American Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti
American Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti
Afghanistan may be in Joe Biden’s rear view mirror, but now he has another international crisis on his hands. On Saturday, a Haitian gang kidnapped American missionaries and their family members. Apparently these missionaries were leaving an orphanage in Port-au-Prince when a gang abducted them from a bus. And it’s not just a couple of victims — we’re talking 17 people, including five children. (We have since learned that the group includes one Canadian, plus two Haitian citizens. Gangs also kidnapped two French priests at the same location earlier on Saturday).
Did anyone from the State Department awaken Sleepy Joe to tell him what had happened? Just wondering.
Christian Aid Ministries, from Ohio, have claimed that the missionaries are part of their organization, and that the group was building an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. The abduction occurred as they were leaving the orphanage and had boarded a bus for the airport. There they would drop off some members before traveling on to another site in Haiti. The gang abducted the missionaries from the bus.
One of the missionaries posted a call in a WhatsApp group as the kidnapping was taking place:
“Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. Pray pray pray. We don’t know where they are taking us.”
Haiti has become a hellhole (can I say that without being called racist?). Gangs, in fact, control about half of Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, and they are fond of attacking buses. On Monday, a gang fired at a school bus, injuring at least five people, including children. Gangs also attacked a public bus as well.
Then there’s the kidnappings. So far during 2021, Haitian national police received more reports of kidnappings than for all of 2020. They’ve become so bad that Port-au-Prince is reporting more abductions than Bogotá, Mexico City, and São Paulo — combined. And those cities are bigger than Port-au-Prince.
An especially flagrant incident occurred in April, when gunmen kidnapped a Seventh Day Adventist pastor and three church members on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. What’s more, the kidnapping took place during a Facebook livestream of the service. Fortunately, the gunmen released the victims.
But the kidnapping of such a large group of Americans is incredibly brazen. So what has our State Department said about it? At the time of this writing, a spokesperson for State said merely that “the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.” The spokesperson gave no further comment.
I kind of think that Mike Pompeo would’ve had a more immediate and forceful response, but that’s just me.
So what could happen to these missionaries? In the past, gangs have demanded ransoms ranging from thousands of dollars to over $1 million. Gangs have even kidnapped poor street vendors, and if they don’t find money in their pockets, the gangs will demand that victims sell household items.
So considering that these are American missionaries, you can bet the kidnappers will demand an enormous sum. The gangs have struck gold.
Haiti has been the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere for a long time now, but 2021 was particularly devastating. In July, corrupt President Jovenal Moïse was assassinated, and authorities still haven’t arrested any suspects. What few officials remain have been fighting each other for power, as well as accusing one another of the murder. Then an 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck in August, and over 2200 people died as a result.
EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid/flickr.
Meanwhile, Haitians have fled Port-au-Prince, leaving the streets abandoned. People don’t venture out, even during the day. Security in the city has deteriorated to the point where children often don’t attend school, the sick don’t get treatment in hospitals, and people can’t even go to work.
Is it any wonder why so many Haitians want to leave? The goal for so many of them is the United States, of course, but many have also settled in Brazil. Now, after Joe Biden has largely extended a welcome mat for just about everyone, Haitians are eager to make the trek from Haiti, through South America, and up through Mexico.
You can’t help but feel sorry for these people. But protecting our borders should be of top concern, especially when you consider that along with poor Haitian families who want to escape the horrors of Haiti, there may also be gang members looking for easy scores in the US. Who would vet them all?
Meanwhile, 16 Americans are being held by kidnappers in Haiti, and God knows where. So what will Joe Biden do about it? Send Secretary of State Antony Blinken to deal with the hapless Haitian government — the same Blinken whom the Chinese mocked in Alaska? Or perhaps VP Kamala Harris, who won’t even go the southern border, much less a place like Haiti.
Neither option sounds promising, does it? Especially since the Haitian gangs, much like the rest of the world, see Biden as an aging, toothless tiger.
In the meantime, American Christians can do what they always do: pray for these missionaries. As the Christian Aid Ministries said in their prayer alert, “Pray that the gang members will come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.”