Haiti: Protests Continue as Opposition Threatens to Form Interim Government, Create Popular Parliament

Tires are burned in the street during a protest to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise,  demanding to know how Petro Caribe funds have been used by current and past administrations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Demonstrators stoned the president’s house on Saturday and clashed with police, killing at least one person, on the third consecutive day of protests against corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

The organizers announced more protests on Sunday, in increased pressure against President Jovenel Moise, who has proposed negotiations with the opposition.

Some 1,000 people demonstrated in downtown Port-au-Prince and an Associated Press reporter saw at least one person shot dead, apparently by police. Demonstrators in the Petionville neighborhood closed the avenue leading to Moise’s house and stoned the residence after guards protecting an ally of the president crashed into a woman’s vehicle and beat her near the scene.

Protesters are furious over high inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute those responsible for the embezzlement of a Venezuelan program that was sending oil to Haiti at favorable prices.

The radical wing of the opposition in Haiti threatened to install an interim government, amidst the wave of protests and popular discontent the country is experiencing today.

According to the secretary general of the Pitit Dessalines platform, Moïse Jean Charles, an interim president can prevent Haiti from plunging into chaos.

The same position was adopted by the Patriotic Movement of Democratic Opposition, which pronounced itself in favour of a government parallel to that of the Prime Minister, Jean Henry Céant, and the creation of a popular parliament.

However, experts warn that such an action would be unconstitutional and illegal, and that opposition leader Moïse Jean Charles was third in the country’s presidential race in 2016, against current president Jovenel Moise.

In an election criticized for its record low turnout, the contender Pitit Dessalines obtained 11.04 percent of the votes (some 117,349 ballots), while the head of state took office after receiving 55.60 percent popular approval, some 591,000 votes.

I believe that the current government must make radical changes, because people can hardly buy food now,” a young university student told Prensa Latina, “but the reordering must be within the framework of the laws because this is a democratic country,” he said.

After the popular mobilization, which for three days has maintained the main economic activities detained in the country, the president once again called for dialogue in order to resolve the country’s political emergencies.

In addition to the political crisis, the country has problems in the social and economic sphere, Moise reiterated, pointing to the need to ‘sit down together and talk, so that we can look each other in the eye and put the country on the road to real change’.

Last Thursday, thousands of demonstrators marched through the main streets of the country, demanding the resignation of the head of state and justice for funds embezzled by former government officials and businessmen.

According to the official balance sheet of the Police, at least two people died and 16 others were injured, of which 14 were law enforcement officers.

Although the capital is gradually returning to normal, in some parts of the city a climate of tension remains, while barricades impede the passage of vehicles and confrontations between armed gangs keep the population frightened.

Sources: Reparations for Haiti   | Haiti Action Committee | Internationalist 360°