Economic hardship has wrecked the Haitian population. COVID-19 has exacerbated economic hardship and 60% of Haitians are unemployed. Kidnappings have increased dramatically and Haitian residents are afraid to leave their homes for fear of falling victim to violence at the hands of gangs or pro-government or pro-opposition armed groups. The Haitian human rights group National Network in Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH) states that nearly a third of the national territory is controlled by gangs.
At the same time, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand Moise leave office. They have been subject to acts of police brutality where police have used tear gas against protestors and journalists. Nearly two dozen people have been arrested in protests, including a supreme court judge and a senior police official.
Haiti’s current crisis reflects the impact of neocolonialism, neoliberal policies and a climate crisis manifesting in natural disasters that have repeatedly devastated the country – hurricanes, earthquakes, cholera outbreaks and other health crises that have destroyed food production, infrastructure, the economy and livelihoods. Western countries have repeatedly exploited the Haitian economy. Most of Haiti’s $20 billion of mineral deposits are exploited by mostly US and Canadian corporations. A history of French rule destroyed large swatches of the country’s fertile land. Much-needed fuel subsidies have been cut as Haiti attempts to accommodate the Paris Climate Agreements in spite of the hardship created for Haitian people who needed access to cheaper fuel after many communities were left off the power grid after hurricanes.
Conditions in Haiti warrant support for the country’s Black working class. There need to be investments in anti-corruption activities to help bring the economy on track. Civil society and activists are calling an end to the violence and corruption. This is the first necessary step towards any meaningful electoral process and to moving Haiti in the direction of progress.
A TIMELINE TO
understanding haiti today
Here’s a quick timeline of recent events in #Haiti leading up to the current unrest.
Policy Recommendations on Haiti for the Biden Administration
Witnesses Ms. Emmanuela Douyon Policy Expert Activist – Nou Pap Dòmi
Ms. Guerline Jozef President Haitian Bridge Alliance
Ms. Rosy Auguste Program Director National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH)