"You saw my face," the white-shoed man was shouting. "You looked at me for too long. Now I have to shoot you! Turn your head away!" But Jarmil kept staring at the man. He wanted to resist. Then he saw his mother, Viola Semxant-Zucker, matriarch of the family and leader of the annual trips to Haiti. She looked her son in the eyes.

Viola came to America when she was 25 years old, leaving behind four children and a philandering husband. She found work in a factory on 34th Street in Manhattan and as a waitress in a restaurant. Eventually, she earned enough money to bring her kids — Ronald, Jarmil, and their sister, Julia — to America. When she came home from work on Thanksgiving day in 1965, Ronald and Jarmil were there waiting for her. It was one day before Ronald's birthday, and she cooked a big celebratory dinner. The philandering husband would remain in Haiti.

"Turn your head," the old woman told her son. He obeyed.

The assailant pressed his gun to the back of Jarmil's head. Jarmil felt the cold steel and closed his eyes. He felt the gun click, reload, then click again. "Are there any kids in the house?"

"No, there are no children here."

"There are kids in the house! Where are they?"

Now Nadege could hear the man who had come upstairs. He was threatening the maid. "If you don't turn over the children," he said, "I will kill everybody downstairs."

When Nadege heard this, she stood and walked, barefoot, into the hallway. "I have to stop him," she thought. She met the man at the top of the stairs.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"I'm — "

"I'm taking you with me."

"Can I at least get my sandals?" Nadege asked. He said yes.

It wasn't jewels or money the men had been after — it was her. Kidnappings are big business in Haiti. Every month in the dilapidated country, 160 people are kidnapped. The criminals often prefer children.

When she followed the men through the dining room, the girl saw her family facedown on the floor. The kidnapper made eye contact with Nadege's father, Dominique. "One hundred thousand dollars American," he shouted as he hit her theatrically with the butt of his gun.

Outside, the girl saw Ronald face up on the ground. He was lying in a pool of blood. A bullet had entered his head under the left cheekbone and exited at the top of his clavicle. The toothpick was still hanging from his mouth.


Nadege ran through an open field. Her feet clutched her sandals as the men pulled her along. They had run up the hill from her parents' house, plunging through the darkness between the trees and houses. They ran until they reached the main street in another neighborhood.

As they moved, the man who had taken her held a cell phone to his ear. "Listen, I can't get ahold of the others," he told his partners. "I think we're going to have to take her to the Cité."

Nadege trembled. She knew about Cité Soleil, a sprawling shantytown at the mouth of a dried-up riverbed near Port-au-Prince. It's the center of operations for Haiti's thriving kidnapping business. In October 2006, at the end of a record year of 540 reported kidnappings in Haiti, police were able to enter the Cité for the first time in three years, thanks to protection from heavily armed United Nations troops. They left after an hour.

After a months-long U.N. offensive, most of the area was reclaimed from the gangs, but home-invasion kidnappings increased. The kidnappers were now disorganized amateurs rather than professional gangs. These new criminals, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security, "were more likely to become panicked and respond violently than they would have as part of a more organized gang structure."

The men put a black baseball cap over Nadege's head and shuttled her into a red pickup truck that had appeared in front of them. She sat on the bench seat, squeezed between the driver and her captor.

"Don't look around," they told her.

Frightened, she stared down at her legs and the glowing dashboard as the truck bounced over bumpy roads. It came to rest outside a one-story cinder-block building on a crowded street. People sat around on the stoops outside, apparently unmoved by the presence of a teenaged girl — pretty, well-fed, with hair in neat braids — who looked like she was trying to wake up from a dream. Nadege was ushered inside the building and deposited in a bare room, smaller than your average American kitchen, with a single window cut from the cement block walls. She saw a bed, a television, and a man sitting in a chair by the door. Then they blindfolded her, and she saw nothing.

Among all the forgettable minutie of life, there is no mistaking the sound of a plastic bucket scraping across a cement floor. "Sit on the bucket," they told her now, and they left her alone with the guard. It was late, around 1 a.m., and soon somebody told her to get on the bed. She blindly followed the simple instructions, feeling her way onto the mattress. When she laid back, the springs poked her body. It was pointless to keep her eyes open. Nadege's exhaustion was more immediate than her fear. She fell asleep.

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36 comments
Wayne
Wayne

Nice tutor. Your way of presentation is really too good. I am totally impressed by your post. I am looking for your more updates. Keep them coming.

Byron bay beach weddings
Byron bay beach weddings

When planning and packing for your vacation to the Caribbean, you might want to add to your checklist some of the guidelines regarding Caribbean tourism.

TheOnlyModerate
TheOnlyModerate

Haiti has no democratic tradition, from either Africa or France. The British American colonies had the advantage of democracy and limited local representative government before the War of Independence.That said, the French "reparations" of 150,000,000 Francs for freeing Haiti (not paid off until 1947) put the country at a permanent disadvantage as far as controlling their own economic affairs.

