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Michiganders kidnapped in Haiti released; Congressman calls for more support for Haitian democracy

Duffy, Vincent
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All 17 people who were kidnapped by a Haitian gang in October are now free.

That group included six people from Michigan.

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat and co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus, said he is relieved that everyone has finally been released, but he said the U.S. government can't stop there, because Haitians themselves are suffering the same violence and kidnappings.

Levin said the Biden administration needs to be more supportive of a grassroots pro-democracy movement that's been growing in Haiti.

In August, the group signed a declaration setting out the parameters to establish universal voting rights, he said, along with a pathway toward a free, fair and democratic election.

"Did the U.S. celebrate this? No, we said nothing," Levin said. "And then did the U.S. invite these warriors for rebuilding democracy to the Democracy Summit last weekend? Nope, we didn't do that."

Levin said he will continue to urge the Biden administration to recognize the work of the pro-democracy group, and he's optimistic that will happen soon.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.