Image credit: REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
By BO Staff Writer
The following report was previously published on the telesurenglish website:
Haiti reached this Monday its eighth week of mass protests against president Jovenel Moise and his administration; with the country’s economic and political activities totally paralyzed since mid-September in response to fuel shortages and government corruption amidst long-term poverty.
Haitian people are demanding the immediate resignation of the president while the main opposition organization vowed to pursue the struggle till Jovenel’s departure is achieved.
The opposition invited Sunday Haiti’s population to continue the demonstrations and to reinforce the barricades; it scheduled new mobilizations for the next days and set a controversial curfew in order to force people stay at home from 7:00 PM (local time), to avoid new victims.
“The fight will be done with discipline, order, and conviction. It will not be a battle against the people, but a battle with the people and for the people, ” the opposition said.
An operation to dispossess officials, ministers and public directors from state equipment like the vehicles made available to them was also launched, justified -according to the opposition- by the illegitimacy tainting the government of Prime Minister Jean Michel Lapin.
The deepening of the crisis has also generated friction within the opposition’s different sectors, which several proposed transition strategies to be put in place after Moise’s departure, but without reaching a common agreement.
While some suggest the appointment of Supreme Court judge and a Council of State to carry out the invalidation of the government’s sentences and to generate a climate of peace, others insist on a more plural government, headed by a board of directors.
However, all of them agree that Moise’s departure must be the first step to the country’s restructuration.
Since February, Haiti has been the scene of massive and deadly protests by demonstrators demanding the resignation of Moise and his administration amid major corruption allegations.
When the country was already dealing with a tense economic crisis and high inflation, a report was published accusing President Moise and dozens of officials of having embezzled US$2 billion from Petrocaribe, the cut-price-oil aid program that Venezuela offered to several Caribbean countries, among them Haiti.
The funds were meant to finance infrastructure development along with health, education and social programs across the impoverished nation. The president has since refused to step down and Congress has been three-times unable to push forward his resignation.
The Carribean country of 11 million people has been struggling for decades to overcome extreme poverty along with widespread corruption. These last ten years were particularly harsh for Haiti, which went through one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes in 2010, an epidemic of cholera, brought in accidentally by United Nations peacekeepers, and Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
The current crisis has led to the closure of schools, several hospitals, and has impeded the delivering of humanitarian aid to vulnerable sectors.
According to a recent United Nations report, 42 deaths have been reported in the last seven weeks of protests in Haiti.
As the president is still unable to regain control over the country and to stop the unrest, the United States which back him are calling for dialogue.