RockNRolla
RockNRolla

The American agricultural industry made Haiti the way it is. Look at the rice and sugar industry in Haiti to see what I'm talking about. The dominican republic is as bad as Haiti with an exception of 10% of the population which is middle class, which haiti doesn't have. Otherwise both countries have over 50% of the population living in poverty.

bob0101
bob0101

The aid workers trying to help Hait are also kidnapped and charged with that crime. until a "fine" is paid they are held in custody. I am a small business owner who does beach weddings in south florida http://afloridabeachweddings.c... and someone I know asked me to borrow some camera equiment that I use for wedding photography to go there and take pictures. I declined and asked them if they understood the danger. fools jump in where angels fear to tread. I feel sorry for the island nation.

Albert Jefferson
Albert Jefferson

My heart bleeds for Haiti. I simply do not understand Haiti's inability to erect a government that can take care of the needs of its people. Ruthless dictators, greedy beauracrats, incompetant politicians, and, a poplulation stifled by illitearcy and an inability to work together for their common good. Haiti is a BASKET CASE, no doubt about it. Until the Haitian people take back their country from the elite, the "haves," it is an exercise in FANTASY to believe their situation will EVER improve. Curiously, the Dominican Republic, which shares 50% of their island is prosperous and civil. Perhaps, it would do good for HAITIANS taking refuge in the United States to return HOME and implement some of the governmental reforms that are right next door. HAITI is a blight on mankind, to say the least. May God help them. Prince Albert.

EyemNotFree
EyemNotFree

I am not sorry for your loss. Haiti is a religious country breeding out of control trying to take over my country. I do not like being kidnapped and tortured either. I want the monitoring device out of my back the feds stuck there. People that worship MLK are violent sociopaths.

Kikisaintsurin
Kikisaintsurin

I'm very sorry for your brothers death. My parents were born in Haiti Cabaret(i think thats how you spell it) And im very glad they did not rape or hurt your niece, im 14 almost the same age and i can not imagine how hard it must feel to be kidnapped!! I send you my BEST WISHES to find the killer may GOD be with you!!

Waterjunkiefl
Waterjunkiefl

WHO CARES?? THIS IS NEWTIMES BLEEDING HEART BS. HAITI HAS BEEN A TOILET SINCE THEY CAME FROM AFRICA. NOTHING NEW. LEAVE THEM ALONE AND FORGET ABOUT IT....JUST MORE TAX DOLLARS WASTED ON PEOPLE WHO WILL NEVER APPRECIATE IT OR CHANGE...

zak
zak

and is this first that yahoo(AP) is posting/writing this? There are atrocities like this happening all over the world. Kidnappings in Haiti are nothing new...and indeed horrible.

yahoo prefers to post crap articles about how to improve your relationship, etc, as opposed to the real problems in this world...

As a nation, we could do something to help. too bad all we care about is oil and money...

DUMORANGE
DUMORANGE

I AM SORRY ABOUT YOUR LOSS.YOUR DAD WAS A GOOD MAN AND A PERSONAL FRIEND...AS A FORMER CITY OF MIAMI POLICE OFFICER--I PROMISED YOU THAT IF MARTELLY BECOMES PRESIDENT---I WILL PERSONALLY GO TO HAITI.........

Igdfoi
Igdfoi

isn't about time that this country should just go away. no matter how you try to help them it is never enough.. they cant feed themselves but they sure can breed and yhan they cry about all the babies that are dying from malnutrition and at the same time refuse any type of birth control.next time they have an eartquake maybe it will be big enough to sink the island

Hisacia
Hisacia

the fact is i live in the US and if a piece of crap like these pieses of crap try to get into my house i will unload my 40 cal into their worthless asses you can bet your ass on that, i was trained by one of the finest the us army .

Jundallah Ali Abdullah
Jundallah Ali Abdullah

Haiti is like Mexico they do anything to make cash, this is NOT robber is hate man please,US citizen have to be more care fore, everywhere, anywhere OK.I love you, god bless America.

Martindrummond
Martindrummond

Why is profanity allowed in this article? What happened to AP style? What happened to the editor? This is such an important issue and allowing overtly offensive language that could easily be substituted with (expletive) in order have the same truth would have been MUCH better.

Sefloridamate
Sefloridamate

The fact that Yahoo! refers to this free throwaway publication is the tail of the tape for their editorial leanings.

Tyrome_dalton
Tyrome_dalton

It's a shame that most of the problems come from the people themselves with the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer more of these same things are going to happen even worse. The brothers and sisters in Haiti will have to have an uprising to restore calm and peace with-in a country full of corruption. And as you see the same black folks that come here don't understand the struggles of black americans that made it possible for them to live here and prosper those same sacrifices has to be done there and weed out those and stand on principles which benefit the people and not the rich only

altes b
altes b

This is another reason to admit that there is no functional government in Haiti. The president and all the members in his administration are weak and invalid.

anonymous
anonymous

Other countries are not like in the US. You have freedom to say anything or go anywhere and no one tells you that you are not safe except common sense. In other countries, you have governments that are corrupt and make a profit by kidnapping foreigners or locals and killing them if they don't get their money. The corruption comes from the President all the way down to the lowest Generals etc.

