PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that police say is holding 17 American members of a kidnapped missionary group is seen in a video released Thursday saying he will kill them if he doesn’t get what he’s demanding.
The video posted on social media shows Wilson Joseph dressed in a blue suit, carrying a blue hat and wearing a large cross around his neck.
“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” he said in the video.
He also threatened Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Haiti’s national police chief as he spoke in front of the open coffins that apparently held several members of his gang who were recently killed.
“You guys make me cry. I cry water. But I’m going to make you guys cry blood,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon, Henry’s office announced that Léon Charles had resigned as head of the National Police and was replaced by Frantz Elbé. The newspaper Le Nouvelliste said Elbé was director of the police departments of the South East and Nippes and previously served as general security coordinator of the National Palace when Jocelerme Privert was provisional president.
“We would like for public peace to be restored, that we return to normal life and that we regain our way to democracy,” Henry said.
There was no immediate comment from Charles or Elbé.
Earlier this week, authorities said that the gang was demanding $1 million per person, although it wasn’t immediately clear that included the five children in the group, among them an 8-month-old. Sixteen Americans and one Canadian were abducted, along with their Haitian driver.
The missionaries are with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, which held a news conference before someone posted the video of the gang leader.
Weston Showalter, spokesman for the religious group, said that the families of those who’d been kidnapped are from Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist communities in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario, Canada. He read a letter from the families, who weren’t identified by name, in which they said, “God has given our loved ones the unique opportunity to live out our Lord’s command to love your enemies.”
The group invited people to join them in prayer for the kidnappers as well as those kidnapped and expressed gratitude for help from “people that are knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with” such situations.
“Pray for these families,” Showalter said. “They are in a difficult spot.”
The organization later issued a statement saying it would not comment on the video “until those directly involved in obtaining the release of the hostages have determined that comments will not jeopardize the safety and well-being of our staff and family members.”
The gang leader’s death threat added to the already intense concern in and around Holmes County, Ohio, where Christian Aid Ministries is based and has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of Amish, conservative Mennonite and related groups. Many members of those groups have supported the organization through donations or by volunteering at its warehouse.
“These kinds of things erase some of the boundaries that exist within our circles,” added Marcus Yoder, executive director of the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg.
“Many people in the community feel helpless, but they also realize the power of prayer and the power of our historic theology,” he said, including the Anabaptist belief in nonresistance to violence.
The same day that the missionaries were kidnapped, a gang also abducted a Haiti university professor, according to a statement that Haiti’s ombudsman-like Office of Citizen Protection issued on Tuesday. It also noted that a Haitian pastor abducted earlier this month has not been released despite a ransom being paid.
“The criminals … operate with complete impunity, attacking all members of society,” the organization said.
UNICEF said Thursday that the number of women and children kidnapped in the first eight months of this year has surpassed the total for all of last year.
“Nowhere is safe for children in Haiti anymore,” Jean Gough, UNICEF regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement. “Whether on their way to school, at home or even at church, girls and boys are at risk of being kidnapped anywhere, at any time of the day or night.”
UNICEF said 71 women and 30 children were kidnapped this year, up from 59 women and 37 children last year.
“They represent one third of the 455 kidnappings reported this year,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators blocked roads and burned tires in Haiti’s capital to decry a severe fuel shortage and a spike in insecurity and to demand that the prime minister step down.
The scattered protest took place across the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
In addition to kidnappings, the gangs also are blamed for blocking gas distribution terminals and hijacking supply trucks, which officials say has led to a shortage of fuel. Many gas stations now remain closed for days at a time, and the lack of fuel is so dire that the CEO of Digicel Haiti announced on Tuesday that 150 of its 1,500 branches countrywide are out of diesel.
“Nothing works!” complained Davidson Meiuce, who joined Thursday’s protest. “We are suffering a lot.”
Some protestors held up signs including one that read, “Down with the high cost of living.”
Demonstrators clashed with police in some areas, with officers firing tear gas that mixed with the heavy black smoke rising from burning tires that served as barricades.
Alexandre Simon, a 34-year-old English and French teacher, said he and others are protesting because Haitians are facing such dire situations.
“There are a lot of people who cannot eat,” he said. “There is no work … There are a lot of things we don’t have.”
mRNA vaccines weaken immune system even after COVID-19 recovery, according to UK data
COVID-19 vaccines appear to inhibit the body’s natural ability to produce antibodies, leaving vaccinated people vulnerable to infection.
