Last Thursday, February 7, the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse completed two years in office. This fact was met with people’s protests demanding his renunciation.

By Catalina Ibarra

The massive demonstrations extended throughout the following week, keeping the country paralyzed and on fire. Until now, there have been at least nine deaths due to brutal repression.

However, the crisis of the Moïse administrations comes since mid-2018. In July that year, the people achieved to stop an increase in fuel prices that would affect the living cost for most of the population. This measure had been agreed upon between the government and the IMF.

The June demonstrations ended with the withdrawal of the increase and the dismissal of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant.

The struggle of the Haitian people continued to develop. By November, there were massive protests that paralyzed the Caribbean country once again. The State forces repressed them, leaving behind at least 11 deaths.

In this occasion, the population mobilized against the scandalous corruption of the government officials, particularly due to the misuse of funds of the PetroCaribe program.

Between 2008 and 2016, the Venezuelan administration offered fuel to the island in “soft prices”. According to an investigation published in 2017 by the Haitian Senate, this meant the diversion of over 3 billion dollars to employees linked to the current president.

After publishing the report and under pressure of the Haitian people, President Moïse promised justice against those responsible for the diversion of funds. However, until the end of last year, there had been no initiative from the president. For this reason, the Haitian people pointed out Moïse as an accomplice of the serious state corruption and demanded his renunciation again, for his links to ex-president Martelly.

During these months, popular discontent has focused and increased until it reached the protests this week. Workers and students have joined the opposition demonstrations demanding the renunciation of the government, for the end of corruption and against the growing inflation in the country’s economy.

President Moïse requested the end of the protests and dialogue with the protestors last Thursday [02/14], but he dismissed the possibility of renunciation or a transitional government with opposition sectors.

On his part, Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant, announced this Saturday [02/16] a series of measures oriented to demobilize the protests. Among them, he seeks to establish a dialogue about increase in wages, reduction in food prices and public administration expenses.

Haiti is the poorest country in America, where two out of every three Haitians live with less than a dollar per day, occupying post 163 of the 188 countries in the Human Development Index of the UN.

With a population of around 10 million inhabitants, at least 2 million and a half live in extreme poverty. Unemployment tops 50% of the population.

From the IWL-FI, we support unconditionally the mobilizations and join the struggle for the downfall of Moïse!