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  • A protester jumps over a burning barricade during a protest against the government in the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 10, 2019.

    A protester jumps over a burning barricade during a protest against the government in the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 10, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 February 2019

Police crackdown leaves at least seven people dead and dozens injured.

Haitians took to the streets Tuesday, for the sixth day in a row, to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, with increasingly violent protests virtually paralyzing the country.

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3rd Protester Dead in Haiti Protests

In Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, banks, schools, businesses and fuel stations remained closed, some of which have been looted by angry citizens who joined the riots that began on Feb. 7.  

Despite the situation, President Moise has been quiet after the call for dialogue that he made on Feb. 9, which has been widely rejected by citizens and politicians.

On Thursday, the streets of Port-au-Prince were also altered by the burning of tires and other objects, an expression of social discontent in a country whose economic situation worsened this year due to a sharp depreciation of its currency (gourde), an electricity crisis derived from gasoline shortages, and double-digit inflation.

Additionally, the police repression caused the death of at least seven people with several dozens wounded.

"We are in the final phase of the Government of the Tet Kale Party," Jean-Charles Moise, former presidential candidate, said warning that "the whole country is united to get President Moise out of power. We will be on the streets until he leaves ... and that day will be very soon."

In the midst of the pressing crisis, the Haitian government declared 'economic emergency' on Feb. 5, an exceptional measure which implies reducing the cost of basic goods to try to alleviate the crisis.

So far, however, President Moise has failed to get the approval of a fiscal budget of US$1.6 billion, rejected last month by the Chamber of Deputies.

In Haiti, where about eight million people survive on less than US$2 a day, the economy grew just 1.4 percent in 2018. In an attempt to bring down the budget deficit, President Moise  reduced public spending, an option which was not well received by citizens, opposition politicians and social leaders.

According to the economist Camille Chalmers, the executive provisions are a mockery because they continue the policy of austerity measures which were already decreed in 2017.

Since then, the government has not complied with its own provisions because the privileges for the ruling class increased to the point that a senator costs the Haitian state much more than what it costs in other Caribbean countries.

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