Haiti no longer an option for travelers looking to book trips through online travel sites

The Haitian Times - 2 ore 52 min fa
Investing in tourism has been controversial within the Haitian community, with many questioning whether investments should be made in infrastructure and curbing corruption instead. This latest move by Expedia and Orbitz, brings the question back into focus, leaving some wondering whether Haiti’s recent political instability has given credence to the belief that Haiti is not ready for tourism.

Wahoo Bay. Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

By Vania Andre

Following more than a week of protests in Port-au-Prince, several online booking sites, such as Orbitz and Expedia, have removed Haiti from their travel options, citing Haiti’s airport as “illegal.” When users search for Haiti, either an error message appears, or an alert prompting users to enter a new city name or airport code shows.

“We are always looking ahead at global events that might impact the safety and wellbeing of travelers,” said Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel companies, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes Orbtiz and Expedia, in a statement to the Haitian Times.

“Relevant government agencies’ travel advice for Haiti are now at a level of travel concern because of crime and violent demonstrations, and we have stopped selling booking options – such as flights and hotels – to and in Haiti. This ‘stop sell’ will remain in effect until the situation in Haiti improves and travel advice changes. Once governmental advice reaches a certain level of travel concern, we take action to close off destinations on our sites.”

Over the last decade, Haiti officials and business leaders have pushed an agenda that promoted Haiti as a destination that was “open for business”and a prime location specifically for those in the tourism sector. However the recent decision, coupled with continuing political instability in the country has the potential to undo some of the gains Haiti has made in tourism and gives credence to those who believe that Haiti is not ready for tourism.

“Right after the earthquake, Haiti gained attention and curiosity around the world, which the past two governments have built upon to put Haiti back on the touristic map,” Carlo Chancelien, founder of Le Jetsetter a travel consulting agency. “Part of that effort was to define a country brand for Haiti, and facilitate the landing of international hotel chains like Marriott, Best Western, NH Hotel Group etc.”

Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort and Spa. Photo Credit: Fabiola Jean

Between 2012 and 2015, the elite suburb of Petion-ville, became home to Royal Oasis and Best Western, Port-au-Prince to the Marriott, while Spain-based Royal Occidental Hotels & Resorts transformed the former Club Med and Club Indigo to the new Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort and Spa in Cote des Arcadins.

The tourism push by the Martelly administration and former Minister of Tourism Stephanie Villedrouin was a successful one with growth in the double digits in 2015.  However critics argued investments should have been made first toward infrastructure and then tourism.

“The tourism sector has benefited a lot since Minister Villedrouin arrived at the ministry. At this point tourism was a priority sector and she worked hard to put Haití back on the map,” said Raina Forbin, vice president of the Haiti Tourism Association. However, “today the sector is at its worst.”

Forbin, who is also a tour operator for Explore Haiti, likened Expedia’s position to placing an “embargo” on the country.

“This Expedia position is definitely unfair and unacceptable. It’s like they are putting embargo on Haití without calling it that,” she said.  “The travel warnings from the United States, at a level 4 is putting Haití along with countries that are in war. Really, that is absurd.

“Since July we’ve all suffered from cancellations and bad press. Many operators are running with less than 10 percent utilization and occupancy. Some hotels have closed down, while some other operators have had to let go of their employees. The planes are coming in with 10 -20 passengers.  We are hurting.”

On Feb. 14, the State Department issued a level four travel advisory for Haiti, urging Americans not to travel to Haiti due to “crime and civil unrest.”

“The whole sector is at risk now,” Forbin said. “We will not be able to last long with those measures.”

While the travel advisory and Expedia’s and Orbitz’s decision is a hard one for the industry, it’s a move Chancelien understands.

It may be an “exaggerated” measure from the State Department, however considering the “country’s main international airport is located right in the middle of Port-au-Prince” — the epicenter of the protests — it makes it even more difficult to ensure visitors’ safe arrival and departure in Haiti.

In fact, last week  group of Canadian missionaries had to charter a helicopter to guarantee their safe passage from Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort and Spa to the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince. In the days prior, there were reports of armed gangs stopping vehicles on the roads, demanding money to allow cars to pass.

