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Haiti’s weird diplomacy

Port-au-Prince has become the theater of shuttle diplomacy with one international organization after the other attempting, to broker a peaceful exit out of the crisis that has engulfed the country for quite some time and has become increasingly murky and untenable in recent months. After last month’s controversial diplomatic fact finding mission from the Organization of American States (OAS), alleged not to have been a genuine mission but a political ploy concocted by the Jovenel Moïse administration, CARICOM has announced a similar mission at the end of its 40th meeting, albeit without a determined date. According to the CARICOM, meeting in Saint Lucia, a mission of diplomats will be dispatched to Haiti in the near future, to observe at first hand, the socio-economic and political situation in the country. According to the regional body, the mission will not be solely for fact finding and observation, but one in which the findings will be evaluated in an effort to make concrete and tangible recommendation for resolving the current crisis. Since the crisis began over a year ago, numerous international missions have been deployed in an attempt to stem the fallout, but the situation remains skeptical, with insecurity gaining ground daily, bandits operating freely, and armed gangs rule the streets and neighborhoods. In a nutshell, nothing has worked in Haiti since a year ago when President Jovenel Moïse announced his nine (9) point plan to help the people, following the protests and demonstrations last year when the government decided to raise fuel prices.

 

If the situation is still untenable, it is because of the almost yearlong hardball between the government and the extreme opposition. Since the departure of the former Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant on March 18, 2019, President Jovenel Moïse is trying one more time to form a government, after an agreement with a fraction of the opposition last week. One of the main sticking points is the departure of the current interim Prime Minister, whose nomination was not ratified by the legislature, PM Henry Lapin. The President’s advisor, Richard Doré, made it known that the new situation calls for the importance of forming a government and running the country. Mr. Doré said the president is open to the demands made by the opposition and is willing to drop the five re-appointed Ministers, which was a bone of contention with the President’s own allies in parliament, for the sake of unity and moving forward. The President decided to take the initiative to find a political agreement that leads to the formation of a government that represents the political diversity of the nation. But according to the leader of the Fusion of Social Democrats, Edmonde Supplice Beauzile, she is open to a sincere dialogue on the issues but has not seen any efforts to achieve this on the part of the president.  She hopes their group will come up with their own plan to break this impasse, by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, it appears the massive demonstrations that have crippled the country in recent months are now wearing thin on many people. Despite the numerous calls on social media for a massive demonstration on July 6 and 7th to mark the one-year anniversary of the demonstrations that started the chain of current unfortunate events, leading to the dissolution of the Guy Lafontant government, the response to the call to take to the streets was meager, at best. A year ago, the Lafontant government decided against all advice to the contrary, to increase the price of petroleum products resulting in massive protests across the country. This time though, the response has been weak because people are beginning to deplore the way the demonstrations are becoming more violent in recent days. Besides cars being burnt, businesses being ransacked and looted, the recent trend is targeting small vendors, who are being pilfered and beaten up by the protesters. They have begun to cry out against the assault from protesters. In Portail-Léogâne, residents have deplored the way the police have been absent in the area, leaving them to the mercy of the protesters. This atmosphere of insecurity and lawlessness is increasingly making the living condition in the cities a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

The Ministry of Education has concluded that the first day of the end of year exams, known as the Bac (philo) was completed across the country without any major disruptions. About 143,000 students took the exams, in addition to another 6,000 who were given special authorization to also take the exams. The MENPF feared that the protests across the country would interrupt the exams but thanks to the police presence, ensuring that students were safely guided to their exams. The Minister of Education, Pierre Josué Agénor Cadet said his office has put measures in place to ensure that things go according to plan, to avoid irregularities unlike in previous years, but some students took to the streets to protest at the Lycée du Cent Cinquantenaire and the BUNEXE, when they couldn’t find their names on the list of students taking the exams.

Finally, the Grenadiers’ Cinderella run at the CONCACAF Gold Cup came to a painful end this past Saturday with a loss to Mexico, which went on to win the Cup with a 1-0 against the US. The fateful penalty awarded to the Mexicans by the Qatari referee in the dying moments of the game was both painful and unjust, according to star player Dukens Nazon. Nazon concluded that referees and those who know football, including a renowned Mexican referee who tweeted that the called infraction was not a penalty. The team and practically all football lovers around the world over have concluded that the team was robbed of its chance to play in the finals. To Nazon, there’s a lot of money at stake, as most of the tickets for the finals has been sold to the Mexicans. Well, conspiracy or not, the ride was fun and the team has shown grit and temerity, given the adversity they have to overcome. In all, they have done well and earned our utmost admiration. We can only hope they continue to grow and rise to newer heights.

Dela Harlley

 

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