No mess
No mess

you are a asshole bitch ass water crap

Muchluvmj623
Muchluvmj623

Who cares? Wasting tax dollars? Who tax dollars? You are the same folks that make it hard to do anything anywhere around the world. How about Africa? You say that Haiti has been in a toilet ever since Haitians came from Africa? How insulting and how rude. How can you call yourself a human being? You see what we are going through we have plenty to be thankful for. We are the FIRST BLACK INDEPENDENT COUNTRY!!!! Point blank period. People everywhere are getting kidnapped, murdered, raped and even going through their own disasters. So for you to be like that towards Haitians means you do not know your history! Take a look down memory lane and see the mess that U.S. have been through. Our tax dollars should be paying for other people's aid. We are using it for war when there is not even a "war" going on. Using on welfare for people who continue to lay down and open their legs waiting for US to pay their bills while they live in neighborhoods where drugs are the primary income and where young children are left to either enter gangs, drug dealing, records and no education. It is quite embarrassing to say the least! Maybe this is to hard for you to comprehend but understand this: Those soldiers are fighting for our freedom, people still make it out of those neighborhoods, there are hard-working mothers who do not dare to have their children placed in the welfare system, children who end up as teachers, doctors, professionals and even in the government!....and guess what? SOME ARE HAITIANS! Including me! I am a hard working woman who is currently in her master's degree in the criminal justice field, I am just 22....and guess what? I AM A PROUD HAITIAN! I will never deny who I am to satisfy anybody. Haiti will prosper in the midst of haters, in the midst of all the hell that was brought against them. I see it so I speak it! Thank You Lord that we have a God who does not think the way you think. For HE knows we will make it no matter what you say. So you know what? I appreciate it and I will pray for you because you just don't know any better.

Ms Ronda07
Ms Ronda07

hold the fuck up! Haiti is filled with human beings I'm guessing your not a human being..because seriously that was heartless!!

Goodguy
Goodguy

WAIT A MINUTE, I AM FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND IF THE ISLAND SINK THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WILL SINK ALSO, AND WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MISERY OF THAT COUNTRY.

watever
watever

Reply to IgfoiFuck bitch know some haitian in haiti are better than u. Wat america produce other thieves, rober and crackerhead like u. So wat haitians dont ask u for help bitch, eat shit dont u ever talk about my country nomore i dont care is good or not bitch....

Jo
Jo

You're a disgusting person to have such a mind frame. I'm a mixed Haitian and I had family and friends who died in the earthquake, and they were all God-fearing people. Haiti needs help, and this negativity you're writing about my country will get it nowhere. I'm sorry you're too mentally ill to recognize this. You're such a fool. Obstreperous indecent people like YOU should just go away. Hopefully an earthquake will swallow you're idiot flippant, dissolute, squalid, sorry, pathetic excuse of a human being behind. Get your purpose in life together, fool. Egare!. Ou pa mem konnen kisa wap pale epri ou vin djedje isi'a. Rale ko'w pitit Satan! >=(

DHDH
DHDH

THIS ISN'T THE AP. THIS IS THE NEW TIMES YOU FUCKING PUSSY! FUCK THE AP AND FUCK YOU!

Trevor Reid
Trevor Reid

The truth is they didn't say "(expletive)". The truth is they used profanity.

Use Google
Use Google

Yes this trash throwaway rag that wins countless journalism awards is terrible. Congratulations on your lack of knowledge.

Jundallah Ali Abdullah
Jundallah Ali Abdullah

is not about poor oh richer bro, crimes happen everywhere, not just and Haiti OK.

lechat34
lechat34

i am not sure if i understand when you say those black folks don't understand the struggles of black americans... your freedom came about after we struggled to get ours. it was then, the revolt of slaves started all over the amrican continent. unfortunately the wolrd turn its back against us for doing so. thus, now we are paying for it. yes, we are hurting ourselves with all sorts of atrocities but it is all due to the fact that when we became independent we lacked the support and have tried to do it on own with the lack of know how. this has allowed a few to take advantage of a bad situatuion in order for the to prosper. we understand your struggles, and we praise you for your accomplishments. we need your assistance but you are not obligated to help. we will one day be free again.

EyemNotFree
EyemNotFree

Blah blah bring the war home.God is a piece of fe e s e a e s

Muchluvmj623
Muchluvmj623

...and for the family: I am sincerely sorry for the loss you suffered! May God Bless you through it all. It seems like he was a great man. Let that dictate what path you should now follow. Let his life be a testimony to the good things that will come to pass with the efforts to restore Haiti. *Blessings*

 
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