of love, but of money. Luisa, for example, decided to marry Leroi, originally from Haiti, because they would pay her 25 thousand pesos (equivalent to $ 1,200) and the expenses of the transfer to travel from Mexico City to Tapachula, where the procedure was carried out.
“Maybe it’s not right, but if I can help him and he can help me, I don’t see the bad,” Luisa told the local media. The Mexican confessed that she is not even attracted to her new husband, but still preferred to give up the call center where she worked to go and marry Leroi.
How do these marriages occur?
Luisa was contacted through a “friend” who works for an alleged human rights protection organization. In principle, the proposal was for a position as manager of immigration procedures, but this new offer soon appeared.
Immigrants have found in marriages of convenience the solution to be able to be in Mexico without impediments, which has not been able to give them the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees, which has been delayed in processing cases due to the increase in the arrival of Haitians and Central Americans have been undocumented in recent months, said Javier Urbano, an immigration specialist.