You’d think that Dickensian era abusive, religious boarding schools were a thing of the past, and they are in most first-world nations. But the second and third worlds are still fertile breeding grounds for practices that would immediately draw the axe of oversight anywhere else. Of course, the Dominican Republic is as fertile a ground for the holy tree of horror as it is any other type of flora, as “Kidnapped for Christ” is soon to showcase.
“New Horizons Youth Ministries” owned Escuela Caribe wasn’t the only “school” (behavior modification facility) of its kind; indeed, it’s one of many “troubled youth” camps founded to “correct” the “deviant” practices and behaviors of children of moneyed evangelicals and politicians. The kinds of behaviors that might reflect badly on parents in the upper strata of society or politics — behaviors like being gay.
Gay reform and deviant reform schools are typically coercive things, and on their best day march teens off with escorts like prisoners trodding off to death. The Escuela Caribe (renamed and reformed itself as “Crosswinds,” though it retains about 60% of its original staff) has long had a more terrifying practice, though: Sneaking into a child’s bedroom while they slept, throwing them into restraints, blindfolding and gagging them, and spiriting them off to the Dominican Republic for “reform”.
Following the kidnapping, friends and schoolmates are told that the victim “left town to visit relatives.”
As any prison official or military drill sergeant will tell you, you can’t “reform” or “rebuild” a human being into the desired form until you break down and destroy their previous form. In this sense, Escuela/Crosswinds has taken pages from nearly every brainwashing book ever written to create the perfect WASP children.
At this school, students start at “Level Zero” where they’re subject to the worst of abuses. Deidre Suguchi, kidnapped and taken to the school at 15 years old, said this in her interview with The Raw Story:
“They mess your mind up. Prisoners have more freedom than we had …When you start at zero level, you then had rules about who you could look at. You couldn’t talk to members of the opposite sex until you were on second level and you had to fulfill a wide variety of requirements to move up.
At zero level, you’d have to be three feet away from a staff member or a supervisor at all times. You had to ask to go from room to room. It was insane.”
As the video details, apart from isolation from friends and family, and cutting off contact with the outside world, other time-tested brainwashing techniques include indoctrination, sleep deprivation, manual labor and pretty much everything else you saw in “Holes.” What you didn’t see in that movie were the regular beatings, sexual assaults and even deaths that occur at the Escuela and other “tough love” schools.
(Digging holes to purify the soul — or something — at Escuela Caribe.)
If you’re wondering how this applies to the Tea Party, aside from its obvious links to moneyed evangelicals who demand submission and don’t tolerate anyone who’s different or offers any kind of opposition:
Mitt Romney’s biggest donor and Utah campaign financial co-chair was Robert Lichfield, owner of the (incredibly appropriately named) WWASP. The WorldWide Association of Specialty Schools was under investigation for over 350 counts of maltreatments including assault, sexual assault, willful negligence and fraud. One of these was “Casa by the Sea” in Mexico, which is every bit as shady as it sounds. Here’s a picture of the “observation placement” used by a WWASP facility in Jamaica to punish “suicidal” students:
Of course, Romney was no stranger to these kinds of allegations; while running Bain Capital, he owned the similar Aspen Education group, which ran a long list of similar schools under investigation for similar charges. But where might Mitt have gotten the idea to invest in the child abuse industry? Could it have been from his father, George Romney, a supporter of the abusive Floyd Starr Commonwealth Home — one alumni of which, “Pastor” Gordon Blossom, founded the Escuela Caribe?
If this trailer piques your interest, you can check in on the full documentary at the rebel Slamdance Film Festival, which occurs alongside the Sundance Film festival.