Haiti paralyzed again after weekend of relative calm
By Milo Milfort
Port-au-Prince, Sep 19 (EFE).- Haiti was paralyzed again Monday after a weekend of relative calm that allowed residents to go to public markets and supermarkets to stock up on supplies following a week of violent protests.
But it was for a short time. Haitians are now no longer on the streets, public transport is paralyzed and large companies, public administration and commercial banks have closed their doors after the government called for calm.
The police made an effort this weekend to remove the barricades, but hours later the protesters, calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister Ariel Henry, put them back up again, which caused the blockade of large areas and neighborhoods of the capital region.
Although Henry had announced that petroleum products would be available in large quantities after months of shortages, roadblocks and trenches prevented tankers from accessing the Varreux terminal to refuel.
The lack of fuel was one of the causes of the protests, which intensified after the announcement last week that fuel prices will rise again.
In a message to the nation on Sunday, Henry called for calm after a week of protests punctuated by looting and the burning of private and public companies and even organizations and humanitarian bodies.
“I ask the population to calm down and stop the violence (…) This type of violence is not a good solution and it does not take us anywhere,” said Henry, who condemned the acts because “nothing can justify the damage seen in recent days.”
Henry added that he was open to talks will all those that have “good will.”
Through its embassy in Port-au-Prince, the United States said it “strongly condemns the acts of violence, looting, and destruction that have recently occurred in Haiti and those who instigated these events for their own ends.”
A “steadfast partner to Haiti,” the US added it was committed to “supporting the Haitian people during this challenging time,” and asked that Haitians “express their views in a peaceful manner that respects humanitarian actors and law enforcement and allows unfettered access to Haitians in need in order to provide food, water, and medical care.”
Although partners and international organizations have committed more than $294 million to Haiti since December, “additional support is urgently needed,” it added.
“We continue to encourage Haitian interlocutors to reach agreement on an inclusive political accord that will allow elections to take place as soon as conditions permit. Haitians throughout the country and across the social spectrum need to create the conditions that will allow a democratically elected government to take office as soon as possible,” he said.
The objective is to try to alleviate the serious socio-political and economic crisis that is affecting Haiti and that worsened after the assassination last year of then-president Jovenel Moïse.
Added to this is the battle waged by armed gangs in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, which has caused the death of more than 300 people and more than 3,000 to flee their homes. EFE