Political Unrest in Haiti Seems a Broken Record

Molly McDonald, Writer

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Haiti is no stranger to political unrest; dissention sparked again in February. This round of protests was motivated by quickly rising inflation and charges of corruption against the Moïse administration, which rose to power in February of 2017.

“People voted for Jovenel Moïse because they believed in his speeches, and today they’re realizing that his speeches were empty and that he did not deliver,” said Evalière Beauplan, an opposition senator. “The president does not inspire confidence.”

The government was accused of embezzling money and mishandling funds. This caused the people of Haiti to resort to violence. Despite these allegations and violent protests, the president is refusing to resign.

“We have already had a series of transitional governments that have given a multitude of disasters and disorders,” said Moïse. “I will not leave the country in the hand of armed gangs and drug traffickers.”

All businesses and institutions are closed. Some international institutions have encouraged their employees to leave the country. The streets are very unsafe.

¨There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti,” stated the U.S. Embassy. “Due to these demonstrations, on February 14, 2019 the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S personnel and their family members.¨

Neither Haitian President Jovenel Moïse nor the national police force appear to have control of the situation. Protesters are looting and burning tires in the streets.

“There is a crisis of legitimacy concerning Haitian politicians who weren’t able to respond to the population’s needs and Moïse’s case is even worse,” said Jake Johnston, a researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Bystanders want the protests and violence to stop. They want their country to be safe and stable again, but they want it accomplished non-violently.

“Change must come through the ballot box, and not through violence,” stated The Core Group, a non-violence group in Haiti, in a February press release.