Group of armed Florida missionaries kidnapped by Haiti’s ‘Baby Doc’ gang

WASHINGTON — U.S. Ambassador Cynthia George has called the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Haiti last week an attempt to “spread fear and terror” to American citizens. “To date, we have seen no evidence…

Group of armed Florida missionaries kidnapped by Haiti’s ‘Baby Doc’ gang

WASHINGTON — U.S. Ambassador Cynthia George has called the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Haiti last week an attempt to “spread fear and terror” to American citizens.

“To date, we have seen no evidence that attacks were politically motivated,” she said. “However, I am very concerned. We must continue to work with Haitian authorities to provide every support to our missionaries and law enforcement to hold accountable those responsible.”

What has been reported, as far as I know, so far is not the whole story. Multiple sources have confirmed to the Washington Post that the armed group that kidnapped the missionaries is actually the Haiti chapter of the Union Of Haiti Youth, a violent paramilitary group.

“Union of Haiti Youth,” which means “hope for youth,” was founded in 2010, just after President Obama was elected. In 2012, it became armed and more organized. The group often engages in rioting and widespread looting of businesses and homes, indiscriminately killing Haitian citizens suspected of supporting their former president, “Baby Doc” Duvalier. When Duvalier was ousted in 1991, he left as a refugee to France, but his son Jean-Claude, who took his father’s place, is wanted for allegedly overseeing gang violence. Duvalier returned to Haiti in 2016, hoping to “rehabilitate” his image, but the group has caused instability in Haiti ever since. The Secret Service sent a team to Haiti to protect the missionaries, a group of youth ministers who had hoped to build a school in Haiti.

“When you combine the vulgarity of their actions with the fact that it’s explicitly political, you have something very dangerous,” said Robert Delgado, a former Haitian immigrant who’s a journalist with NBC News.

Union of Haiti Youth operates as a loose collection of criminal gangs and mafias in Haiti. The group is represented in the U.S. by Victor Belizaire, who is in federal custody in Kentucky. Belizaire’s indictment for conspiracy to possess a firearm during a crime of violence charges several gang members with involvement in the kidnapping. Seven other suspects were arrested in the days after the abduction.

According to the indictment, the hostage team was first headed to kill one of their own. By the time they were ready to launch, 14 individuals had fled the group. That survivor was later taken to a local hospital, where he said he was sexually assaulted.

Although most people who have been kidnapped are released after payment of a ransom, those involved in the kidnapping did obtain a $80,000 ransom from the victims. According to multiple journalists on the ground, the victims were sexually abused. A pastor who survived the kidnapping, Raymond Joseph, said his group had talked with the kidnappers for about 20 minutes when the negotiator let him know the debt had been paid. He was then taken to prison and released three days later.

The kidnapping of the missionaries came shortly after the release of a video showing 400 Union of Haiti Youth members threatening to kidnap anyone who got in the way of Duvalier’s plans to become a senator in the upcoming elections.

“Just because he could not return to power, he is allowed to continue the clan,” said the video’s narrator, a man with the name “Myron Roland.”

Leave a Comment