“Expedia’s decision is an automatic response to the current situation of Haiti. If the situation remains, it’s clear that the financial cost for Haiti will be important,” said Enomy Germain, a Haiti-based economist.

After five years of investment, the tourism industry has been an “important driver of growth in Haiti” and has contributed to the global GDP “considerably.”

“The decisions of Expedia and co will affect [the tourism]  industry in the country.”

According to Germain, if the situation in Haiti doesn’t improve, the country will not be able to reach their growth goals for 2019. He also noted that tourism brings the American dollar into Haiti’s economy, and without this contribution, the exchange rate will rise and so will inflation.

“Life won’t be easy here,” he said, and if it stays like that, “poverty and hunger will win.”

The tourism sector in Haiti not only employs many people, but it also generates revenue for the country and supports other sectors such agriculture and local production, Forbin said.

“We can not let a small group of people destroy the image of our country that we’ve worked too hard too preserve,” she said.

Germain and Chancelain don’t believe all hope is lost.

“If the country improves its social and political environment, tourists will come back in the country as usual and the cost will be attenuated,” Germain said.

“Tourism is all about perception,” Chancelain said, “so it may take several years for Haiti to regain its space on the touristic map of the world.“Haiti will need to earn the [international community’s] trust again, but until then, this may be a great opportunity for the government to focus on local tourism (staycation) and try to attract the Diaspora to visit their home.”

Categorie: Haiti

Annulation des festivités carnavalesques à Port-au-Prince

Radio Télévision Caraibes - 4 ore 5 min fa

L’administration Communale de Port-au-Prince annonce l’annulation de toutes les festivités liées au Carnaval 2019 “Respekte Lavi” de Port-au-Prince.

Suite aux journées de crise qui ont provoqué la paralysie de toutes les activités tant à Port-au-Prince que dans plusieurs villes de province, l’Administration Communale de Port-au-Prince a pris la décision d’annuler les festivités pré-carnavalesques et carnavalesques devant avoir lieu le 24 Février et les 3,4 et 5 Mars prochains.

En effet, dans le souci d’offrir un spectacle à hauteur des attentes et à l’image des acteurs et surtout dans le souci de pouvoir garantir la sécurité absolue des carnavaliers, le Comité Organisateur du Carnaval de Port-au-Prince, après de longues heures de concertation, a jugé impossible la planification d’un défilé carnavalesque de qualité dans le court délai menant aux trois jours gras.

En ces moments particulièrement difficiles que traverse la nation haïtienne, l’Administration Communale de Port-au-Prince réitère le message choisi pour animer le Carnaval 2019 : Respekte Lavi. Elle offre son support à la Police Nationale d’Haïti qui travaille sans relâche pour rétablir un climat de sécurité sur le territoire national et renouvelle son dévouement au service de tous les Port-au-Princiens.

Ralph Youri CHEVRY
Mairie de Port-au-Prince

Notes de PresseTags: Carnaval 2019CulturePolitique
Categorie: Haiti

Haitian Times News Roundup – Feb. 20

The Haitian Times - 4 ore 8 min fa


March for Justice Called For Jean Laurent Deslances

Le National reports that University of Notre Dame of Haiti (UNDH) is organizing a demonstration to demand justice for Jean Laurent Deslances, a student who was fatally shot by law enforcement officials.
Deslances,20 years, is a second-year student at the Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences of UNDH was shot dead along with two other young people as they were coming from the university.  Continue reading

Water Shortages at the Hospital of the State University of Haiti

Le Nouvelliste reports Hospital of the State University of Haiti is currently facing a water problem. The emergency department as well as the operating room can not be function because they are not sanitized.
Surgical procedures are canceled due to this problem and new patients were unable to receive treatment on Monday. As for equipment and medicines, the hospital does not have enough. Continue reading

Dominicans Banned Sale of Petroleum Products to Haitians

Since the beginning of the gasoline crisis, a gallon of gasoline has been sold for a $13 USD at some small retailers and $11 USD to $12 USD at others. Despite this rise in the price of gasoline, this product is becoming increasingly rare on the local market. Because of this problem, Haitians go to Dominican territory to buy gas.
Dominicans, to protect their reserve, banned the sale of petroleum products to Haitians at gas stations in the Dominican Republic. Dominican border security forces are mobilizing along the northern Haitian-Dominican border to prevent the entry of suspected Haitian vehicles that are coming to buy fuel, radio Television Caraibes reports. Continue reading

