3rd Protester Dead In Haiti Protests

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Above Photo: A Haitian National Police officer fires tear gas during clashes at a protest against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 9, 2019. | Photo: REUTERS

The protests have paralyzed the city for three consecutive days and have caused the cancelation of pre-Carnaval celebrations in at least two major cities.

Another protester has died Saturday in demonstrations in Haiti against inflation and to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. This brings the number of dead, so far, to 3 since protests began last Thursday.

Hundreds of Haitians gathered in the center of capital of Port-au-Prince and across the country to demonstrate against Moise following a report on his government’s mismanagement of public spending in the midst of a severe economic crisis.

The protests have paralyzed the city for three consecutive days and have caused the cancelation of pre-Carnaval celebrations in at least two major cities, an uncommon occurrence in the country.

The national currency, the Haitian gourde, has been in free fall, and inflation at is at 15 percent annually. The country also has a deficit of $89.6 million in the nation’s budget for this year.

“We can’t stand it anymore. A small bag of one pound rice is sold for 60 gourdes (75 cents), a small box of condensed milk, sadly, is sold for 35 gourdes (45 cents). Our national currency represents nothing compared to the U.S. dollar,” said a youth protester on local TV, describing the situation in a country where the minimum wage is $15 per week.

On Saturday afternoon, main access roads into greater Port-au-Prince were blocked by barricades of burnt tires arranged by young people who are said to be targeting symbols of wealth as representative of the rampant corruption running through the government. The few cars that passed on the streets were robbed, burned, or assaulted with stones.

The countrywide protests taking place since Thursday mark 33 years since the fall of the country’s 28-year Duvalier family dictatorship and the two-year anniversary since President Jovenel Moise took office.