Political crisis in Haiti: “the street will prevail over the US”

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — President Jovenel Moïse is increasingly challenged in Haiti, a country that is going through a serious political crisis. Nevertheless, the American ambassador in Port-au-Prince gives her support.

According to the former presidential candidate and leader of the opposition UNIR party, Clarens Renois, this support will not be enough to calm the situation. Interview.

In Haiti, clashes between police and protesters have already killed 26 people and wounded 77, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). One more sign of the seriousness of the political crisis that Haiti has been going through since February 7th.

Several demonstrations took place in the capital, Port-au-Prince, to demand the departure of President Jovenel Moïse. Opponents to the President mainly accuse him of embezzling funds from Petrocaribe, a loan granted to Haiti by Venezuela.

According to the former presidential candidate and head of the National Union for Integrity and Reconciliation (UNIR), Clarens Renois, the Petrocaribe scandal has set fire to the powder:

“An investigation has been launched into the Petrocaribe Fund, a multi-billion-dollar Venezuela-funded program to help Haiti. Unfortunately, the money was not well spent. Firms had big contracts and the projects were not realized.”

“It turns out that Mr Jovenel Moïse, who also has firms, benefited from these contracts. […] This was revealed by the Superior Court of Accounts of Haiti. The name of the President is among those presumed responsible for this vast corruption,” Renois said in an interview with Sputnik.

Despite this scandal and the unpopularity of President Moïse, the US ambassador to Haiti has just renewed his support. This was announced by Voice of America, one of the official sites of the US government, as well as Haitian newspapers. In office since February 2018, ambassador Michele Sison recalled that the United States recognized the legality of the power of Jovenel Moses.

“We have always expressed, in our statements as well as in our diplomatic conversations, our confidence in the legitimacy of Haitian institutions and its elected representatives,” the US ambassador told Voice of America.

A statement that contrasts with Washington’s attitude in several countries, including Venezuela, where the State Department has disowned President Maduro and recognized Juan Guaido from January 23, the day he declared himself acting President.

Clarens Renois believes that it is mainly a “cyclical support”, because not recognizing the President in place could aggravate the crisis. The United States and France, among other countries, would be well aware of this possibility. To a certain extent, the support of the United States to Jovenel Moses would be aimed at easing tensions.

Strategic support from the Americans

Washington has a great influence in Haiti. However, he will not manage to tip the balance of power, said Mr.Renois. If the crisis were to last, Americans would be unable to turn the tide unless they intervene directly, which is unlikely. “The street will prevail over the United States,” said our interlocutor.

“If there was another very important popular movement calling for the resignation of the President, as was the case last week, the support of the United States would not change the situation. The United States could not decide the government in place, “Renois told Sputnik France.

To illustrate his point, Clarens Renois gives the example of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, several times President of Haiti between 1991 and 2004. In 2004, the United States had officially supported him, but he had been dismissed from power at the following a coup d’etat.

“In the past, in 2004, there was this same situation. The American government had supported the president who was in office [Aristide, ed] and the street had finally won, to overthrow him. It is a one-off support that is not a guarantee of sustainability in power, “said Clarens Renois.

Clarens Renois observes the rise of a certain anti-American sentiment in Haiti. During a recent demonstration against President Moses, an American flag was burned and people present demanded help from Russia.

“There is a kind of anger expressed from time to time by groups and youth associations who are unhappy with the US policy in Haiti. This anger is sometimes expressed openly. […] When there are these kinds of crises, we see youth demonstrations that say the United States has too much influence,” says Renois.

The director of the International Center for Documentation and Information Haitian, Caribbean and African-Canadian, Frantz Voltaire, also observed the rise of an anti-American sentiment. No movement would officially oppose the United States, but this feeling would be present on the island.

Jovenel Moïse, the darling President of the United States?

Haitian public opinion would associate Jovenel Moses with the power of the Americans. To a certain extent, to oppose the incumbent President would also be to oppose the United States. The Petrocaribe scandal is the main source of anger, but the American influence remains an important theme of the debate.

“Rightly or wrongly, the election of the President of the Republic, Jovenel Moses, to the Americans is attributed. As for former President Michel Martelly, it is believed that this President was imposed by the United States. However, it is not only public opinion that attributes its election to the Americans. The Brazilian academic Ricardo Seitenfus, two years ago, said in his book how everything was handled, “said Frantz Voltaire.

Voltaire also notes that scandals related to Western NGOs have tarnished the reputation of the United States in recent years. The Clinton Foundation would have particularly bad press. In 2010, an earthquake caused the death of 280,000 people in Haiti. At the time, the US State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, would have favored the award of several contracts to donors of the Clinton Foundation. A scandal that made a lot of noise in the United States.

“It is more American policies that expresses a certain resentment. Since the earthquake [2010, ed], we have not seen where the international aid went. Bill Clinton is credited with the fact that everything promised never materialized.
Humanitarian aid was managed entirely by the Americans and the NGOs, and in both cases, we did not know what had happened with the resources. There was no audit or audit,” denounced Frantz Voltaire.

Similarly, the Associated Press reported that 33 percent of the $ 379 million raised for reconstruction had been retained by the US government. According to CounterPunch magazine, only 42 cents per US dollar collected by the United States was sent to NGOs to help Haiti after the earthquake. Although it remains diffuse, all the ingredients seem to rally anger against Washington.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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