14ymedio, Havana, 20 January 2022 — One of the criminal groups that control Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, kidnapped Cuban doctor Daymara Helen Pérez Alabedra on January 13, according to a note published in Vant Bef Info this Tuesday. “The kidnappers are demanding $100,000 in exchange for her release,” said Fred Jasmin, director of the Notre Dame hospital in the southwestern city of Petit-Goave, where Pérez worked, while living in the neighboring city of Grand-Goave.
The healthcare worker, originally from Las Tunas, was intercepted by armed men in the commune of Martissant, south of the Haitian capital, a source confirmed to the Sputnik news agency.
In protest of the kidnapping of the doctor, businesses and schools in Petit-Goave were closed this Wednesday. The protesters demanded Pérez’s release; while another group of protesters formed barricades with tires that they set on fire and blocked National Route 2 with trucks, the only road that connects the town with the south of the country.
According to Le filet info, with sources close to the medical brigade, the Cuban government decided to reduce the delegation of doctors deployed in that country and repatriated 78 health workers. This information was replicated on social networks and by other media such as Free Haiti and TAK509, in addition to former first lady Michele B. Duvalier, who stressed that the Cuban government is not going to pay the ransom.
However, the general director of the Haitian Ministry of Health, Lauré Adrien, denied the information to the local press and maintained that a charter flight left Port-au-Prince with 28 people on board, of whom 18 were Cuban health workers who had completed their mission and another 10 were going on vacation.
Adrien added that there are about 300 members of the Cuban medical brigade currently working in Haiti. The Cuban embassy in Haiti indicated through its Twitter account that the health worker “traveled to Port-au-Prince for private matters,” although it is unknown how she ended up residing in the country and if she was ever part of the brigade. The diplomatic headquarters added that its staff “has remained in communication with her family, with the aim of providing the necessary support and contributing, as far as possible, to her release.”
Two days after Pérez’s kidnapping, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry acknowledged that the armed gangs had extended their domains, leading to an increase in kidnappings and massacres in popular neighborhoods. According to official records, at least 1,000 people were deprived of their liberty in 2021.
In mid-December of last year, Cuban engineers Andrik Alfredo Abad Reinosa and Enides Galano Silva were kidnapped on their way to do paperwork at the Immigration Office in the Haitian capital. At that time it was reported that the Autoplaza company was negotiating with the kidnappers and, according to the Sputnik agency, their release was achieved on January 3.
In Kenya, surgeon Landy Rodríguez Hernández and general medicine specialist Assel Herrera Correa continue to be held by kidnappers. The Cuban doctors were intercepted by alleged members of the Somali jihadist group Al Shabab on April 12, 2019, when they were on their way to work at the hospital in the city of Mandera, in northeastern Kenya and on the border with Somalia. There is no news of their condition, beyond the promise of the Kenyan government to guarantee a “safe release.”
Editor’s Note: We have corrected the name of the Cuban health worker kidnapped in Haiti, which local media erroneously identified as Taimara Heles Jeres Alavedra. The correct name is Daymara Helen Pérez Alabedra.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.