Conflicts & War

Crisis casts a shadow over Christmas in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Dec 25 (EFE).- Christmas decorations or traditional carols are scarce this year in Haiti given the acute socio-political and economic crisis in the country.

Shopping, gifts for children and decorating of houses and placing pine trees at the entrance of homes, which are part of the Christmas traditions of Haitians – have mostly disappeared.

The streets and markets are still crowded with people, who, unmindful of the festival season, appear trying to survive in the midst of an increasingly uncertain period.

“The sales are not as much as in the past. This year there is nothing,” complained Jean Pierre, an electronics retailer at a market near the National Palace.

For Haitians, the holiday periods and especially the end of the year are a sign of good sales, especially in the informal sector that keeps the country’s economy alive, which otherwise has been in a free fall in recent years.

“This year I see it’s different. You don’t even hear the carols. This year there is no preparation,” Jean Pierre told EFE.

At his side, Marie Pierre, who thanks God “for staying alive,” complained that there were no festive activities, hence no money.

The scarcity of some foods or their high cost has made it difficult for an average Haitian to make the traditional Christmas dinner, consisting basically of rice with beans, pork, chicken and macaroni.

The situation is aggravated by growing and widespread insecurity, which practically prevents nightlife in this country, given the menace posed by armed gangs.

For analysts and ordinary citizens alike, this has been the worst year the nation has had due to a series of events, including the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, and an earthquake on Aug.14 that devastated much of southern Haiti, killing 2,248 people.

This year, “the situation has been very difficult. I would not say catastrophic, (But) it is an extremely difficult situation for households and businesses,” Haitian economist Enomy Germain told EFE.

“When there is a political crisis, economic indicators tend to deteriorate. It affects the livelihoods, causes shutdowns and bankruptcy of households,” said Germain, adding that only the August earthquake caused a loss of 15 percent of Haiti’s GDP. EFE


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