over the course of the last months the Andrea Bocelli Foundation has been following with attention and a certain degree of apprehension the social and political tensions in Haiti.
The recent deterioration of the situation and the succession of events of the last few days, the signs of a dangerous disintegration of the Nation, prompt us to share with you these few lines.
On our end, a small delegation has just come back from the Country, and images of violence and destruction are still vivid in our eyes. Traffic on roads is difficult, with makeshift checkpoints and real sieges of neighborhoods. Many people are forced to stay at home, businesses and institutions have been closed for days. Even the police forces cannot control the situation because they are not well equipped and in the country the number of police officers is not sufficient to handle such big emergencies.
Haitian people are exasperated, they take to the streets and with the few means available, they are clamoring for President-elect Jovanel Moise to resign because his lack of leadership skills has resulted in the spreading of corruption
Our local partner, Fondation St Luc, is operational and offers medical assistance, shelter and access to staples, such as water, through the Water Truck project, for which ABF continues to offer its contribution.
Only a few pieces of news appear on the international press and web channels, but we think it proper to tell you what is happening in that land, which over the years we have learned to call “home”, and we will keep you updated.
Thank you for your affection, for your messages, for your continuous support, trying to offer those who deserve a life of opportunities and beauty.
Some background information about the reasons why people are protesting:
February 7th: this a political date. This was our first democratically elected president since the overthrow of the dictatorship government in 1986. There was going to be political demonstration anyway, but the actual problems the country face, transformed those demonstrations into violent and unsafe protest.
Inflation rate increasing: The people wanted to hold the sitting president accountable for corruption going on in the government and the hardship that people are facing everyday. The Gourdes (Haitian currency) is depreciating a high pace. From December to February, the exchange rates went from 75 Gourdes to 85 Gourdes, for 1 US Dollar. This increases the cost of life and it doesn’t seem that it’ll slow down anytime soon. With this depreciation of the Gourdes, everyone’s salaries is decreasing, the inflation rate is increasing, the cost of life is increasing. For those who are not working, the situation is even worse.
Corruption: Haiti had a petroleum deal with Venezuela, since 2008, that ended in mismanagement from corrupt government officials. The deal was that will pay Venezuela 25% of the cost of a barrel of oil, and we would pay the other 75% through export of agricultural goods to Venezuela. The goal was that will use the 75% (which is now estimated at $3 Billion) to build agricultural infrastructures, schools, hospitals, etc. But, none of those infrastructures has been realized. The people want all those involved in the mismanagement of those funds to be tried by the Justice Department. The president is not showing any support for that.