Protests in Haiti Demand President Moïse’s Resignation
Protests erupted in Haiti calling for President Jovenel Moïse’s resignation from office.
Demonstrators are protesting against skyrocketing inflation and corruption. Demonstrations have resulted from a specific corruption scandal in which members of Moïse’s government are suspected of misappropriating and misallocating development loans of nearly $4 billion made by Venezuela to Haiti after 2008, as part of Venezuela’s petroleum subsidy to Haiti through the petroleum alliance, Petrocaribe.
One protestor stated, “The people can’t take it any longer. We have spoken to the president, but he doesn’t understand. There’s inflation; the price of the dollar is going up. We can’t stay in this situation. We have decided to see it through to the end. There will surely be a revolution in the country.”
President Moïse, who took office in 2017, has called for dialogue with the opposition.
These protests have been going on for several days in Port-au-Prince and in other Haitian cities. Violence erupted between the protestors and the police, resulting in the death of at least four individuals, one of which was shot by the police in Port-au-Prince.
Protestors stoned the house of President Moïse in the Pétion-Ville neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. They also blocked the road to his house and ignited fires throughout the city. The protests have driven mayors throughout Haiti to cancel carnival celebrations in March due to safety concerns.
The Haitian National Police (Police Nationale d’Haïti or PNH) stated that many of their police officers had been injured during the protests, as a public statement reads, “Several agents were victims of malicious individuals who had infiltrated the event, wanted to create panic and chaos by throwing stones and shooting for no apparent reason.”
The statement continues to read, “Police and police officers were able to exercise restraint and level-headedness in Mirabalais, where the PNH had nine wounded in its ranks without a victim. The high command is proud of their behavior and encourages them to control their emotions so as not to succumb to provocation.”
The Haitian National Police (PNH) also recognized the deaths of at least two of the individuals who died during the demonstrations.
The United Nations Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti stated that the it “deplores the loss of life and property damage caused by the unacceptable acts of violence that took place on the margins of the rallies, while acknowledging the professionalism demonstrated by the Haitian National Police as a whole.”
Furthermore, it “call(s) on the Haitian society actors, and primarily the country’s leaders, to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue in order to identify and implement realistic solutions to the political and economic crisis currently occurring in Haiti.”
President Moïse has not stepped down from office and the future is still uncertain. However, the United Nations Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti urged the citizens of Haiti that democracy should take place “through the ballot box, not through violence.”