14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2022 — Cuban doctor Daymara Helen Pérez Alabedra, who had been kidnapped in Haiti on January 13, has already been released, as confirmed this Sunday to 14ymedio by telephone from Las Tunas by her mother, María Alabedra.
“They have already released my daughter. She is already at home. They did not harm her physically,” Alabedra said in a brief communication, also noting that she had spoken “three times” with the doctor. Hours later, the Cuban embassy in Haiti announced through its social networks the release of the health worker and that she had already communicated with her relatives on the island.
Pérez was intercepted by armed men who demanded “100,000 dollars in exchange for her release” but the mother of the health worker did not comment on the details of the negotiation.
As Alabedra had explained in an interview with this newspaper on January 21, Fred Jasmin, director of the Notre Dame hospital, in the city of Petit-Goave, was personally dealing with the negotiation to free her daughter. This Sunday, the local media Haiti24 announced that as part of the negotiations, the healthcare worker’s family paid $10,000 to the kidnappers, but they did not release her at that time.
Pérez arrived in Haiti with the Cuban medical mission, of which she was a part for three years. She then returned to the island for nine months and, according to her mother, returned with a work contract at the Notre Dame hospital. “She came on January 29, 2020 and left on October 19. This Thursday marked 15 months of that separation.”
“The place where she worked is stopped, there are many demonstrations to demand her release. Here in Chaparra, the town where she was born and lived, in the province of Las Tunas, everyone is in the same, very attentive. Friends that she has in other countries, too,” Alabedra said then.
According to Le filet info, with sources close to the medical brigade, the Government of Cuba decided to reduce the delegation of doctors deployed in that country and repatriated 78 health workers after hearing the news of the kidnapping.
This information was refuted by the Haitian Minister of Health, Lauré Adrien, who assured that the repatriated group was made up of people who had completed the mission or were going on vacation.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry acknowledged a serious problem with armed gangs, which have increased 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.”
Cuban doctors have worked in Haiti since 1998, when a first brigade was sent after Hurricane George. They were part of the team deployed to support the victims of the 2010 earthquake and care for patients infected by the cholera outbreak that emerged months later. And they have also been supportive after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
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