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  • President of Haiti Jovenel Moise addressing the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    President of Haiti Jovenel Moise addressing the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 September 2019
Opinion

“The solution to the current political crisis will come first and foremost with the resignation of Jovenel Moise,” responds the opposition.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise called Wednesday during an unusual televised speech for calm and unity, as the country faces a deep political crisis and mounting protests following weeks of shortages in basic goods and after a senator from Moise’s party opened fire Monday to disperse a crowd.

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“Together, let’s set out to make this crisis an opportunity to truly, once and for all, put Haiti on the road to development,” Moise stated on national television in a 15-minute speech.

As in his previous public addresses, Moise told Haitians that he has received their messages and he promised some measures to redress the issues related to the social and economic crisis.

"Let’s have the courage to dare to unite, let’s have the courage to reject the practices that feed our adversity,” the president said. However, what most citizens in the Caribbean nation have demonstrated for is the president's impeachment, which Congress voted against in August. 

Opposition leader Andre Michel, who is looking into the president's alleged embezzlement dealings regarding the now-defunct Petrocaribe aid program sponsored by Venezuela, rejected the president’s statements.

“The solution to the current political crisis will come first and foremost with the resignation of Jovenel Moise,” said Michel.

The head of state issued a statement Monday to cancel his travel to the United States where he was expected to speak before the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 

Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond was sent in the president's place.

Moise’s absence at the UNGA along with his speech on television comes at a time when Haiti has been enduring a chronic food and fuel shortage and overall political chaos amidst the president's corruption scandal that was revealed last June. Protests against the president took place all summer long.

Protests have been repeated nearly daily in Port-au-Prince and other Haitian cities since last week as residents demand the arrival of 500,000 barrels of fuel to the country promised by the government. 

Then, on Monday, a Haitian senator even fired a gun to at crowds gathered outside the parliament amid tensions over the confirmation of the new prime minister, Fritz William Michel.

Two men including, a photojournalist from the Associated Press, were wounded. 

While Moise promised food on the table of all Haitians during his campaign, the vast majority of the public find it hard to feed themselves as unemployment maintains at 20 percent and prices of basic consumer goods also remain high.

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