Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Haiti rises against corruption

Every day, for a week, Haitians have protested virulently against organized corruption at the top of the country and the lack of economic improvements.

The demonstrations, which demand the resignation of the power in place, have so far killed at least seven people.

► For the Haitian population goes down the street?

For a week, many demonstrations sometimes turning the riot shake the entire territory of Haiti. Protesters, protesting against patronage and corruption, organize since Thursday, February 7 an operation called "Country lock". They set up barriers and barricades to paralyze the country, while demanding the resignation of the government. The blocking action works. The national daily The Nouvellist indicated as early as Tuesday, February 11 that many fuel pumps were no longer supplied. The emergency of the general hospital, but also the last maternity opened of Port-au-Prince, the capital, closed their doors Wednesday, February 13 due to shortages of electricity, water and oxygen.

VIDEO – In Haiti, the demonstrations degenerate

The outbreak comes after the publication of a report by the Superior Court of Accounts (CSC) Haitian after an audit of projects financed by loans made under the PetroCaribe alliance. This alliance set up between Venezuela and Haiti in 2008 has raised $ 4 billion (€ 3.55 billion) in funding until 2016.

►What does the report of the Superior Court of Auditors contain?

The report concludes an audit of suspicious projects in which the Court suspects fraud. But according to Frédéric Thomas, researcher at the Tricontinental Center (CETRI), "Only 10% of the 400 or so projects were able to be processed because the administrations and the departments concerned dragged on delivering the documents requested by the Court".

The report incriminates about fifteen former prime ministers and ministers, as well as Dominican and Haitian companies. "They used the state of emergency following natural disasters to circumvent tenders and controls", explains Frederic Thomas. The amount of embezzlement is estimated at nearly $ 2.5 billion, almost as much as the national debt.

The current Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, is also implicated. Two of its former companies, Agritrans S.A and Comphener S.A, reportedly benefited from PetroCaribe funds. The SCC points to the absence of signed contracts in a grant awarded for road repairs. "During his campaign in 2016, President Moses had made many promises that he did not keep, especially in the fight against corruption, and it turned against him".

► The human toll could get heavier

Haiti is the poorest country in Central America, and corruption is endemic. The revelations set fire to the powders. In 2018, the NGO Transparency International ranked Haiti as 161e out of 180 in its Corruption Perception Index. The state is also undermined by violence. For Frédéric Thomas, "Insecurity can still increase with the demonstrations. We must hope that the government does not pursue a policy of the worst by repressing any contestation ". In November 2018, the massacre of La Saline had killed 71 people and some residents had denounced a crackdown by the authorities after the demonstrations of October 2018.

In Haiti, getting up again

Despite the challenges, there is no credible alternative to the political caciques Haitians. "It's on the side of youth that there is hope because there is no credible alternative in the political sphereconcludes the study leader. It will require a dynamic of convergence of the movements to create a solid electoral base and finally develop the potentialities of the country. ".

Matthieu Lasserre

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