Caribbean – January 3, 2021
TrueNewsBlog – TNB
By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
(TrueNewsBlog) – The political opposition in Haiti, made up of anyone who is not supportive of Jovenel Moise, is about to unleash one of the worst kinds of social upheavals seeking to end Moise’s reign as Haiti’s 57th President. Mr. Moise came to power in 2016 after a hotly contested election marred with accusations of fraud. According to the Haitian constitution, Moise’s presidential term should last five years from the date he takes office. Still, members of the opposition insist that his term of office ends on February 7, 2021.
Political instability has been the hallmark of the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Since the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has gone from bad to worse with an ever-changing political situation intertwined with bad governance, corruption, poverty and crime.
Moise’s government has been anything but stable. Since his ascension to power, he had gone through four prime ministers, including Henry Ceant, who accused Moise of orchestrating an assassination attempt on his life. Ceant was unceremoniously discharged by the Haitian Parliament that was later disbanded as the terms of most of the deputies and senators ended. Like his predecessor Michel Joseph Martelly, President Moise has categorically refused to hold legislative elections and has been ruling by decree since 2019.
A week after three powerful US Congressmen issued a press release announcing their support for a transitional government to replace Moise, the President directed his advisors to draft an agreement to share power with the more recalcitrant members of the opposition. The agreement, a copy of which was sent to TrueNewsBlog, calls for Moise to stay in power until February 7, 2022. There is a caveat; he will hold legislative elections in August of this year and prepare the country for the eventual presidential election to be held May 2022, requiring a transitional government after February 7, 2022.
TrueNewsBlog interviewed several opposition leaders who said that they are not interested in any deal with President Moise cited the press release issued by Congressmen Gregory Meeks (D-NY), incoming chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. One opposition leader said, “when the Americans want you out, you go…”
Other opposition leaders had called on their supporters to be ready for what they believe would be one of the most effective public protests since 2019 when political protests erupted in several cities in Haiti and lasted more than a week. The leaders promised that this time, the protest would go on until Moise resigns. In 2019, a five-day protest resulted in many losses of lives and physical injuries.
Since 2018, criminal gangs have taken control over the metropolitan areas of Port-au- Prince, kidnapping people at gunpoint in broad daylight. In the last 30 days, more than forty people have been kidnaped. Neither the Haitian national police force nor Jovenel Moise seems to have control over the situation.
In Haiti, political protests have often been violent where protesters loot, burn tires in the streets, and mount fire barricades making passage through the streets of Port-au-Prince impossible even for emergency vehicles. Given the volatile situation in Haiti right now, with gang members controlling part of the city, any public protest will most likely be violent and result in the loss of lives. During similar public protests, international organizations and certain foreign embassies have advised their employees to leave the country. This possible violent outcry could be avoided if Jovenel Moise publicly announces that he will step down as President on February 7, 2021, an unlikely scenario according to one of his advisors.
Moise has retained Damian Merlo, a former advisor to President Martelly, hoping that Merlo will use whatever contacts he has in Washington DC to assist with what is already a “fait accompli” and inevitable in the eyes of many observers. Haiti Observateur, a Haitian American newspaper based in Brooklyn, New York, reported earlier last week that several advisors to incoming President Biden have already decided that Moise’s term of office ends on February 7, 2021. The question is, who will be the transitional President on February 7, 2021?