Network of Engineers and Scientists of Haiti Proposes a Solution to the Crisis

Alterpresse writes that the Network of Engineers and Scientists of Haiti has proposed to form a commission to work on the agenda of “a true inter-Haitian dialogue”. This commission should be made up of personalities who have no political affiliation and who are credible. Its mission would be to propose a way out of this crisis to the political protagonists.
The Network recommends that the opposition and the three state powers formally commit themselves to respect the work of this commission, the term of which will not exceed 90 days. Continue reading

Jean Henry Ceant says that the Foreigners Apprehended Came for him and the Parliament

Haitian Prime Minister, Jean Henry Céant, says that the seven foreigners, heavily armed apprehended earlier this week, formed a conspiracy against him in an interview with CNN. Céant said that they did not intend to attack the Bank of the Republic of Haiti, radio Metropole reports. Continue reading

Haiti officials to lose perks in PM’s response to violent unrest

Government officials in Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, will lose their perks under emergency economic and anti-corruption measures announced Saturday by Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant after days of deadly protests.

The unrest is the latest upsurge of discontent over corruption and poverty in the Caribbean half-island, where protesters want the ouster of President Jovenel Moise. Continue reading

How The U.S. Is Strangling Haiti As It Attempts Regime Change In Venezuela

Last year, in October, Haitians followed two Twitter hashtags that went viral—#PetrocaribeChallenge and #KotKobPetwoKaribea. If you are not Haitian and do not follow Haitian politics carefully, you can be forgiven for not noticing this development. The complaint on Twitter—and soon on the streets—was simple: what has happened to the billions of U.S. dollars that was in the Venezuelan-financed Petrocaribe program? Continue reading





Categorie: Haiti

Dossier des huit hommes armés arrêtés : deux proches du pouvoir indexés

Radio Télévision Caraibes - 4 ore 20 min fa

Le voile est levé sur l’identité du propriétaire de l’un des deux véhicules sans plaques d’immatriculation à bord desquels huit personnes, dont 7 sept étrangers lourdement armés, ont été arrêtés par la police, dimanche, dans les parages de la banque centrale.

Le véhicule, une Ford Ranger, immatriculé  DM- 01616, # moteur SA2LPJJ77628, vendu  le 28 août 2018, appartient à madame Magalie Habitant, lit-on dans une correspondance responsive de la Behrman Motors au Premier ministre Jean-Henry Céant, datée du 18 février 2019.

Cette Ford Ranger et deux autres de la même marque ont été « payées comptant » pour la somme de 10 millions 437 mille gourdes par Magalie Habitant. Le concessionnaire, plus loin, a indiqué que Mme Habitant a donné des instructions  verbales d’immatriculer le véhicule en question (Ford ranger DM 01616) au nom de M. Jean Fritz Jean-Louis, un ancien ministre et directeur de la loterie de l’État haïtien sous l’administration Tèt Kale première version.

Ces deux personnalités étiquetées Tèt Kale, dans l’œil du cyclone aujourd’hui, étaient vues, en compagnie du chef de l’Etat, sur l’estrade lors du lancement de la parade de Noël à Pétion-Ville fin 2018.

«Si j'étais responsable de cette enquête, j'aurais procédé à l'arrestation de Fritz-Jean-Louis. Il était présent, à bord d'un autre véhicule au moment de l'intervention de la police. Il a par la suite exercé des pressions sur des responsables de la police pour obtenir la libération des huits individus lourdement armés en affirmant que ces derniers s'occupaient d'un dossier d'Etat», a confié Pierre Espérance du RNDDH au journal. «Fritz Jean Louis a quitté le pays selon mes informations», a révélé Pierre Espérance.

Mardi matin, dans la presse, Me Reynold Georges, conseiller du président Jovenel Moïse, a avancé la thèse d’un projet de braquage à la BRH par ces huit individus lourdement armés. «  Suite à notre enquête, nous avons appris que ces individus s’étaient rendus dimanche à la banque centrale et demandaient aux agents de sécurité de leur donner accès au sous-sol où se trouve le coffre-fort et tout l’appareillage informatique sous prétexte qu’ils étaient  venus faire un travail. Réalisant que les voitures abord desquelles ils se trouvaient n’avaient pas de plaques d’immatriculation, les agents de sécurité ont fait appel à la police », a expliqué Me Reynold Georges, qui a braqué les projecteurs sur Fritz Jean-Louis à qui incombe la responsabilité d’expliquer ses relations avec ces huit individus. Il n’est pas le conseiller du chef de l’État. Non, à aucun moment, le président Jovenel Moïse n’est intervenu auprès de la police pour que ces individus soient libérés, a assuré Me Reynold Georges mardi matin. L’avocat  s’est attelé à attaquer ce qu’il appelle un mensonge véhiculé par des opposants au régime de Jovenel Moïse.

Le commissaire du gouvernement, Me Paul Eronce Villard, en conférence de presse en milieu de journée, a indiqué que le ministre de la justice n’était pas au commissariat de Port-au-Prince dimanche où les suspects étaient gardés à vue. Très agacé, le commissaire du gouvernement, qui a mis en avant son intégrité, son impartialité en tant que magistrat, a souligné n’avoir reçu aucun instructions du ministre de la justice, Jean Roody Aly pour libérer les suspects. Ils n’étaient pas « libérables » au regard des éléments du dossier, a expliqué le commissaire du gouvernement, qui pilote l’enquête de flagrance diligentée par la police judiciaire.   

Presqu’en fin d’après-midi, sur son compte Twitter, le porte parole du premier ministre, Pascal Adrien, a révélé que dans une interview avec le journaliste Miguel Marquez de CNN, le premier ministre  Jean henry Céant a fait savoir que les mercenaires n'étaient pas venus pour cambrioler la BRH. " La BRH ne les connaît pas. Les mercenaires voulaient accéder au toit de la BRH afin de pouvoir dominer le bureau du PM ainsi que le parlement", a tweeté Pascal Adrien, qui a appelé la justice à faire son travail

Jorchemy Jean Baptiste, conseiller du Premier ministre Jean Henry Céant, sur les ondes de Vision 2000, après indiqué ne pas vouloir faire de fuite en avant, a dénoncé un complot. « Il ont carrément voulu attenter à la vie du PM », a affirmé Jorchemy Jean Baptiste qui n’a pas identifié le commanditaire. C’est à la justice de le dire, a-t-il expliqué.

Des personnes familières à la Primature ont confié au journal que le bureau du Premier ministre est orienté vers la mer et la Saline. Il n’est pas atteignable depuis la BRH. Le bureau du secrétaire général de la Primature est visible depuis la  BRH, a expliqué l’une de nos sources, qui de demande comment ces individus pourraient se hisser jusque sur le toit de la BRH, l’un des sites les mieux gardés par des hommes en armes pour se planquer un dimanche après-midi en attendant de voir le Premier ministre Jean Henry Céant. « Ce n’est pas sérieux. C’est se moquer des gens », a fulminé notre source.

La dénonciation de complot d’assassinat du Premier ministre Jean Henry Céant intervient après celle du président Jovenel Moïse. Le chef de l’Etat avait indiqué que les services d’un fugitif international, un ex-commissaire de l’USGPN, a été requis pour l’assassiner. L’individu en question, quelques jours après son arrestation, a été remis à la DEA et transféré aux Etats-Unis pour faire face à des accusations de trafic de drogue.

Entre-temps, le Premier ministre Jean Henry Céant et ses collaborateurs, à fond dans la communication pour dénoncer un complot, n’a rien dit ce mardi sur la mesure censée entrée en application cette semaine pour que le prix de la marmite de riz passe de 50 à 35 gourdes.

Source Le Nouvelliste

NationalTags: MercenairesPolitiqueJustice
Categorie: Haiti

Le dossier PetroCaribe confié à la justice

Radio Télévision Caraibes - 5 ore 3 min fa

PetroCaribe Lors d’une séance plénière ce mardi 19 février 2019, l’assemblée des sénateurs a confié le dossier PetroCaribe aux autorités judiciaires. Pour ce faire, le Premier ministre Jean-Henry Céant, accompagné du ministre de la Justice Jean Roudy Aly et du Commissaire du gouvernement près le tribunal de première instance de Port-au-prince Paul Eronce Villard, était au Sénat pour la réception du document d’enquête produit par la Cour supérieure des comptes et du contentieux administratif.

