Residents go about their day during a break in anti-government protests, which had disrupted businesses and daily life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

Haiti police are acknowledging that there is a “spectacular” rise in kidnappings in the country.

The new crime wave, which is being amplified by unconfirmed reports on social media of abductions of schoolchildren, churchgoers and the poor, is creating panic among Haitians that is now spreading to the diaspora where some are contemplating whether or not to travel to Carnival.

“[I don’t know] what to think,” Marsha Marie Piard tweeted in response to a question by the popular Haitian-American social media platform, Lunionsuite, which asked Twitter followers, ‘What are your thoughts on Haiti Kanaval 2020 given the political climate of the country? “I canceled my trip last minute based on advice from my friends living there. I’m confused.”

Piard, an editor at Business Wire, later told the Miami Herald in an interview that she had planned months ago to visit Haiti for pre-carnival festivities, “but got an earful from friends and family against doing so. It just isn’t the right time to visit.” Continue reading

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