The alarming information was contained in the UK government’s latest “COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report,” which noted that “N antibody levels appear to be lower in people who acquire infection following two doses of vaccination.”
Vaccine researcher Alex Berenson first highlighted the UK government’s alarming admission, warning it means vaccinated people will never be able to acquire full immunity even after they’ve recovered from an infection.
“What the British are saying is they are now finding the vaccine interferes with your body’s innate ability after infection to produce antibodies against not just the spike protein but other pieces of the virus,” Berenson explained.
“Specifically, vaccinated people don’t seem to be producing antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, the shell of the virus, which are a crucial part of the response in unvaccinated people.”
The result is “vaccinated people will be far more vulnerable to mutations in the spike protein EVEN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED AND RECOVERED ONCE,” Berenson writes.
“It also means the virus is likely to select for mutations that go in exactly that direction, because those will essentially give it an enormous vulnerable population to infect. And it probably is still more evidence the vaccines may interfere with the development of robust long-term immunity post-infection.”
Berenson’s research dovetails with results from an independent study conducted by an Illinois physician who demonstrated how the COVID vaccine suppresses the body’s adaptive immune system, leaving vaccinated individuals more susceptible to illness and possibly explaining the phenomenon of “breakthrough infections.”
“If they have this low [immunity] and it stays and it persists… and that adaptive immune system response persists… it’s going to have a bad response to any other kind of viral infection,” claimed Dr. Nathan Thompson.
“If you looked at that blood work, would you say that this person is very susceptible to having another viral infection, and maybe…you just might call it a breakthrough infection, you guys see that? A breakthrough infection.”
“Could it be that after this maybe this is happening in a lot of people and leaving them wide open to have breakthrough infections after that?” the doctor questioned, imploring other doctors to conduct their own tests.
COVID-19 vaccine developer Dr. David LV Bauer also admitted the jabs destroy the body’s immune response, lowering crucial antibodies necessary to fight off disease.
Last week, Berenson during an appearance on the ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ also broke down how UK government data also showed double-vaccinated individuals contracted COVID at higher rates than unvaccinated people.
Washington Post editorial board calls for United States military invasion of Haiti
The Washington Post editorial board is calling for yet more military action in foreign nations, this time much closer to home in a seeming throwback to the era of the Monroe Doctrine.
“Haiti’s spiraling mayhem, florid lawlessness and humanitarian meltdown were predictable following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July,” the op-ed published earlier in the week began. “In a country already crippled by governmental dysfunction, the vacuum of political legitimacy and authority after that murder left a breeding ground for anarchy.”
The article links Biden administration ‘inaction’ with the recent kidnapping of 17 Ohio-based missionaries in Port-au-Prince. Currently, a criminal gang is demanding $17 million for their release, as FBI agents are reportedly on the ground searching for clues as to where they are being held.
“The mess was largely ignored by the Biden administration, which has been preoccupied with other crises, until the kidnapping Saturday of 17 missionaries — a Canadian and 16 Americans, including five children — near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince,” WaPo continues.
“Now the maelstrom in the hemisphere’s poorest nation is no longer ignorable,” the editorial board writes.
Here are the key lines calling for US military action:
Yet for all its unintended consequences, outside intervention could also establish a modicum of stability and order that would represent a major humanitarian improvement on the status quo, and with it, the prospect of lives saved and livelihoods enabled.
In 2010, the U.S. sent a major Navy and Marine deployment to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in the wake of a deadly earthquake that devastated the country. Also this summer, a couple hundred Marines were sent in response to an earthquake that resulted in the deaths of more that 2,000 Haitians.
The editorial board concludes, “In the cost-benefit analysis that would attend any fresh intervention, policymakers must be alert to the risks, but also to the enormous peril of continuing to do nothing.”
How Florida could save Christmas: Port authority tells cargo vessels waiting to dock in California to divert via Panama Canal to The Sunshine State where there are no backlogs
The Jacksonville Port Authority said it’s the solution to an unprecedented logjam at The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where weeks-long queues are slowing commerce ahead of the year’s busiest shopping season.
It’s a sharp contrast from the scene in Jacksonville, which officials said has maintained terminal fluidity – and set a new container volume record – despite market disruptions.
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