Haiti: Protest Against Fuel Shortage Turns Violent In Port-au-Prince

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Violence erupted in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, after protestors demanded an end to the fuel crisis and started pelting stones and glass bottles at the pol

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:

Violence erupted in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Friday after protestors demanded an end to the fuel crisis and started pelting stones and glass bottles at the police. The police, in retaliation, fired live rounds and tear gas at the protestors. Haiti is going through a severe economic crisis and heightened unemployment rate which currently stands at 70%. The fuel crisis has led to the suspension of classes, public institutions and businesses which has amplified the economic woes.

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Suspension of Venezuela's PetroCaribe scheme

The Carribean country has been plagued by the fuel crisis since mid-August which led to several anti-government rallies. The suspension of Venezuela's PetroCaribe scheme is one of the reasons for the fuel crisis. The corruption-plagued scheme allowed Haiti to procure petroleum products at cheaper rates and defer the payment for up to 25 years. The situation aggravated after the suppliers refused to deliver petroleum products leading to long queues at petrol pumps.

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Government marred with corruption 

Amidst all this, President Jovenel Moïse, who himself has faced allegations of corruption, has been trying to install acting Prime Minister Fritz-William Michel as the official Prime Minister but his ratification has been delayed indefinitely. Protestors have been demanding the resignation of Moïse holding him responsible for the crisis. Moïse, during his election campaign in 2017, had promised "food on every plate and money in every pocket," but the current GDP per capita and unemployment rate tell a different story altogether.

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Unstable government and economic slowdown

The suppliers are struggling to procure state-subsidized fuel for the domestic market as the government is highly in debt. The Carribean nation with a GDP per capita income of $870 in 2018 could be hit by the price rise due to fuel shortage. The country is reeling with instability after the Chamber of Deputies passed a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant, six months after he assumed office. It is also vulnerable to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods which affect its economy severely.

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