A sweetheart deal on petroleum between Venezuela and Haiti ended last July, which led to a 50-percent increase in the price of fuel. In response, Haitians took to the streets, burning tires and blocking roads.
In the following months, more than 70 protesters died in the riots. Amid all this strife is a rising tide of gang violence turning some parts of Haiti into No-Go zones, even for the police.
A group of Christian missionaries traveled to Haiti in April with computers and supplies for a community center they're helping to build.
Shortly after leaving the airport in Port-au-Prince, things went terribly wrong.
Fred Chalker, the founder of Living Waters Ministries was a part of the group. "About four hours or three and a half hours outside of Port-Au-Prince, we came upon a gang of people that were stopping traffic," Chalker said. "We were the first ones to hit it because we were the only ones there."
"I've been there a hundred, two hundred times, and never had any major problems, so this is not a normal thing that happened," he continued. "It's a very rare thing."
Armed Men Surround the Missionaries' Vehicle
What concerned the missionaries most was that many in the crowd were armed.
"The truck was just totally swarmed with men with guns and weapons. And they were pounding on the windows trying to break all the windows to get in," said team member Jackie Brandon.
"One man's standing there with his gun and he has two white lines down his cheek and to his chin. And it reminded me of voodoo," she said.
Team member Jeff Lee said, "We came around the corner and all of a sudden the road's blocked off, there's burning tires there's debris, it's a mass crowd of a hundred, hundred twenty people there, well armed with guns and as we started approaching they started shooting these guns up in the air. And I'll be perfectly truthful at that moment I thought we were going to die."
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