Development of kidnapping in Haiti, 23 January 1973, spectacular rapt!

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Haiti is facing an appalling level of kidnapping, ranking as the country with the highest rate per capita (The Washington Post). This report addresses the issue in its many facets for a better understanding of the phenomenon.

According to the United Nations, kidnapping can take many forms. Haitian law defines a legal regime and penalties ranging from imprisonment (thirty to fifty years) to forced labor for life (law of August 22, 2017).

Historically, the first spectacular kidnapping would be the kidnapping of the American ambassador and American consul, Clinton Knox and Ward Christensen, on January 23, 1973. This practice would have existed during the reign of the Duvalier. During the years 1995-2000, drug trafficking was widespread in Haiti and contributed to its development. The kidnapping of Boris Potensky, on May 28, among other minors, left its mark.

The chronology of kidnappings by comparative analysis is made from 2004 to 2021. From 2004 to 2006, kidnapping followed by violence was used as a political weapon, targeting apparently wealthy families and middle-class citizens. More than 1,000 were recorded in 2005. From 2007 onwards, a downward trend was observed. The years 2020 and 2021 have similarities to 2005 and 2006, while differing considerably.

From the indicators, the public (political figures) and private sectors have knowingly or indirectly developed criminality, including kidnapping in Haiti. Having been simple executors in the past, gangs now tend to have a certain autonomy. Today, they control an average of 60% of the territory, including strategic axes for the country’s survival, and they have enormous expertise and financial and material means at their disposal, in the face of a downsized police force, a State in tatters and an extremely weak civil society.

In 2019, the opposition blocked the country (the famous “country lock” movement). Today, the G9 asphyxiates it by blocking the distribution of fuel, causing social dysfunction, and demanding at all costs the departure of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, routing him on October 17 at the Red Bridge.

If the different actors in society do not agree to refrain the expansion of the gangs and to regulate the social order, the gangs will decide who will be the next president of Haiti and will turn the country into a proto-state.

Radio Haiti Inter report : kidnapping of the American ambassador and American consul, Clinton Knox and Ward Christensen, January 1973.


Acronyms.——————————————————————————————————————— 4

Note from Direction.———————————————————————————————————- 5

I. Summary——————————————————————————————————————– 6

II. Introduction—————————————————————————————————————– 7

III. Definition, typology of kidnapping and Haitian legal regime———————————————————— 8

1. Definition of kidnapping————————————————————————————————— 8

2. Typology——————————————————————————————————————– 8

2.1. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ————————————————————–8

3. Haitian legal regime———————————————————————————————————9

3.1. Sequestration and kidnapping——————————————————————————————–9

3.2. Hostage-taking———————————————————————————————————- 10

3.3. Penalty regime———————————————————————————————————– 10

IV. January 1973: kidnapping of the American ambassador and American consul, Clinton Knox and Ward Christensen.12

V. Around 1996: Kidnapping primarily linked to drug trafficking———————————————————- 14

VI. Kidnapping between 2004 and 2010———————————————————————————— 15

4. Numbers——————————————————————————————————————- 15

5. Summary table————————————————————————————————————-17

6. Analysis———————————————————————————————————————17

VII. 2012-2021: the administration controlled by criminals and the explosion of kidnapping—————————–19

7. Numbers——————————————————————————————————————-19

8. Summary Table.————————————————————————————————————21

9. Analysis———————————————————————————————————————21

VIII. Perpetrators of kidnapping———————————————————————————————-24

10. Individuals and institutions from the private sector———————————————————————24

10. 1. Frantz Bennett arrested and convicted for drug trafficking———————————————————-24

10. 2. Manzanares’ case—————————————————————————————————— 24

10. 3. Kidnapping of Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso by Clifford Brandt—————————————————– 25

10. 4. Gallil gang————————————————————————————————————- 25

10 .5. Release of Guitemberg Dianstrochky and Olivier Eric Jean Baptiste without judicial investigation—————–26

10. 6. Families from the private sector—————————————————————————————26

11. Governmental, legislative and police authorities———————————————————————– 27

11.1. Arms trafficking in public ports and airports————————————————————————–27

11. 2. No less than 50 assault rifles missing from the National Palace—————————————————– 28

11. 3. Two hundred (200) assault rifles sold on the black market———————————————————- 28

11. 4. Parliament ————————————————————————————————————-29

11. 5.  Protected Areas Security Brigade (BSAP)—————————————————————————- 29

12. Power and opposition—————————————————————————————————-30

13. The gangs, perpetrators of kidnappings———————————————————————————32

13. 1.  Territorial control—————————————————————————————————– 32

13. 2. At the organizational level ——————————————————————————————–33

13. 3.  Weaponry————————————————————————————————————- 33

13. 5.  Ideology—————————————————————————————————————34

14. Individuals from abroad————————————————————————————————–35

IX. Conclusion—————————————————————————————————————–36


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