Haiti: Opposition parties not impressed with visit of US official

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Haiti: Opposition parties not impressed with visit of US official
President Jovenel Moise (second from left) next to US Under Secretary David Hale
President Jovenel Moise (second from left) next to US Under Secretary David Hale

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Mar 2, CMC – Opposition politicians maintained that the resignation of President Jovenel Moise is “the solution to the current crisis” in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country as a senior United States government official held talks with Moise on Friday.

“The Americans do not understand the Haitian political crisis for promoting dialogue, while the main obstacle is President Jovenel Moïse,” said André Michel, one of the spokesmen for the opposition parties that have been demanding the resignation of Moise, who was sworn into office in February 2017.

“The solution to the current political crisis is the resignation of Jovenel Moïse,” he added.

US Under Secretary David Hale also met with various stakeholders to discuss the way forward on dialogue and economic growth. He urged the government to develop a long-term strategy to strengthen institutions, improve good governance, and fight corruption.

“Haitians have suffered for far too long from political instability, economic mismanagement, and corruption. Political stability will attract economic growth and foreign investment. We commend the Haitian National Police on its professional management, and will continue to provide support to enable the National Police to carry out its mandate.

“The United States government welcomes efforts to begin an inclusive and earnest dialogue, and looks forward to fair and transparent parliamentary and local elections this October, which will help channel change through the ballot box and not through violence,” he said.

Moise later said that they discussed the situation in the country, adding, “I appreciate the availability of the US government to facilitate the search for an inter-Haitian solution to the socio-political crisis.”

Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant said “the discussions focused on the need to strengthen the process of institutionalization of democracy in Haiti through dialogue”.

But the opposition parties say they are not impressed by the “American mediation” and that Hale’s visit will not get things moving in the right direction.

Earlier this week, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts-Nevis “expressed deep concern about the situation prevailing in Haiti during the past three weeks characterized by violent protests jeopardizing the political, economic and social stability of the country”.

The leaders said that they recognised that the violent protests violated the fundamental and inalienable rights and freedoms of a large part of the population.

“Heads of Government call upon all stakeholders to prioritise dialogue as a means to address peacefully and meaningfully all relevant issues and to create the conditions for lasting political stability essential to the sustainable economic and social development of Haiti.

“Heads of Government also encourage and support the Haitian Government in its efforts and initiatives and call on all Opposition Leaders and other stakeholders to put the national interests and the well-being of the Haitian People at the forefront.

President Moise is under pressure from opposition parties to step down over his handling of domestic affairs as well as the use of funds under PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Several people have died since the street demonstrations started last month and Moise has already indicated that he does not intend to step down in favour of armed gangs and drug traffickers, acknowledging that the “the crisis we are going through is very serious”.

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