AMERICA/HAITI - "The country is on the brink of collapsing": the Bishops denounce violence, intimidation, misery

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 social situation   poverty   corruption   politics   episcopal conferences  


Port-au-Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "The moment is serious, because there is violence against life, we deplore the loss of life and property registered recently during the demonstrations. We take this opportunity to express our solidarity to the victims and relatives of the victims.
Poverty increases, the common good is threatened. The country is on the brink of collapsing! This situation cannot last any longer". This is what the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti wrote about the terrible situation of general violence that the country is experiencing after the population took to the streets to demonstrate against the government of President Jovenel Moïse.
On Saturday 9 February, in Port-au-Prince, a 14-year-old boy was killed during a demonstration, another person died on Sunday 10 in Jacmel (south), as reported by the local media. The police used tear gas to disperse the hundreds of young people from the poorest neighborhoods who marched on Monday 11 on one of the main arteries of the capital. In the confusion, shops were looted. According to local information, such a mobilization had never been seen.
The popular anger is intensifying with the worsening of the economic difficulties suffered by the poor majority. Faced with inflation that has exceeded 15% for two years, the demonstrators' first request is to have something to eat. Frustration was exacerbated by the publication, at the end of January, of a Court of Auditors' report on disastrous management and possible diversions of funds lent by Venezuela to Haiti since 2008 to finance its development.
The situation of tension continues today. Roadblocks are reported in several cities where the events took place on Monday 11 February. For fear of violence, the vast majority of schools, businesses and administrations remained closed. From the national mobilization of the opposition, on 7 February, which marked the two years of Jovenel Moïse's presidential term, spontaneous minor demonstrations were organized in the main urban centers. They were accompanied by barricades built by young people who stopped anyone trying to cross them, setting vehicles on fire, looting shops, in an atmosphere of intimidation that stopped the capital Port-au-Prince.
This is why the Catholic bishops have appealed "to the conscience of the citizens of the different parties for a patriotic decision" according to their message, published on Monday evening, 11 February, and sent to Fides. "We must find a wise solution that takes into account the best interests of the nation and the defense of the common good, in this sense we call upon the conscience of the citizens of the various political parties for a patriotic decision", the Bishops conclude. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 13/02/2019)