As things continue to go from bad to worse in Haiti, the U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince has decided to have all non essential personnel return home with their families. That means only essential affairs will be taken care of. This is bad news for a plethora of consultants who work with the embassy because the majority of contracts usually involve visiting teams who work with them. Also this means the State Department is looking at the situation and it has decided to take preventive measures to safeguard personnel. The embassy is well informed in terms of what is going to happen in the near future, so this can only mean that those in charge of security have issued dire warnings to the State Department. As it is now, security in Port-au-Prince and in the surrounding suburbs has gone from bad to worse in a matter of days. An inspector from the Haitian National Police was killed recently in Martissant, as this area is almost beyond control, ruled by the criminal gangs from Grand Ravine. This is in addition to the murder of a few rank and file officers in the force the past couple of weeks.
Recently I had the occasion of participating in all Things Haitian, a wonderful radio show on AM 1580 -WSRF, one of the pioneers of Haitian American radio in South Florida. The show is hosted by Edna Laroche a veteran who migrated from doing a television show to present this opportunity for Haitians and Haitian Americans alike to talk about things of interest to the South Florida community. Edna reaches out to people from all walks of life who have something of interest to say to Haitians in South Florida particularly and those in the U.S. and in Haiti in general. I was invited through the network of Le P’ti Club, a South Florida social organizations whose President, Jimmy Moise is an occasional contributor to this blog. Edna wanted to get a perspective on the situation in Haiti following the mass demonstrations and the general strike that occurred on November 18 and the week following. Things have barely returned to normal nowadays with schools reopening timidly, stores opening their doors halfway and the usual hustle and bustle of merchants and customers in market places. During the show we looked at some of the basic causes of the riots and the abysmal state of infrastructures in the country. This did not start with the Petro Caribe challenge as I explained in my previous post but has its roots in bad governance dating from the sixties. Edna was very professional in asking the right questions and allowing for answers to flow without needless interruptions. In Haiti that usually is a major problem where host and guest constantly interrupt each other. In this case it was smooth and entertaining. I will try to include a link with the recording of the show on my next post. Kudos to Edna and we all wish her show continues to reach out and inform the South Florida Haitian and Haitian American communities on “All Things Haitian”.
A lot of negotiations are purportedly going on in Port-au-Prince and the provinces to see what the future will bring. One has to wonder what those talks will bring because on the air the protagonists are still saying the same things. On the side of the government and its allies they keep harping on the legality of President Jovenel Moise’s mandate and the demonization of the opposition; while on the side of the opposition they keep harping on the need for Jovenel Moise to step down. Not much has been added in terms of prosecuting those responsible for one of the largest heist in government funds in the Caribbeans. So if there are negotiations in the shadows, the public postures have not changed. Many people lost their lives and are continuing to do so if we believe news reports from radio stations Caraibes FM and Zenith FM. It seems that criminal gangs are coming out of the slums with relative impunity and little regard for the police. A video streaming on WhatsApp shows the execution of a young fellow with the killers not even bothering to hide their faces. On the contrary they seemed to enjoy showing the world their power and evil deeds. The police is powerless in the face of all these criminals with more powerful weapons than its officers. Everyone is at risk in the capital and surrounding areas, while things are also getting dangerous in some of the major towns. So the situation is still difficult with more demonstrations being planned by Jean Charles Moise, Andre Michel, Shiller Louidor and other leaders from the opposition. We will update the situation on my next post. Stay tuned!!!