Ils étaient 17 sénateurs à se réunir dans la petite salle de séance du Sénat de la République, ce mardi 19 février 2019. Certes, selon l’ordre du jour, « la situation du pays, la position du Sénat » et le replâtrage des commissions permanentes étaient au centre des discussions, mais le point central reste l’affaire PetroCaribe qui a obligé le Premier ministre Jean-Henry Céant à faire le déplacement, accompagné de son ministre de la Justice Jean Roudy Aly et du Commissaire du gouvernement de Port-au-Prince Paul Eronce Villard.

Déjà, dans le rapport de la commission Ethique et Anti-corruption du Sénat qui a analysé le rapport soumis par la Cour supérieure des comptes et du contentieux administratif, la commission recommande la « transmission du rapport de la CSC/CA de janvier 2019 au chef de la poursuite, en l’occurrence le chef du parquet du tribunal de première instance de Port-au-Prince, pour les suites de droit ». Elle a aussi proposé ue la CSC/CA poursuive l’audit « exhaustif de tous les projets ayant bénéficié du financement du fonds PetroCaribe afin que soit produit tout détail additionnel susceptible de faire la lumière sur la gestion du fonds PetroCaribe, dont la gestion pour le moins inefficace, ne fait désormais plus de doute ». En effet, le rapport inachevé présenté par la Cour des comptes ne traite que « d’un tiers des projets qui doivent faire l’objet de son analyse complète ».

Dans un troisième point, la commission opte en faveur d’un « Jugement par la CSC/CA des comptes des directeurs généraux, administrateurs et comptables.

La quatrième recommandation veut « la transmission à la commission bicamérale de décharge afin qu'elle se prononce sur la gestion des ministres, Premiers ministres, secrétaires d’Etat concernés par le rapport à la Chambre des députés en vue d’activer le processus de mise en accusation des hauts dignitaires impliqués dans le dossier et passibles de la Haute Cour de justice, le cas échéant ».

Ce point du rapport présenté par la commission a marqué les débats, avec les doutes exprimés par certains sénateurs qui y voient un détour apte à faire passer du temps.

Les choses se compliquent lorsqu’il faut passer au vote du rapport de la commission. En effet, trois des quatre sénateurs de l’opposition qui ont fait de l’affaire PetroCaribe leur cheval de bataille, à savoir Evalière Beauplan, Ricard Pierre et Antonio Cheramy, n’ont pas mis les pieds à la séance et ont préféré donner mandat au sénateur Youri Latortue pour voter en faveur du rapport.

Il n’y a rien de mal dans leur démarche mais la salle ne compte que 14 sénateurs, ce qui signifie que le quorum fait défaut.

Face à cette situation, Joseph Lambert s’énerve contre les absents et menace de s’en aller, car, selon lui, « l’affaire PetroCaribe est trop importante pour la traiter avec une telle négligence ».

On fait appel à des sénateurs. Fourcand revient. Il en manque un. Le président Carl Murat Cantave met la séance sous une pause inhabituelle en se proposant de trouver la 16e présence.

Des minutes passent. 8 h 28, le président demande de vérifier le quorum. 16 sénateur sont présents grâce à la rentrée du sénateur Richard Lenine Hervé Fourcand qui s'amène cravate à la main.

Après des discussions, un ajout est fait au rapport de la commission Ethique et Anti-corruption qui demande désormais que la lumière soit aussi faite sur les crimes de sang ayant entouré l’affaire PetroCaribe.

Comme un coup de théâtre, Nenel Cassy s’en va. Les sénateurs Ronald Larêche, Youri Latortue et Jean Renel Sénatus le suivent, le rattrapent sur la cour et le convainquent de rentrer. Kedlaire Augustin tente de jouer à son tour sur la scène de l’enfantillage, on le retient.

