Haiti near the abyss!

The latest repeated crisis in Haiti has taken a toll on everyone living in the Country or somehow connected to it. For about exactly sixteen (16) days until now, all the institutions, both public and private, have been shut down due to some political unrest and stalemate between two major parties: the executive led by Jovenel Moise (PHTK), who has been in power for 31 months now, and his allies at the parliament coupled with the ad hoc government VS the leaders of several opposition parties and platforms. Moreover, the opposition has also been for sometimes now protesting against many serious allegations, for instance, a certain mismanagement and corruption, an absence of some economic policies to fight the increasingly growing poverty all around the country, an absence of a national budget since two (2) years, which is against the laws, and the incapacity of the current government to organize fair and credible elections. The Human rights organizations in Haiti and UN officials have already published reports that involve some Haitian officials in the massacre of people in La Saline (one of the most popular ghettos in the country). Furthermore, the Haitian authorities are being accused to be in connivance with armed gangs in the large ghettos in the country.

In Thirty one (31 months), the current president briefly worked with two (2) Prime Ministers, and during a four month period, the two (2) Prime Ministers (and governments) he nominated have been rejected by the parliament. Even though the latest government did obtain a controversial vote at the lower chamber, they still failed to secure any vote at the senate while the opposing parties have made it impossible for any session to succeed. After four (4) failed sessions at the senate and some serious riots and barricades all around the country, Jovenel Moise, via a prerecorded 2 a.m. message to the nation on September 25th, 2019, seemed to move on and proposed some sort of dialogue, which was automatically rejected by all major opposing political parties, including various civil organization. Correspondingly, it has become almost unanimous now that most parties (political, private and civil) are in consensus to request the resignation of Jovenel Moise as the only way to resolve this complicated crisis.

The actors from the private sector and civil society who think otherwise are in the minority and most of them won’t share their views openly in public.

Currently, all one hundred nineteen (119) “deputés” (house members) are on vacation and should return for one last traditional meeting in assembly on January 2020. Upon their return, their term expires and they won’t be replaced due to the fact elections won’t be held as needed this November 2019. As a matter of fact, this is going to be the same reality for ten to twenty (10–20) senators. Not to mention, with twenty nine (29) senators currently active, if 10 or 20 senators leave the parliament as required in January 2020, the parliament will be indubitably dysfunctional. In Haiti’s current system, the parliament must have two (2) active chambers to work efficiently. Without one chamber, the other is obsolete, this is the main reason why Haiti’s legal system as any democracy requires periodic and on time elections to protect its stability and avoid chaos. Unfortunately, most previous presidents, since 1986, have not been able to follow through, except for deceased President René G. Preval, who managed to execute some form of power transfer at the end of his second term in 2011, when Michel J. Martelly became the 56th president of Haiti.

Considering the current inflation rate, over 18%, and according to the IHSI (Institut Haitien de Statistiques et d’ Informatique) latest reports, the growing frustrations and “ras le bol” attitude will continue to increase and with paralyzed schools’ functions and other economic activities being constantly disrupt, it is almost impossible for anyone to predict what will happen next in Haiti. We’ve seen how the PNH (National Police) is not able to handle several challenging situations. We’ve factually seen how any group can deliberately block everything from traffics and even airport activities at any given time. We’ve also seen how the current government has simply disappeared when everything goes bad and simply return to business as usual couple days or weeks later. And, during all this time, innocent people are starving and dying. Several humans organizations are reporting more than five (5) citizens are being executed on a daily basis, while others are sent to hospitals and oftentimes dying days later due to lack of proper medical care or resources. The situation is highly unstable and nobody is really safe. For too many observers, it may resume to a simple fight for power, but everyone will agree that many of these crises could have been easily avoided if Jovenel Moise knew how to lead and compromise. People are tired with promises and excuses, and the clock is ticking until the current situation gets totally out of hands!

Instead of proposals, the following are recommended in order to prevent further bloodshed and some unnecessary losses:

1- An immediate dialogue between Jovenel Moise and the leaders of the opposition and some major sectors of the society under the mediation of some credible representatives from the International community (preferably new transparent players, without an agenda on their own). This dialogue should have a clear agenda and should take place in a neutral environment. The mediators should not stop at meeting the major parties (or those who benefit from the most press) but also many different minority parties who often play a role in those complicated crisis as well, especially in the age of internet or social media.

2- Signature of a clear agreement, at the end of the dialogue, determining the engagements of all parties involved. If the dialogue does not succeed, further measures will be needed to put in place the necessary dispositions towards the best options for a smooth transition, which might be the only way to regain stability until the next elections.

In the same way, further actions could be warranted to avoid the worse. However, based on Haiti’s history and considering all the occasions missed for peaceful results so far, it becomes imperative for some credible outside players to get involved to facilitate the implementation of practical solutions and stop the current hemorrhage. The tensions are already too high, and too many Haitians are feeling unsafe, to say nothing of how this can result to a mass exodus. All these scenarios have been seen before, except this time nobody knows for sure who is in charge!

The volatile aspect of this crisis goes beyond politics and can be very dangerous for stability in the whole region.

Moïse Garçon
VP of Ayiti Demain Organization