Haiti's Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant suspended a fuel price hike Saturday after protests against the new prices broke out the day earlier and left at least one policeman dead in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Haiti: Caribbean Dignity Unbowed
"I ask for your patience because our administration has a vision, a clear program," the head of government said in a conference broadcast on state television.
Demonstrations erupted on Friday in Haiti's capital after the government announced a sharp hike in fuel prices. The move falls under the terms agreed on with the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, in February, which implied the cessation of public subsidies for oil products. As a result gasoline prices increased by 38 percent, diesel by 47 percent and kerosene by 51 percent.
The government attempted to defend the accord signed with the IMF, saying that the reduction of public subsidies unfairly privileged the economy of the citizens of the neighboring Dominican Republic, who cross the border in search of cheaper fuel prices.
Protestors, however, would have none of it. Store and car windows located in the most affluent neighborhoods of Haiti's capital were smashed.
Several main roads and intersections were blocked by barricades on Saturday morning. Several airlines, including Air France and American Airlines and Air France, cancelled flights to the Caribbean nation. A flight that was already en route was redirected to Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.
The director of Haiti's national police, Michel-Ange-Gedeon, lamented the death of the policeman who was lynched. “We understand your right to protest, to vindicate, but we do not understand violence." He also reported that at least two police stations were burned as well as several police cars.”