August 13, 2006
Now is not the time to visit Haiti, unless you are accompanied by armed guards like the United Nations’ Kofi Annan. Ordinary residents, including foreigners who have been in Haiti for decades, are being kidnapped or, worse, murdered according to recent reports in the Miami Herald. Canadian missionary Ed Hughes, who runs an orphanage, was taken from his home in a town north of Port-au-Prince in late June, held for ransom and eventually released. He decided to return to Canada rather than remain in Haiti, putting himself and his orphanage at further risk. What will happen to the 120 children he fed and supported every day? No one knows. It is unlikely that fellow Canadians will rush to fill the breach. In May of this year, 29 people were kidnapped in the capital, according to the United Nations peacekeeping mission. That number rose to an alarming 49 kidnap victims in July, including the sixty-something wife of an Italian man. He was brutalized, tied and beaten death as his wife was led away to captivity. Eventually, she was released after her family paid an undisclosed sum of money.