US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pointed out that the kidnapping of 17 Christian missionaries in Haiti – 16 of them Americans – reacted to a “simply untenable security situation”.
“Gangs rule many parts of Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti. The national police cannot even operate in many of these areas,” said Blinken, who admitted that such gangs are linked to “groups, individuals and parties” that ” in many ways they rule the state. “
Hence, the United States believes that this situation “cannot go on” because it does not create a favorable climate, given the work on the ground and the investments that the Haitian people need, as Blinken put it at a conference has press during his visit to Ecuador.
For this reason he invited “a merger” of the various political acts and members of civil society to unite “around a political vision” to mark “the way forward” in the face of this situation and also for “the other crisis” . with a view to Haiti: “The one who happened with the assassination of President (Jovenel) Moise.”
For his part, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Mauricio Montalvo has said that his nation “has shown solidarity with Haiti at all times” when the Caribbean country was exposed to the earthquake and that he is in areas such as the Organization of American States (OAS) ” always present and part of a committee supporting the situation in Haiti.
That Saturday, a group of 17 missionaries from the religious organization Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) – including five minors, including an eight-month-old baby – was abducted by one of the largest gangs, according to US authorities. powerful on the island, the ‘400 Mawozo’ gang, specializing in kidnapping for ransom.
Faced with this situation, United States President Joe Biden has dispatched the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to work with local authorities on what the White House has called “part of a coordinated US effort” to to work together two nations, so that the citizens involved are soon “safe”.
Similarly, the US State Department added on Tuesday that the embassy in Haiti was “in constant contact” with the national police and religious community, as well as the relatives of the abductees.
In addition, Haitian authorities have indicated that the gang has asked for a million dollars – 850,000 euros – for the ransom for each of the abducted citizens, a grand total of 17 million dollars – more than 14.5 million euros.
Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told CNN the amount of the ransom while he said the group of missionaries are being held in a location outside the suburb of Croix des Bouquets in northeast Port-au-Prince, where they were kidnapped.
It is likely that the gang knows the demands will not be met, so they may consider a counteroffer, although negotiations could take days or weeks, the New York Times reported, citing Quitel.
“Many people, including the leadership of CAM and the Haitian and American authorities, are working diligently to bring our loved ones home safely,” the Ohio-based American Christian organization said in a statement.
The organization was embroiled in a pedophilia scandal in 2019 when one of its missionaries, Jeriah Mast, confessed to the knowledge of his superiors that he had sexually abused about thirty children while working in Haiti. Mast is now serving a nine-year sentence in an Ohio prison, according to local newspaper The Daily Record.