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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Haiti plunges into chaos as kidnappings and other violent crimes reach alarming proportion

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine Staff WriterIt takes two hundred years to bring the western hemisphere first black republic to its virtual knees. As Haiti’s glorious past rots in history, the country has once again veered to an unimaginably low turn. Few countries in the world have dived to this humiliating low point. It seems like Haiti is no longer a country, but a place where people live—a jungle where those who have the power to kill reign.Short of those who dictate through the barrel of their guns, everyone is a potential victim, including shantytown dwellers, the grocery-shop merchants and others from the lowest layer of society. The streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital, have become one of the most dangerous places on earth, where it is not safe to walk at any time of the day—whether it is morning, midday or midnight.While the country is making this dramatic descent to barbarism, there is—believe it or not—a government elected six months ago that is supported by a four-thousand-men police force and backed by an eight-thousand-men UN force. Despite the presence of these security forces, hard-core criminals and other dubious figures roam the streets freely, kidnapping, harassing, demanding ransoms over the heads of their kidnapped victims and ultimately killing them if their demands are not meant.In some cases, the kidnapped victim still meets his ultimate fate regardless the ransom was paid. This brings us to two gruesome killings that took place last week in the Haitian capital. One is the kidnapping of 20-year-old Fara Natacha Dessources, who was found dead last week after being kidnapped and tortured by gunmen outside the capital. She was shot several times and one of her arms was broken. According to eyewitnesses, her body was literally dismembered and left to rot on the ditch, few miles outside Port-au-Prince.The other is a six-year-old boy named Carl Rubens Francillion, whose decomposing body was found in a deep-wooded gorge near the country’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien, on Haiti’s north coast. The boy was kidnapped in Port-au-Prince. In both cases, the ransom was paid.These two crimes have spiked national and international outrage. “Enough is enough” are the three famous words in the mouth of everyone in the country. And what is the Preval government doing to cub the violence? God only knows.In the face of lawlessness, Preval’s strategy is to stay idle while blaming the international community for failing to live up to its commitment to helping the country make the transition from misery to poverty. His Prime Minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis, was quick to lay the blame “on criminals deported by the United States.”It is hard to imagine that few dozen Haitian deportees can bring life in Haiti in to a grinding, humiliating halt. While some of the Haitian deportees may have been implicated in this new lucrative business of kidnapping, hundreds are normal individuals who fell victims of Haiti’s shameful foreign diplomacy that allows the United States to send to Haiti people who have been born elsewhere and who could barely speak Creole. And if the underworld warlords have been so successful at recruiting some deportees, it is because the Haitian government takes a blind eye on this new comers, ignoring them completely by not offering them the basic need of survival: having an ID card so they can go to school to learn a trade.Two years ago, I was in Haiti and I had the chance to speak to some of the deportees, who complained about their status, saying that they are the ones that everyone loves to hate and there were no social service institutions in the country that were listening to their plights.Looking for scapegoats to justify their impotence, government officials have also proving how incapable they are in terms of meeting one of the basic reasons why they were voted into office. The case of the Haitian government is truly the case of a government that refuses to govern, leaving its responsibility into the hands of foreign nationals who have no patriotic interests in seeing the country return to democratic governance and the rule of law.As many as 100 people have been kidnapped for ransom in November, according to the Coalition of Victims and Friends of Victims of Kidnappings, a group that assists relatives. The latest victim is Volmy Desrameaux, a high-ranking official who works at the Ministry of Social Affairs. He was abducted yesterday while he was returning home from work. His kidnappers have asked a $200,000 ransom. To this hour, no one knows his whereabouts.Kidnapping is nothing new in Latin America. It is one of the major problems facing Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. What makes Haiti so unique is its intensity and its proportion, appearing to have penetrated the highest echelon of society.Everyone is aware of the almost insurmountable problems Haiti faces. No miracle and certainly no “honest” pledge from Washington will be able to save the country. It will take sound and strong measures—at odds with international interests—to move Haiti away from its misery and to rid the country of its enemies. Only a nationalist government with a popular agenda can bring about honesty in public affairs, rebuild chattered institutions, wipe out the violence, reconstruct the economy and restore the country’s image. Salvation will not come to any country that leaves street gangs to run part of its capital and officials accused of corruption to run government offices.Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor of CSMS Magazine. He is also a novelist and a Social Studies professor at Nova Southeastern University, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Comment this article or e-mail it to a friend.Also see Rene Preval takes office: https://csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20060516I89Haiti: The lies will never end: https://csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20061122I342

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