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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:52 PM

Haiti kidnapping: Shrouded in secrecy

Posted on Monday, 11.19.12
Haiti kidnapping: Shrouded in secrecy

The high profile arrest of a member of Haiti’s elite in a recent kidnap-for-ransom case has touched all segments of Haitian society in and out of Haiti.

By Jacqueline Charles

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- When Haiti National Police moved in to arrest the handsome, well-dressed man on kidnapping charges, it blew the lid off a deep, dark secret: no one is immune to the country’s newest crime wave.

Until now, kidnapping was painted as a deadly trend spawn out of Haiti’s ghettos, a quick way for thugs to get money off the misery and heartbreak of desperate family members.

But this was different. This was Clifford Brandt, the 40-year-old, well-heeled son of a prominent businessman who would eventually confess to his role in the abduction of the adult son and daughter of a business rival.

For the past few weeks, the “Brandt affair” has been on the tongues of everyone, from the bourgeoisie to the poor masses in and out of Haiti. It has become the country’s latest flashpoint, igniting anger and drawing a crowd of thousands Monday in the coastal village of Jacmel in Southeast Haiti after a man was killed trying to save his 3-year old nephew snatched by kidnappers in the middle of the night from his mother’s bed.


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