Haiti political crisis continues to worsen as protests for the departure of
Michel Martelly are turning violent, forcing the Haitian National Police and
the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti known by its French acronym
MINUSTAH, to intervene in order to protect lives and private properties. But
tonight, many reports are coming out of Port-au-Prince about UN soldiers using
lethal force in their efforts to disperse protesters, leaving four dead; after what started as a
peaceful march in downtown Port-au-Prince turned into a group of people
throwing rocks and glass bottles in upper Delmas, just as they were about to enter the business district of Petionville. It seems that the group of people who started the violence was not
from the protesters, as the march was peaceful all along, with people shouting
slogans, chanting, holding tree branches and signs, then a group of people out of nowhere started to randomly throw rocks and bottles at the protesters as they approach the wealthy city
of Petion Ville, where the majority of the country’s businesses, international
banks and embassies are located. Haitian Police have always up to this point used tear gas to
disperse protests every time they’re about to enter Petion Ville.
Tear gas and plastic bullets were used today and many times before, but it remains unclear if force keepers have indeed fired live bullets at the protesters so far since the early days of the protests.It is of course very difficult to prove if UN soldiers did in fact use lethal force since they was so much violence coming from within and outside of the protest, but the rumors continue to spread, making people even more angry. These rumors,true or not,definitely do not contribute anything in resolving the crisis; it has the potential to instead inflame the situation. We certainly would not want the populace who is already turned against the President, to also turn against the force keeping institutions that are in place, national or foreign.
Even though the protests are directed against him, the President should publicly
promote peaceful protests; the Haitian Police along with the MINUSTAH should also do
the same, to appease the people while respecting their rights to protests. Lethal force should not be used as a tactic under any circumstances,
by neither the MINUSTAH nor the Haitian Police to disperse protests.
This Political crisis truly is a test for Haiti democracy, but nonetheless a test that the population should be allowed to have, as we have seen a number of positive outcomes; such as the release of political prisoners, some who have been in jail for years, even before the election of President Michel Martelly. The president have really show the opposition that he want to talk and avoid a crisis, first by accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and now the release of Political Prisoners. The President is very smart by keeping the blame of the overdue elections on the Haitian parliament, and the President continues to retain the international support.
On Christmas Eve, Sandra Honoré, the UN Secretary General 's special envoy to Haiti along with members of the Core Group, made up by the embassies of the US, Canada, France, Brazil, Spain, the European Union and Special envoy of the Organisation of American States (OAS) released joint statements in support of President Michel Martelly's recent efforts to diffuse the crisis:
" We welcome the decisions taken by the President of Haiti to designate Florence Duperval Guillaume, the Minister of Public Health and of the Population, as the interim Prime Minister of Haiti, in accordance with the Haitian Constitution.
The Core Group congratulate the efforts of President Martelly to put in place the recommendation of of the Comission Consultative Presidentielle and the work that he has done, with the Presidents of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies, the representatives of political parties and other political actors, for an accord to nominate a Prime Minister and form a consensus government..."
The Core Group went on to say that it "... encourage all the involved actors to engaged in accepting to accept the proposed measures by the commission and to respect the constitutional legitimacy of the President of the Republic, in order to preserve stability and create a climate of confidence, serenity and mutual respect to find a quick and comprehensive solution of the political crisis, that will permit equitable and inclusive elections in best delay."