Haiti: Protests stun Haiti

Political life seems to have gone into slow motion in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, as people wait for President Jovenel Moise to step down.

It’s been this way since the national audit office published the second part of an inquiry into loans to Haiti under Petrocaribe, a regional alliance covering the purchase of Venezuelan oil at preferential prices and promotion of economic cooperation.

The report pointed to the president as being part of arrangements that many regard as a tainted. 

Youth demonstrations over the issue have been growing, with tens of thousands participating in a major protest on 9 June. Now the Catholic Church, the private sector’s financial forum, writers and other groups have sent written demands for the president’s resignation.

On 12 June people were encouraged to stop following the president on Twitter, and in the following 24 hours he lost 10,000 followers.

But still he stays. 

He claims to be the solution, not the cause, of the country’s problems, a position he justified in a in a mid-June speech in which he denied involvement in corruption and pointed out that the audit report covered a period before he became president in 2017.

Nevertheless, demonstrations continue, with barricades and burnt tyres in the streets. Schools remain closed although final examinations are imminent.

“We demand that the president resigns and hands himself over to justice,” a demonstrator, Velina Elysee Charlier, told me. “In order to truly develop, we need an end to impunity.”

/Ralph Thomassaint-Joseph, Port-au-Prince

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.