PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 18, CMC – The United States says it believes “genuine dialogue and compromise” will help end the situation in Haiti where opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.
In a statement released by the US Embassy here, Washington said that it welcomes President Moise’s call for national dialogue and was encouraging “all of Haiti’s lawfully elected representatives, and all Haitians who seek a peaceful political solution consistent with Haiti’s constitution, to engage in an inclusive dialogue – without resorting to violent action”.
Opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Moise to step down, after accusing him of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.
Over the last weekend, nearly 200 demonstrators burnt an American flag in Port-au-Prince, calling on Russia to assist Haiti to resolve the crisis.
The protesters accused Washington of being responsible for the situation in Haiti, having “put President Jovenel Moïse in power”. Rejecting US interference and the occupation of Haiti, protesters shouted loudly “Down Americans, Long Live Putin”.
The opposition parties have claimed that at least 10 people have died and more than 150 injured since the new round of demonstrations began on February 7.
In the statement, Washington said that it shares the desire of the Haitian people for a better future and that “genuine dialogue and compromise, leading to a transparent and accountable government, can best serve the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people”.
It said that since February 7, the Haitian people have suffered increasing violence, resulting in the death of innocent civilians and the destruction of public and private property.
“The United States government urges all citizens, political parties, and civil society organizations to express themselves peacefully. Violence leads to further instability and suffering for the Haitian people. We commend the Haitian National Police for working to maintain peace and stability while ensuring that Haitian citizens exercise the right to make their voices heard.”
Washington said that it was also encouraging “the full implementation of sound economic policy measures for the benefit of all Haitians adding “improved and transparent resource management will promote long-term economic growth, improve the investment climate, and generate employment opportunities.
“We urge the government to redouble its efforts in fighting corruption and in holding those implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal accountable,” it said.
As the situation in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country continues, the Ministry of Education is urging protestors to allow children to attend classes.
“”Let’s (put) schools out of politics and let’s work together so that our children can have access to education in all circumstances,” the Ministry of Education said, urging the Departmental Directors of Education (DDE), inspectors and school directors to make all the arrangements for the regular operation of schools, as of Monday.
Meanwhile, police have confirmed the arrest of eight heavily armed men, including United States and Russian citizens, who were allegedly driving in two vehicles without a license plate on Sunday night.
Deputy spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti, Inspector Gary Desrosiers said that the men were arrested at a checkpoint after the discovery of several weapons, military and unauthorized communication equipment.
He said these included two professional drones, six automatic assault rifles, five Glock pistols, one 45-caliber pistol, a large quantity of ammunition, satellite phones, bullet-proof vests and five Haitian license plates, among others.
“They refused to talk,” Desrosiers said, adding that seven of the eight men were identified by their passport.
“The Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) will take charge of them to deepen the interrogations,” he said, without giving further information on the possible motivation of the group.
Over the last weekend, Taiwan became the latest country to warn its nationals about travelling to Haiti.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan (Republic of China) issued a second statement urging citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to and inside Haiti adding that those who must absolutely move to exercise extreme caution.