Kidnapped Franciscans Freed in Haiti

HNP Communications Franciscan World

Two Franciscans who had been kidnapped in Haiti on July 20 were freed the next day. Cesar Humberto Flores, OFM, a Salvadoran friar who serves as the director of postulants, and a young Haitian postulant were kidnapped in Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. Both were released in good health.

A statement issued from the General Curia said, “The General Minister and the Province of Central America wish to thank all those who helped in this case, especially for the prayers and solidarity which many offered. Special thanks go to the Apostolic Nuntiatures of Haiti and Guatemala for their mediation for the liberation of the friars.”

Kidnappings for ransom in Haiti have been on the rise. According to an Associated Press report July 20, at least 29 people have been reported kidnapped in Haiti so far in July; about a third of them were U.S. citizens.

Two U.S. nondenominational missionaries were freed July 21 after their families paid an undisclosed sum of money. The two missionaries from High Point, N.C., were abducted July 16.

In another case, Charles Adams of Queensbury, N.Y., who was in Haiti working on a water treatment project, was released July 21, the day after he was abducted. An unknown amount of money was paid for his release.

Last month, a 72-year-old Canadian missionary was abducted from a rural town outside the capital, where he runs an orphanage. He was freed after a week when an undisclosed ransom was paid.

In a statement the General Minister, José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, said that “the Franciscans will keep on working in Haiti among the poorest and needy. The Haitian people can remain assured that this sad episode will make us feel closer to those who suffer because of violence. In Haiti, as in all countries where we live, the Franciscans want to be instruments of peace and reconciliation.”

The Friars Minor first went to the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in 1493. The presence of the Friars Minor has been entrusted to the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Central America for the last 10 years.