Hundreds of protesters are planning to march from downtown Port-au-Prince to the U.S. Embassy to demand the Trump administration stop supporting President Jovenel Moïse, who is named in the latest corruption report issued by Haiti’s Superior Court of Account and Administrative Disputes.
“Protests will take place across Haiti on Jan. 1, 2020.”, said human rights lawyer, Michel André, spokesman for the leading opposition coalition, Consensual Alternative.
“The United States is well-developed but Haiti is not,” one protester told BDR! Live, Radio Television Caraïbes, Tripotay Lakay, Radio Kiskeya, VOA, and Bon Déjeuner! Radio’s journalists. “The U.S. must understand and allow us to save our only home country because it is time for Haiti to deliver from the elites who don’t want Haitians to deliver.”
Protests are expected to continue into 2020 until the current President Jovenel Moïse steps down, say opposition leaders Michel, Senators Youri Latortue (AAA – Artibonite) and Nenel Cassy (Fanmi Lavalas – Nippes), and others.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Cynthia Kierscht arrived Thu., Dec. 19, to meet with government officials and business leaders.
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale visited Haiti several times for a meeting with Jovenel Moïse and Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond to discuss Haiti’s need for an inclusive national dialogue and a functioning government capable of restoring order, maintaining rule of law, expanding the economy, and serving the Haitian people, according to a U.S. Embassy statement but he failed. Hale was to meet with members of the Haitian opposition, and with members of the civil society and the private sector but all the political leaders rejected the meeting.
“We heard that American envoy David Hale will visit the country again to negotiate with us to keep Jovenel Moïse in power,” a female protester told VOA. “But we, the people, are ready to march in 2020 to let the Americans know we are not interested in negotiating with them. We are asking for PHTK and Jovenel Moïse’s resignation, arrest, and judgment for their crimes against the Haitian people.”
Protests are expected to continue into 2020 until the current President Jovenel Moïse steps down
Speaking in Haiti’s northern city of Gonaïves, opposition Senator Nenel Cassy told VOA that government opponents will continue to press the U.S. to stop supporting Moïse.
“We consider Jovenel (Moïse) to have fallen already, but the Americans are propping him up. They are our friends, so we will talk to them and say it’s time to let Jovenel go,” he told VOA on Dec. 19. “As long as Jovenel is in power, we’ll keep protesting.”
U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison last week urged national dialogue to resolve Haiti’s political crisis. She also affirmed support for peaceful protests and the people’s right to air their frustrations.
Haiti has been roiled by protests, initially sparked by a fuel price hike, for more than a year. Outrage grew after an anti-corruption report accused the current and former presidents and members of their governments of misusing oil revenue earned under the PetroCaribe accord that Haiti signed with Venezuela in 2006.
Since then, protests have turned into larger anti-government and anti-corruption movements sweeping the country’s major cities. Protesters, opposition leaders, and anti-corruption activists say they have no faith in Moïse’s ability to fix the country’s woes.
Although protests waned in November, they returned this week and are now targeting the United States and France in 2020. Protesters reject calls for a national dialogue and insist the only conversation they are willing to have is about Moïse’s departure. They vow to keep protesting in front of the U.S. Embassy until their demands are met.