Haitian Anti-Presidential Protests

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse faces escalating challenges to his leadership role after government inspectors found more evidence of scale corruption that caused street protests in the city ​​and strikes in many Haitian cities for several days. In 2018, the scandal surrounded accusations of a high-ranking Haitian civil servant stealing millions of dollars from a Venezuelan-subsidized development fund to help low-income Haitians. Haiti is arguably the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but much of that money did not go to the poor. A Haitian government inspection board published the second part of a series of reports on the scandal, and a more than 600-page document has been submitted to the Haitian Senate.  

Haitian dissidents have held protests for nearly three years to combat the country’s system’s worsening corruption. In 2019, economic, financial, and cost-of-living issues fueled protests against Haiti’s president. In 2020, the protests continued to criticize the government’s indifferent responsibility for the coronavirus epidemic to fully resolve the unemployment issue that has faced its citizens during the outbreak of the epidemic.

A row of small protests broke out with different purposes towards a common goal – the Haitian president’s resignation. The protests continued until 2021 and were followed by forms of violence and repression that left Jovenel Moïse facing the most significant oppression in his country. The capital, Port-au-Prince, was flooded with protests, with citizens demanding his resignation. Between smoky cars and tires flying in the sky, protesters waved flags and turned against security forces. All classes of citizens participating, from the middle class to the upper level, contributed to the protests. “It’s about accountability. It’s about making politicians accountable to society,” said Emmanuela Douyon, a 29-year-old economist who lives in Port-au-Prince and has been participating in demonstrations. “In Haiti, we can fight corruption as well. And it’s about time they stop and listen to us.”

One factor keeping Moïse in power is support from the U.S. The international organization has called on protesters and authorities to “refrain from violence.” The U.N. Mission for Justice Support in Haiti said it’s “deeply concerned” and would support “peaceful solutions.” The U.S. has prepared humanitarian assistance to make sure food security in Haiti and caught up those chargeable for corruption to be held accountable. 

Currently, Haiti remains operating without Congress, because the 2018 election has been delayed. President Moïse must resort to a decree to run the country, and he will end his current term in February 2022. However, the opposition wants him to finish his term early because there was a fraud within the 2016 election that brought him to power. The contradictions have sparked a wave of protests lasting weeks during this Caribbean country.

Nothing can change a country out of this deadlock. Haiti’s president insisted that he would still assume the position, and the protesters continued their actions. They emphasized that the state and the government’s political system needed to be revised and that the removal of President Jovenel Moïse was essential to changing the country’s state. “The system is not for us. It’s for politicians to come in, get rich, and do all kinds of corrupt activities in accord with the private sector.”