Haitian Gangsters Kidnap Cuban Medical Brigade Driver

(AFP) – A driver of Cuba’s medical brigade in Haiti has been kidnapped by gangsters in Port-au-Prince, the government in Havana said on Tuesday.

Alejandro Aguilera Milanes, a driver in the 250-strong brigade of doctors, nurses and support staff deployed to provide critical health services in Haiti, was taken on January 23, the health ministry said in a statement.

The statement added “efforts were initiated with the Haitian authorities” to ensure the driver’s safe and prompt release.

The ministry did not give the reasons for the kidnapping nor stated whether a ransom was being sought.

This was not the first kidnapping of a brigade member by members of gangs that control more than half of Haitian territory.

Last year, doctor Daymara Helen Perez was held for 10 days after being kidnapped by gangsters from the bus she was traveling in..

The poorest nation in the Americas, Haiti has been gripped by a worsening political and economic crisis since the July 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moise.

In 2022, the UN recorded 1,359 kidnappings and more than 2,000 murders in the country — a third more than the previous year.

Last week, Doctors Without Borders said it was suspending operations at a hospital in Port-au-Prince after gunmen broke in, pulled out a patient, and shot him dead a few feet away.