"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Haiti Gang Releases Remaining Missionaries

Haiti
Courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (Flickr CC0)

Haiti gang releases the remaining missionaries, who were initially kidnapped on Oct. 16, 2021, while returning from a visit to an orphanage. Of the 17 hostages, there were six men, six women, and five children ranging in age from 8 months to 48 years. Two hostages were released in late November, and another three were released earlier this month. Today, the world is rejoicing in knowing that the remaining 12 hostages have been released safely.

When a Haitian gang, known as 400 Mawozo, kidnapped the missionaries, they initially requested a ransom of $1 million per hostage, according to the country’s justice minister. It is not clear if that ransom was paid; however, it would be wise to take a look at why these gangs kidnapped Christian missionaries to hopefully avoid a repeat of this tragedy.

On August 14, Haiti suffered an M7.2 earthquake followed by a direct hit from Tropical Depression Grace two days later on August 16. In addition, several landslides occurred, which exacerbated preexisting vulnerabilities and left around 19,000 people in the city of Port-au-Prince displaced. Financial hardship is a huge problem for Haiti, with 77 percent of people living in poverty, thus making it nearly impossible for citizens to recover from these disasters.

Haiti
Courtesy of RNW.org (Flickr CC0)

More importantly, Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated on July 7, allowing gang violence to escalate, in addition to Haitian citizens being deported back to Haiti from the Texas border after seeking refuge from the United States of America in late September.

Haiti is desperate, and their self-preservation attempts have escalated. They are frantic to find ways to feed and house the people of their country, and they will not go down without a fight. Therefore, it is not appropriate for any groups, Christian missionaries included, to be in their country without a plan to help Haitian citizens gain financial security.

It is not enough to send food or donate clothing. There has to be a plan to assist them in rebuilding their economy to allow them to gain financial independence. Homes need to be rebuilt, and businesses need to be established to create jobs for their citizens. Anything outside of this is simple exploitation and leaves groups vulnerable to attacks and kidnappings. Missionary groups who go there should facilitate a solid establishment that encourages economic autonomy or, otherwise, stay out of their country altogether.

Opinion News by Hyleia Kidd
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: 2021 Haiti Earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace
The Washington Post: Remaining U.S., Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti have been released; by Widlore Merancourt and Amanda Coletta
The New York Times:
The U.S. has deported more than 2,000 Haitians, including some families, from a Texas camp with plans to deport more. By Eileen Sullivan
BBC News:
Haiti president’s assassination: What we know so far

Top and Featured Image by ECHO/Raphaël Brigandi Courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Photo RNW.org’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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