Finalement, dans un empressement du bureau, 16 sénateurs ont voté en faveur du rapport, 0 contre et 2 abstentions des sénateurs Kedlaire Augustin et Richard Lenine Hervé Fourcand. Sur ce, le document sur l’affaire PetroCaribe est confié au Premier ministre qui le transmet au ministre de la Justice Jean Roudy Aly. A son tour, ce dernier le confie au commissaire du gouvernement, Paul Eronce Villard.

Samuel Celine source Le Nouvelliste

NationalTags: PetrocaribecorruptionFraudesParlement
Categorie: Haiti

Lyon Frustrated Messi and Suarez

The Haitian Times - 5 ore 54 min fa

Barcelona drew against Lyon yesterday. It was frustrating because Barça had the control of the match but struggled to score against the french.

While Lionel Messi delivered an High-class performance Suarez was the shadow of himself.
He missed clear chances to put Barça ahead of Lyon, chances he would not miss years ago.

It is clear that it will be difficult for Barça to win this champions League with Luiz Suarez as no.9.
They have to find an other striker in the summer window because Suarez seems to be at his end. Continue reading


Categorie: Haiti

James Rodriguez could return to Real Madrid

The Haitian Times - 5 ore 54 min fa

James Rodriguez loan’s to Bayern Munich will be over at the end of the season and it will be some doubt about what his next destination could be.

He was a Madrid player in need of more play time that is why he went to Bayern even if he struggled to have it and the confidence of his coach in the past few weeks.

Recently he said that he has everything in Madrid, that could mean he will return to Real Madrid after two years out but his father said that Juventus could be a good destination for him too, where he could rejoin Cristiano Ronaldo Continue reading


Categorie: Haiti

As Roma and Manchester City Want Weigl

The Haitian Times - 5 ore 54 min fa

Julian Weigl does not rule out an exit from Dortmund this summer.
Pep guardiola is known to be a huge fan of the player, Roma seems to want him too.

Weigl can be one of the attraction of this summer window. Continue reading


Categorie: Haiti

Having Ronaldo Is an Advantage in UCL

The Haitian Times - 5 ore 54 min fa


Juventus wants the Champions League, it is not a secret for anymore. They are chasing it for almost 23 years now and they want 2019 to be the good year.


Winning the UCL is the principal reason that Juve added Cristiano Ronaldo to the team,  he is mister UCL.

He won the trophy five times (four times in five years with real Madrid) he is its top scorer and more importantly he has scored 34 goals in 32 UCL

knock-out apparitions.


Juventus are full of confidence but their coach admitted that having Ronaldo in their team does not automatically means they will win The Champions League. Continue reading



Categorie: Haiti

The Champions League continues today.

The Haitian Times - 5 ore 54 min fa

Yesterday Olympique Lyonnais faced fc Barcelona and Liverpool received Bayern Munich at Anfield.

It was a goalless draw in both matches.

Today the UCL will continue.

Atletico Madrid will face Fc Juventus

Schalke 04 will face Manchester City

Click on the link bellow for more informations about these matches. Continue reading


Categorie: Haiti

Les Haïtiens empêchés de s’approvisionner en produits pétroliers sur le territoire dominicain

Radio Télévision Caraibes - 7 ore 54 min fa

Des Haïtiens venus du grand nord (Nord, Nord’Est et Nord’Ouest) se convergent, au cours de ces derniers jours, vers la ville de Dajabón (République Dominicaine) pour s’approvisionner en produits pétroliers.

Depuis le début de la « crise de l’essence », conséquence directe des protestations visant à réclamer des meilleures conditions de vie, le gallon de gazoline se vend à mille gourdes chez certains petits détaillants et 800 à 900 gourdes chez d’autres. En dépit de cette hausse du prix de l’essence, ce produit se fait de plus en plus rare sur le marché local.

Pour pallier ce problème, les Haïtiens travaillant au sein de plusieurs institutions des départements susmentionnés n’ont d’autres choix que de se rendre en territoire dominicain pour se procurer de ces produits.

Nos compatriotes achètent ces produits susmentionnés dans des conditions difficiles et inappropriées, car ils font l’objet de convoitise des soldats et malfrats dominicains. Ce qui les pousse à utiliser toute sorte d’astuces pour ne pas perdre le produit sur le chemin du retour.

