The various crises in the country have now reached such a point that it threatens to tear the social fabric ultimately leading to a total collapse. The population is frightened and angry as mounting civilian dead increase daily due to the heavily armed gangs operating boldly and brazenly with impunity. The return of the deadly outbreak of cholera in recent weeks has further set the stage for a disaster. These issues in part prompted the US and Mexico to propose a deployment of a multinational force to help break the stranglehold the gangs has over fuel distribution. The blockade of the Varreux oil terminal has lasted more than five weeks. Lack of access to portable water and other basic goods that people need to survive have become chronic conditions facing a battered Haitian population. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Victor Geneus, during his speech at the special session of the UN Security Council on Haiti held yesterday stated that the harsh and unfathomable reality of the Haitian people on a daily basis is that they are barely surviving, as more than 4 million school age children cannot go to school because of gangs induced blockade of main roads and passage ways and the ongoing violence. Women and young girls are routinely being raped by armed gangs. In the meantime, one resolution championed by the US and Mexico seeks to impose financial sanctions on the gangs and those who supply them with money and weapons. A second resolution supports the immediate deployment of a rapid action armed force to help the national Police regain control of the Varreux terminal, as well as seaports and roads. Over the weekend, US and Canadian military aircraft delivered tactical and armored vehicles and other materials to the national police.
The US and Canada have disclosed that they are not keen on leading any intervention forces authorized by the UN, some members of the Security Council have privately expressed to the US that they shall wait to see the details of the proposed mission before making any decision or voting on it. Russia and China have also expressed concern that the issue remains sensitive in Haiti, where there is no appetite for yet another foreign occupation, given the history of such interventions as recently as the MINUSTAH. Opposition leaders oppose a foreign intervention force and fear it will be used to keep the current government in power. The Security Council, however, was able to agree on the need for key actors in political and civil society to break the growing impasse and for free, fair and transparent elections as soon as security conditions will allow it. All members of the council called on the country’s leaders to put aside their personal and political differences, for the good of the nation. According to the Albanian Ambassador, the Haitian political class needs to pull themselves together because as political actors, they cannot be spectators of a house on fire.
A house on fire is an appropriate metaphor for recent events as more street protests took place across the country yesterday, Monday October 17, on the anniversary of the assassination of Jen Jacques Dessalines. Organized by the Pitit Dessalines party, protestors gathered at Champs de Mars and Carrefour de l’aéroport, converging on the main street in Delmas before heading in the direction of the US Embassy in Tabarre. The objective of the demonstration was to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and denounce the decision to call on a multinational force to address the security issue in the country. Protesters were also critical of the United States, which they accuse of interfering in Haitian affairs. Some waved Russian and Chinese flags to express their admiration for these two countries. The police were able to secure the perimeter around the US embassy as demonstrators threw stones at them, police officers responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd. Several demonstrators were hit with tear gas prompting former Senator Jean Moïse Charles, who was furious because he also inhaled tear gas explained that he asked the people to come to the US embassy premises because they are now interested in the problem and not its manifestation. The former senator, who is known for his incendiary rhetoric asked his followers to target the residences of members of the government, by asking them to get the addresses of the ministers so that next week, the demonstrations will be held in their homes. He, however, added that he is not asking them to carry firearms but to instead buy machetes to lead the revolution. Other cities such as Cayes, Miragoâne, and Cap-Haïtien also held similar demonstrations, with three demonstrators in Cayes wounded by gunshots. Meanwhile, Interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry attended a wreath laying ceremony to mark the 216th anniversary of the assassination of the nation’s founder at the Musée du panthéon national haïtien (MUPANAH)
Elsewhere, there are reports that the Police Commissioner at Croix-des-Bouquets, Bac Evangelot, was assassinated early this morning in front of his residence in Tabarre. According to sources close to the case, the police commissioner received a call from someone who alerting him to the presence of an unknown individual in front of his house. The suspected individual was seen filming the private residence of the police commissioner with his mobile telephone. The police commissioner came out to confront the individual and a heated exchange ensued. As the commissioner turned his back to return into his house, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot him.
The lead vocalist of the musical group Kreyol la, Ti Djo Zenny decided to speak out against what he considers total paralysis of life in the country, where night life disappeared, commercial and educational activities blockaded by the gangs. Known in real life as Joseph Zenny Junior, Ti Djo Zenny attributes the blocking of the socio-economic life of the country to the disproportionate ambitions of political leaders. In the newspaper edition of Radio Caraïbes FM, the musician laments that politics divide society, causes the bankruptcy of businesses, and kill the dreams of young people. He called on the politicians to put aside their egos to look for the collective interest of the nation. To Ti Djo, the politicians by their actions are destroying the country are committing crime against the nation. In a voice mixed with emotion and a feeling of revolt, Ti Djo, the Jacmel native and relative of the former Senator from the Southeast, Edwine Zenny, invites politicians to dispense with personal ambitions to put forward the best interests of the nation, inviting them to sit down as soon as possible to find a way out of the current political crisis.
Finally, the whole nation and indeed the musical world mourns the passing of Michael Benjamin popularly known as Mikaben, whose death occurred this past Saturday while performing at the Accor Arena in Paris. After performing some of his popular hits, the talented musician collapsed on stage and attempts to save him failed as he succumbed after first aid being administered. The scene was surreal as he had just finished performing and greeted the crown before falling. The concert was reuniting Carimi, after the musical group broke up in 2016, and their feat to play in front of a large crowd of over 10,000 fans. The musician who is the son of the renowned musician, Lionel Benjamin, was 41. Mika spent his entire life making music since he appeared, in the famous Chante Nwèl competition on Télémax, as a young man. Headliner in the past of the group Krezi Mizik, Mika, was versatile, and known for his collaborations with several groups and artists. He was the ideal partner to write a song, enhance a performance and whitewash a room. Mikaben expected a lot from this concert this past Saturday, October 15, 2022, as Carimi’s reunion after their breakup in 2016.