Haiti Spirals Into Turmoil Over President’s Legitimacy
Unrest in Haiti is continuing as demonstrators are demanding President Jovenel Moise step down in a conflict between the government and his opposition over when his term ends, creating chaos in the Caribbean nation.
Protesters in Port-au-Prince marched through the streets yelling “down with the dictatorship!” as they clashed with police, according to reports from Al Jazeera. The opposition says Moise’s five-year term which began in 2016 was set to end February 7. But the results were negated by the nation’s electoral council.
Moise says because of that, he ran and won again and took office in 2017, which would make him set to step down next year.
Haitians have taken to the streets over the dispute for weeks and has captured international attention. The United States so far has backed Moise’s position. Last week U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that “a new elected president should succeed President Moise when his term ends on February 7, 2022.”
Meanwhile, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States Bocchit Edmond is calling on the international community to support Moise’s government.
“I believe the international community, our international partners, should work with us and with the opposition parties to make sure that we come to some kind of dialogue or political agreement, so we can have a better way to move forward,” Edmond said, according to Al Jazeera.
But Haitian protesters are angered at the response of other nations in support of Moise.
“Despite all the kidnappings, the massacres in poor neighbourhoods, the United States continues to support him,” said Sheila Pelicier, a protester. “The money from the PetroCaribe (development loan program) fund has been squandered, we don’t have good hospitals … and the United States continues to support this corrupt government.”
Haitian officials said a Feb. 7 attempt at what Moise called a coup had been deposed.
“These people had contacted national palace security officials, high-ranking officers of the national palace whose mission was to arrest the president … and also to facilitate the installation of a new president,” said Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe at a news conference.