Danse Petro: Kidnapping inc.

In Haiti, especially in the greater Port-au-Prince region, the amount of persons kidnapped is growing, and the fear it has brought is part of day to day life. Everyone is affected because even if you are not a direct victim, you live in fear of being taken every time you venture out of your home. What is worse is that it is only affecting working class people, from the school director, or the high paid cadre working for the state to a driver or a young women whose parents cannot even afford to buy food on a regular basis. School teachers and university professors have been victims recently. Very few of the super rich in Haiti have been taken, so this is a direct attack on the population, as those who control the economy are not affected.

It is definitely a problem that has political ramifications, not only in how it started, but how it is used to keep the population in fear. If the political angle associated with this evil, pernicious development is not taken care of soon, the bandits who are making easy money snatching people will become too strong to eradicate. So how did this begin and how did it grow into a national pandemic?

Everyday persons are taken, and a lot of money is taken in by the kidnappers, some of whom are working directly for politicians. Let’s not forget that two members of the Haitian Senate, one still in office, were directly associated with gangsters who are involved in kidnappings. Bandi Legal has become Bandi Kidnapper. One of those senator’s car was used by kidnappers, according to police reports, and the Senator himself was briefly detained and roughed up. Nowadays, it looks like the kidnappers have intelligence, and are setting up their targets with planning and information. The present Minister of the Interior and of Justice has been accused of orchestrating a kidnapping because he wanted to punish his wife’s lover. A sad story where a government official is under suspicion of a morally reprehensible and repugnant act, with no action taken. It seems as if the whole political class is either directly involved, making money constantly, indirectly associated, and still taking in some money, or fully aware of what’s going on, but too afraid to speak.

Just today a Judge and his son were kidnapped in Bon Repos, and demonstrators who are angry have set up barricades on the Route Nationale and are throwing bottles and rocks. The population has to take matters in their own hands to protect themselves and stop this problem. Very few politicians have been victimized by this evil phenomenon. This is something to think about. Yet, a few police officers have been snatched, so obviously the kidnappers are not afraid of the police, but they stay away from politicians, especially elected officials, or former members of parliament. These guys know each other. Even the few, minute amount of former members of parliament who are clean know exactly what is going on. As I said before, they all know each other, and are fully aware of what is going on, and who is behind it. Many of the gangs take orders directly from persons in political parties, especially PHTK and Bouclier. So they all work hand in hand.

Persons in Haiti and abroad need to begin looking for solutions to kidnappings because we are all affected. A lot of the money paid in ransom is coming from the diaspora where all relatives of kidnap victims, and their friends who live abroad chip in to raise the sums required. So persons in the diaspora, especially the U.S., need to start thinking about how to help those in Haiti begin to fight against kidnapping. In Haiti, we need to organize resistance to not only protect ourselves, but also to denounce and ostracize those who are associated with kidnappers. Citizens must come together and protect each other, perhaps each neighborhood needs to organize protection teams to keep an eye out at all times. Definitely we must start to denounce persons who are making money from this, and not just the bandits because they’re hired hands. We must stop associating with that kind in clubs and in restaurants, even if it means not having a social life because those people are the ones setting you up. And most importantly, we must replace a whole class of politicians who have outlived their usefulness. Of course, I’m not advocating mass murder, far from that, but we must replace all of that present horde of vote merchants who only think of how much and how soon. Journalists need to start investigating and reporting, despite their fear of the gangs. Stop showing off by talking on air to gang leaders. The press must spearhead the fight or people must stop listening or reading their work. Persons must stop listening to journalists who are there only to sell propaganda. Persons must start by coming together with trust and resolve to build something solid that will bring change.




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