They kidnapped three custodians of the president of the Senate of Haiti

The president of the Senate of Haiti, Joseph Lambert, confirmed this Sunday that three of his security agents were kidnapped, in the middle of a wave of violence that does not stop and the growing political tensions between the Executive and the Legislature of the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Lambert’s bodyguards were kidnapped on Saturday by an armed gang, demanding a ransom of 5 million dollars to free them, the senator told the news agency EFE.

Lambert attributed the kidnapping to the situation of “general insecurity” in Haiti, without linking it to possible political motives. The armed gangs that operate in the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, are financed by kidnappings, which in recent months have occurred daily and indiscriminately.

These gangs kidnapped at least 1,002 people last year, including 81 foreigners from 6 countries, according to a report by the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH), an NGO specialized in monitoring these cases.

Likewise, the senator assured that the speech he plans to give this Monday at the headquarters of the Upper House is maintained, which since January 2020 he has not exercised his functions because the mandate of 20 senators – two thirds of the chamber – expired without having held elections to renew the body.

In his speech, Lambert will defend that the tenure of the ten senators who are still active ends in January 2023, something that is being questioned by political sectors close to the Executive.

Active senators – the only elective positions that remain in power in Haiti – were elected in 2016 and took office for six years at the beginning of 2017. Some political sectors argue that the senators’ mandate expires this Monday, January 10, based on an interpretation of the Constitution.

A similar controversy took place in Haiti last year around the period of the president’s mandate Jovenel Moise, who was subsequently assassinated on July 7, 2021.

Since then, the deep political crisis in which the Caribbean country has been immersed for years was amplified, with the added ingredient of a wave of violence that is the most serious in recent decades.

After the assassination of Moise, Prime Minister Ariel Henry assumed command of the country. But the situation has not changed, and Henry himself was the victim of an assassination attempt a week ago during the celebrations of the national holiday, organized in the city of Gonaïves.

Control of daily life in the country has been taken over by gangs, which undermines hopes of an improvement in living conditions for the population.

Gang violence has left at least 893 violent deaths in 2021, including 53 police officers, according to data from the National Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church in Haiti.

The latest victims of the wave of violence were two journalists, Wilguens Louissaint and John Wesley Amady, who were shot dead last Thursday by members of a gang in the Boule 12 area, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, according to Radio Écoute. Canadian station for which one of them worked.

With information from EFE and AP agencies

By Editor