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Montevideo, May 29th 2024 - 22:01 UTC

 

 

No end in sight for Haiti's crisis

Wednesday, March 27th 2024 - 18:58 UTC
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Some Haitians already believe it is time to move on to Plan B as creating a council to then hold presidential elections does not seem to work Some Haitians already believe it is time to move on to Plan B as creating a council to then hold presidential elections does not seem to work

Gangs such as the one led by former Haitian Police officer gone rogue Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherisier have upped their grip on Port-au-Prince, further sinking the country's capital into chaos and deprivation, it was reported after attacks began on Monday and continued through Tuesday.

It has been almost a month since Barbecue's G9 and other armed groups began attacking all types of facilities, including schools, prisons, United Nations food and medical supply warehouses, as well as the country's largest public hospital and the main international airport, which remains closed.

“The violence and instability in Haiti has consequences far beyond the risk of the violence itself,” said UNICEF's executive director Catherine Russell in a statement. “The situation is creating a child health and nutrition crisis that could cost countless children their lives.”

“This malnutrition crisis is totally man-made,” she insisted. The number of children in Haiti estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition has increased by 19% this year, according to UNICEF. Beyond that, some 1.64 million people are on the brink of starvation.

Violence has also prevented relief groups from bringing in humanitarian aid. Only two of Haiti's five hospitals are functioning, according to UNICEF. In addition, violence in Port-au-Prince has prevented the distribution of health and nutrition supplies to at least 58,000 children who are severely malnourished, the agency said.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean bloc Caricom has called for speeding up the formation of a transitional presidential 9-member council which would appoint a prime minister and lead the way to presidential elections. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said he will resign once the council is created.

In this scenario, René Jean Jumeau, who was nominated to represent Haiti's religious sector in a position that would have no voting power within the council has already resigned. “The need for concrete action is too great to remain passive as if I were a spectator,” he said in his letter of resignation.

In addition, former Haitian Army Colonel Himmler Rébu, who chairs the Grand Movement for the Haitian Revolution, a party that won a seat on the council, predicted in a radio interview that such a body would fail to achieve its goals and insisted officials should move quickly to Plan B, which would involve empowering a magistrate of Haiti's Supreme Court to select the country's new leaders.

Among the supporters of that plan is the Protestant Federation of Haiti, which issued a statement Monday in favor of selecting a Supreme Court magistrate to serve as interim president and help choose a prime minister.

Amid mounting uncertainty and hardships, France has evacuated some 240 people from the violence-wracked country. “More than 170 French nationals and around 70 people of European and other nationalities in a vulnerable situation” were airlifted out, a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Paris read.

They have all been taken by helicopter to a ”navy boat that will ferry them today (Wednesday) to Fort-de-France” in the French overseas territory of Martinique, it added.

Some 1,100 French citizens live in Haiti, many of them holding dual nationality, according to the foreign ministry.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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