US Charges Haitian Gang Leaders Over Kidnappings

    US Charges Haitian Gang Leaders Over Kidnappings
    Updated Nov 08, 2022
    Image credit: dailywire


    • On Monday, the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) announced it had unsealed charges against Haitian gang leaders, including three men allegedly involved in the kidnapping of American missionaries in October 2021.[1]
    • Two leaders of the "400 Mawozo" gang — Joseph Wilson, aka "Lanmo Sanjou" and Jermaine Stephenson, aka "Gaspiyay" — were charged with “conspiracy to commit hostage taking and hostage taking.” The leader of the "Kraze Barye" gang, Vitel’homme Innocent was also charged.[2]
    • Innocent was indicted for allegedly helping 400 Mawozo kidnap 16 Americans and one Canadian, and holding them for ransom for as long as 61 days before they escaped.[3]
    • The US State Dept. has offered a $3M reward for information leading to the arrest of the three men, with the DOJ also announcing kidnapping charges against four other alleged gang leaders of the "Grand Ravine," "Village de Dieu," and "Kokorat san Ras" gangs.[4]
    • Renel Destina of the Grand Ravine gang was charged for the 14-day kidnapping of a US citizen in February 2021, Emanuel Solomon of the Village de Dieu gang for the 11-day kidnapping of a US citizen in January 2021, and two leaders of Kokorat san Ras for kidnapping three Americans last July.[5]
    • Haiti has experienced a surge in gang violence since the assassination of Pres. Jovenel Moise last year, most notably a joint-gang blockade of a key petrol terminal in Port-au-Prince, causing gas stations to close. Haitian police said they retook control of the terminal last Friday.[2]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    When US citizens are abducted, the DOJ must use every law enforcement power in its arsenal to bring victims home safely and hold kidnappers accountable. These gangs threaten Haiti and foreign travelers, which is why the DOJ and State Dept. have worked with international allies to combat these kidnap-for-ransom schemes.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    We should not let reports of kidnappings be used as an excuse for the US government to intervene in Haitian affairs. Western states have invaded Haiti countless times over the past century, and each intervention has only led to more destabilization and violence. We should allow Haiti's people — not the US or a proxy Haitian government — decide the fate of their nation.

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