Riots in Haiti after general elections in 2010 © Digital Democracy

Bishop pleads with protesters to stop destroying Haiti

Wed 09 Oct 2019
By Heather Preston

A leading Bishop has called on Haiti demonstrators to cease violent protests that he claims are destroying the country.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Jean urged restraint after recent protests reportedly left 17 dead and nearly 200 injured.

Demonstrations began across Haiti in July 2018 and reignited again in February and September this year, with members demanding for the resignation of President Jovenal Moïse after accusations of corruption dogged his time in office, which has seen massive inflation and scarcity of goods and other resources.

 

 

Bishop Jean has implored protesters to consider the national implications of their ongoing actions.

He said: "Destroying the country is not a solution. It is probably a way to express frustration but it is not a solution. We have to find the way to talk.

"People cannot go out. We are enclosed in our homes. All the roads are blocked. Even in urgent cases ambulances or emergency cars cannot move.

"We don't have fuel. Markets are not functioning. Schools have been closed throughout the country. The situation affects the whole nation."

He went on to ask for the Christian community to pray for the "dying country."

Bishop Jean went on to criticise the government for it's inaction as unemployment rates have risen to 80 per cent following the troubles.

"Despite our repeated pleas for nearly two years, Haiti's politicians remain deaf. In July 2018 we already had a big crisis and the government did nothing.

"But the other political parties should also work on a solution. The worst thing is that the different factions are not open for any dialogue."

In an open letter on 27th September, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Haiti spoke out against the country's leaders, saying: "If the country is on fire, it is because of their irresponsibility."

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and in 2010 an earthquake killed up to 160,000 people. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew killed 1,000.

ACN has provided emergency aid to Haiti, repaired church buildings and given formation to priests and laity.

 

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