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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: HAÏTI. VAGUE DE PROTESTATIONS CONTRE LA MAL-VIE

by Cathy Dos Santos

HAITI. Wave of Protests Against Miserable Living Conditions

Translated Sunday 17 February 2019

Since February 7, the country has been the scene of demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. There were ten deaths.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Can we talk about a new crisis in Haiti? Since February 7, the Caribbean country has been experiencing a wave of protests due to a sharp deterioration in living conditions as Haitians survive on average on less than $2 a day. Already in June, after several weeks of popular revolts in Port-au-Prince and under pressure from MPs, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant was forced to leave office. President Jovenel Moses, since protesters continue to demand his resignation, had to postpone the abolition of fuel subsidies, as requested by the IMF. Since then, the situation has continued to deteriorate due to a sharp devaluation of the gourde, the national currency, against the dollar, to a soaring inflation rate, as well as to a serious crisis following the shortage of diesel fuel.

Possible embezzlement within Petrocaribe

In the autumn of 2018, demonstrations broke out demanding that light be shed on possible wrongdoing within Petrocaribe, an alliance through which Venezuela sells oil at preferential rates to several countries in the region. A survey covering the period 2008-2016 highlights the responsibilities of several former ministers, as well as a company headed by Jovenel Moïse before being elected president two years ago. Wednesday was another day of angry demonstrations. Clashes between police and demonstrators killed one person and wounded one by bullets in the capital. "At least a dozen people have been killed, according to a provisional assessment by human rights organisations of the anti-government mobilisations launched since Thursday 7 February," AlterPresse reports. The opposition is talking about 50 deaths.

Political, trade union and popular organizations, including the Fusion des social-démocrates haïtiens and the Organisation du peuple en lutte, are calling on the president to resign. They advocate the establishment of a "transitional government of rupture" in order to put an end to clientelist practices and corruption. "Today’s situation requires a complete break with the current form of governance," they say. "The hour is serious, poverty is increasing, the common good is threatened. The country is on the brink of the abyss! This situation cannot be prolonged," the Catholic bishops reacted. On the authorities’ side, the silence is deafening.


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