August 8, 2020

Protest against corruption in Haiti leaves at least 2 dead and several injured



Thousands of Haitians took to the streets today to participate in a new national protest against corruption and impunity, which has left at least two dead and several injured.

Opposition groups also took advantage of this protest to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

Police confirmed the death of a person in Cap-Haitien (north), where several wounded were also reported, while other sources reported another fatality in Petit Goâve, in the south of the capital, and local media reported bullet wounds. in different parts of the country.

During the protests there have been clashes between protesters and policemen in several cities of the country.

In the capital, the police fired tear gas and fired shots in the air to dissolve the demonstrators who were trying to reach the Parliament at the end of the march.

The mobilization was developed in different parts of the country, under a strong police device, to demand the Government to clarify the allegedly fraudulent handling of Petrocaribe funds, a program by which Venezuela supplies oil to the country in soft conditions.

Today's protest coincided with the celebration of the 215th anniversary of the battle of Vertieres against the French troops, which led to the country's independence, events that took place in the capital with the presence of the nation's president, Jovenel Moise, who did not He traveled to Cap Haitien, place of contention.

In a televised message after making a floral offer in the National Pantheon Museum, the president called for dialogue.

"It is with union, peace and dialogue how we can move forward," said the president, whose resignation some opposition groups are demanding, taking advantage of this protest action.

The opposition leader Moise Jean Charles, said in Cap Haitien, in statements to the press, that only with the departure of President Jovenel Moise from power will be a trial for the case of Petrocaribe.

"Jovenel has to leave, there is no other option, he is an obstacle to stability and peace, he and his friends spend millions of dollars when we are seeing that others are dying of hunger, it is not possible for him to continue as president, and We are going to continue the mobilizations until he leaves, "he said.

For one of the protesters, Jean Cinesatre, "with thousands of people on the streets everyone can see that the president loses his credibility."

"This is a revolution of youth that wants things to change quickly, starting with the president, who does not want to fight corruption," he told Efe.

Haiti is experiencing a severe economic crisis, and the national currency, the gourde, is in free fall against the dollar, while inflation is at 14% every month since the beginning of the year, and there is a high rate of unemployment, circumstances that , added to the scandal of corruption of Petrocaribe, have generated in an important part of the population distrust in the capacity of the current Government to improve the situation.

The Haitian Parliament published in 2017 a report in which it involves former officials of the country in alleged irregularities in the use of Petrocaribe funds, but so far no one has been prosecuted for this case, in which more than 2,000 million dollars were diverted , according to a Senate investigation.

Last October, the Haitian president made changes in his government, replacing his chief of staff and the secretary general of the presidency, who are involved in the case, according to the same investigation.

Days later, the Haitian Prime Minister, Jean Henry Ceant, reiterated the Government's commitment to investigate the alleged irregularities in the management of Petrocaribe funds, but so far no progress has been reported in this regard.

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