Thursday, November 22, 2018

Haiti Violence: President Breaks Silence…

Haiti President Jovenel Moïse, who had remained silent as calls for his resignation paralyzed the country with violence and protests in recent days, finally addressed the nation Wednesday, reminding Haitians that he is the elected president and anyone wanting the job will have to wait.

“During my five-year presidency, no one, and I mean no one under any pretext can threaten the country’s interest. It puts the nation in danger,” Moïse said in a pre-recorded address with his prime minister and ministers of justice and interior standing to his right and the country’s police chief on his left.

“Democracy demands sacrifice. Democracy demands that the rules of the game be respected just as the constitution requires.”

Moïse’s speech came at the end of a day in which opponents continued to reject any suggestion of sharing power with his 21-month-old administration. Some were also roiled by reports that Moïse was prepared to cede many of his responsibilities to recently appointed Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant in an effort to calm tensions, but then was convinced by advisers to abort the idea.

Earlier in the day, police and government workers removed fiery barricades blocking some streets.

But tensions once more became inflamed after a government vehicle traveling on the airport road killed six people after it lost control and slammed into a group of people. Angered, some people on the scene responded by setting the vehicle ablaze.

Despite timid efforts by the country to resume normal activities since protests began on Sunday, Wednesday marked the fourth day in which most businesses and schools were closed.