Santo Domingo, DR
The deep crisis that is hitting Haiti has led to the insecurity that diplomatic and consular officials have been forced to take precautionary measures to avoid being victims of kidnapping, a criminal modality in vogue as a reflection of the fact that the authorities do not guarantee the functioning of any of the essential services.
The insecurity that the neighboring country is experiencing has become complicated since the absence of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah), a situation that has become untenable in the last two months, which has led most diplomatic missions to take shelter and have the fewest personnel in the embassies and consulates.
As Haiti’s elected authorities have lost their monopoly on force, a power vacuum has been created that organized crime is trying to fill, affecting even the banking institutions.
Banks operating in Port-au-Prince and other major cities were forced to prohibit their employees from having their cell phones with them while they are at work. Many people have been kidnapped or assaulted when leaving banking establishments.
The insecurity of banking operations and their clients have moved to other complicity levels because, despite the measures taken by their executives, clients’ ambushes continue, which for many means that criminal networks reach different levels of hierarchy.
The increase in Haiti’s kidnappings was reported by the Spanish news agency EFE, which highlighted the authorities’ powerlessness to confront this phenomenon, “limiting themselves to advising the population to avoid being kidnapped.
“For at least a month, images of kidnapped persons have been circulating daily on social networks; among them, one of the most stupefying cases is that of a girl who disappeared more than a week ago and whose video in a school uniform is constantly circulating on social networks,” reports EFE.
A dangerous situation
Conversations with people living in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas revealed that the situation is perceived as very dangerous because low-income families have to send their children to schools or colleges at the mercy of prayers alone.
Middle-class sectors with economic power decided to move to the Dominican Republic by renting houses and enrolling their children in Dominican schools.
In the last seven days, 14 kidnappings were registered in the Haitian capital, including foreigners. However, the number of people kidnapped cannot be specified because, in that country, no law enforcement institution has this information systematized.
Since December, the criminal gangs were activated in exceptional circumstances when its members go out to “fish,” which is not difficult in a country where the public forces are weak. Its members already have a record of carrying out a protest, which leaves much desired.
Instead of announcing measures to contain the criminal wave, the Prime Minister of Haiti, Joseph Jouthe, after urging the population to be careful and vigilant, issued a decree creating the National Intelligence Agency (ANI), which is interpreted by diplomatic sectors as a desperate measure to reverse the chaos.
Not for a few experts and career diplomats who are familiar with the Haitian situation, creating the National Intelligence Agency is an unfortunate surprise because it was understood that this body for compiling, systematizing information, and monitoring organized crime already existed.
The timid measure is seen with anger not only by diplomats but by the majority of the population who accuse the government of being focused on the organization of the next elections that should be held on a date that the president himself has not yet defined. Since January, the Haitian president has been governing by decree when the legislators’ term ended, and the legislative elections were postponed.
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