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Haiti May Break into Civil Unrest as President Moïse Refuses to Step Down

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Haiti May Break into Civil Unrest as President Moïse Refuses to Step Down

Many citizens are accusing the government of President Jovenel Moise of supporting gangs because he wants to remain in power. For that reason, Haiti appears to be about to explode as a constitutional crisis looms.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Poor people are attacking other poor people in Haiti. A lot of people are afraid to leave their homes. People are afraid to go shopping for groceries or to pay bus fares for fear of being seen as having money. Those seen with money, no matter how little, may attract the attention of gangs who might kidnap them.

Haiti schools were shut this February 2021, not due to Covid-19, but to protect the teachers and students from being kidnapped for ransom. This is an epidemic which started trending in Haiti one year ago. Kidnappers have no particular favourites. They kidnap children of struggling street sellers, priests or pastors, and even nuns. In order to pay the ransoms to free their classmates any of the students have taken to organising fund-raisers.

Citizens will experience greater hardship as Haiti continues on this path to a constitutional crisis.

The opposition party called for President Jovenel Moïse to step down. They say his five-year term ended on Sunday 7 February 2021. The president, however, is refusing to step down, claiming that there was an interim government in place, in the first year of his five-year term, which technically means he has an extra year.

Mr. Moïse, on Sunday 7 February, gave a one hour speech in defiance, during which he heaped scorn on his detractors. In his speech, Moise claimed, “I am not a dictator”, and went further to state, “my term ends Feb. 7, 2022.”

Source: NY Times. Image: screenshot from the NYT article. Credit: photographer

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