Conflicts & War

Haitian capital in chaos after gov’t announces further fuel price hike

Port-au-Prince, Sep 14 (EFE).- The Haitian capital was paralyzed Wednesday with massive demonstrations, as well as vandalism and looting, hours after a fuel price hike was announced.

On a hot day and with roads blocked by barricades, Port-au-Prince experienced a new day of paralysis of all activities, both public institutions and private companies.

Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of the capital to demand the government reverse its decision to increase the price of oil derivatives.

Without giving a start date for the new prices, it was announced that gasoline will cost 570 gourdes ($4.83), diesel 670 gourdes ($5.75) and kerosene 665 gourdes ($5.65) per gallon.

At the moment, it is unclear what public transport will cost after this rise in fuel prices, which will also increase the price of basic necessities in the poorest country in the Americas.

“Gasoline price adjustment is the only way to end the black market,” the Ministry of Communication said on Twitter and warned that measures will be taken against anyone involved in the black market or the diversion of petroleum products.

In less than a year, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry has twice increased the price of fuel at the pump, which has made the cost of living even more expensive in a country mired in an unprecedented socio-political and economic crisis, as well as extreme violence.

In December 2021, when the government announced the last increase, it promised to improve the living conditions of Haitians and build schools, roads and health infrastructure, which have not materialized.

In at least the last three months, the population has suffered a significant fuel shortage, which protesters say the authorities themselves cause when they increase the prices.

In their anti-government protests Wednesday, demonstrators set up barricades and set them on fire, while some shops were looted.

There were also demonstrations in other towns such as Cayes, Petit-Goâve and Jérémie, in which there was a day of tension and a total paralysis of activities.

In Petit-Goâve, a few kilometers south of Port-au-Prince, corporate headquarters were vandalized, including the Banque Nationale de Crédit, Electricité d’Haiti and Sogebank, and documents were burned at the Peace Court.

In contrast to the government’s lack of reaction to the demonstrations against it, some former officials have spoken out.

“I am convinced that those who stir up hatred, by their words, fuel the fire of revolt and cause chaos as a means of gaining power, do not do so in the interest of the country,” former president Jocelerme Privert wrote on Twitter.

Former prime minister Claude Joseph called for Henry’s resignation. EFE


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