Missionaries Abducted In Haiti


Justin Hernandez

A person is restrained by a belt and rope to demonstrate kidnapping

Matthew Tapia , Staff Writer

Sixteen Americans and one Canadian citizen were kidnapped in Haiti after they were visiting an orphanage on October 18. 

The missionaries were in Haiti to share Christianity . Out of the seventeen total there are six men and six women ranging in 18 – 48 . The youngest out of the seventeen is eight months old. The seventeen people were kidnapped outside of Port-au-Prince which is the capital of Haiti. 

The country is suffering and battling a surge in gang violence. The criminal gang who kidnapped the seventeen people are named 400 Mawozo. The gang is known for targeting religious groups and has kidnapped in mass amounts of people when they are in buses and cars. They had started as small local thieves but they turned into Haiti’s most feared gang controlling east of the east of the capital according to security experts. The gang’s leader, Wilson Joseph is demanding seventeen million dollars for the release of the victims or they will be murdered. Student Jacob Pinto  said “It is not worth to pay millions if their networks is not worth a million dollars.” Just as crime rises former chief of police Leon Charles faced criticism for not taking care of the gangs ineffectively. When asked if criticism is reasonable he said “He is not doing a good job dealing with the gang and so he deserves it.” Port-au-Prince is a ghost town with abandoned cars, shuttered stores, and streets controlled by gangs. Gang violence has gotten so bad that Hatian citizens take hour-long detours just to stay safe and avoid gangs. 

Sadly, kidnappings have become an everyday occurance for citizens and residents in Haiti. Protests have taken place the last month to free the seventeen people. The general protests have closed most businesses and some schools as well. 

Haiti has been in a recent down spiral since their president has been assassinated and natural disasters have taken place, student Noah Padilla said, “If the gangsters receive the money it could take even longer for the country to heal.” All citizens have been affected by abductions, rich and poor. The United States government has been urging Americans to leave Haiti as gangs block fuel terminals. Gangs in Haiti have also been carrying out mass amounts of kidnappings, taking advantage of the weak government.

 According to a senior Biden administration official, they have seen proof that some members of the kidnapped group are still alive, but the United States has a policy of not paying ransoms for hostages. The United States. Department of State has released a level four travel advisory for Haiti. Level one is where you would take normal precautions. Level two is when you increase your caution. Level three is where you reconsider your trip. Level four is where you are highly advised not to visit that country. 

Haiti is at a level four due to crime, civil unrest, and COVID 19. Haiti has been in a recent down spiral since their president Jovenel Moise has been assassinated there has been devastating natural disasters destroying the country. 

From January to August, as the number of migrants crossing the border climbed, the percentage ejected under Title 42 fell from 82 percent to 45 percent. For Haitians, the drop was steeper which fell from 55 percent to 8 percent. It has been almost a month as of October 18 and there are still no answers to whether the hostages will be saved.