Les Dominicains, eux, pour protéger leur réserve, ont interdit la vente des produits pétroliers aux Haïtiens dans les stations-services en République Dominicaine. Une interdiction qui a mis en grande difficulté les Haïtiens qui se sont obligés de s’approvisionner sur le marché de la contrebande.

De l’avis d’un observateur avec qui le correspondant de vant bèf info (VBI) dans le Nord’Est a abordé la question, « cette situation enfoncera davantage les populations dans la pauvreté, car dit-il, les contrebandiers, adeptes du marché noir, n’auront aucune pitié pour les petites bourses ».

Aussi, faut-il préciser que les soldats dominicains chargés de la sécurité frontalière se mobilisent, le long de la frontière Nord haitiano-dominicaine, pour empêcher l’entrée de véhicules haïtiens suspectés de s’approvisionner en carburant.

Vant bèf info (VBI)

NationalTags: CriseEssenceRépublique DominicaineHaitiPolitique
Categorie: Haiti

Haiti officials to lose perks in PM’s response to violent unrest

The Haitian Times - 11 ore 55 min fa

(AFP) – Government officials in Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, will lose their perks under emergency economic and anti-corruption measures announced Saturday by Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant after days of deadly protests.

The unrest is the latest upsurge of discontent over corruption and poverty in the Caribbean half-island, where protesters want the ouster of President Jovenel Moise.

At least seven people have died in Haiti since February 7 when the latest protests began.

“The first decision is to cut the prime minister’s budget by 30 percent,” Ceant said in a 20-minute address which suggested the presidency and parliament take similar measures.

“We also need to withdraw all unnecessary privileges for high-level government officials, like allowances for gas and telephones, needless trips abroad, and the amount of consultants,” he said on state television.

Three-fifths of Haiti’s population of nearly 11 million live below the poverty line of $2 a day.

Ceant said there will be a focus on the fight against corruption and cross-border smuggling, while meetings with the private sector will be held to consider raising the minimum wage.

Protests have grown since a sporadic movement began last summer over a scandal linked to a Venezuelan aid program known as Petrocaribe.

Through Petrocaribe, Venezuela for years supplied Haiti and other countries with oil at cut-rate prices and on easy credit terms.

Investigations by the Haitian Senate in 2016 and 2017 concluded that nearly $2 billion from the program was misused.

After at least three people were killed by gunfire during protests in late November, Ceant promised a crash program to create jobs in poor neighborhoods, and assured that he was hearing the complaints of young Haitians. Continue reading

Categorie: Haiti

How the U.S. Is Strangling Haiti as It Attempts Regime Change in Venezuela

The Haitian Times - 11 ore 55 min fa

Last year, in October, Haitians followed two Twitter hashtags that went viral—#PetrocaribeChallenge and #KotKobPetwoKaribea. If you are not Haitian and do not follow Haitian politics carefully, you can be forgiven for not noticing this development. The complaint on Twitter—and soon on the streets—was simple: what has happened to the billions of U.S. dollars that was in the Venezuelan-financed Petrocaribe program?

In 2005, when oil prices began to creep upwards and when the Bolivarian socialists led by Hugo Chávez were at their peak, 14 countries from the Caribbean met in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, to launch the Petrocaribe scheme. The idea was elegant. Venezuela, with one of the world’s largest oil reserves, would sell oil to the struggling Caribbean islands through a very lucrative deal. Part of the oil price was paid up front, and the rest was to be paid back over the years at a ridiculously low interest rate (1 percent).

Island nations of the Caribbean, who had struggled with debt and high import prices for energy, now found relief. Haiti and Nicaragua, which were not part of the 14 original members, joined Petrocaribe in 2007. “The Caribbean shouldn’t have problem this century and beyond,” said a buoyant Chávez.

Venezuela Had a Debt to Haiti

An economics of solidarity defined the Bolivarian socialist approach to the Caribbean. If the Caribbean countries thrived, then Venezuela would prosper in turn. The test of this generosity came in 2010, when Venezuela decided not only to write off Haiti’s debt after the earthquake but provided funds in addition for reconstruction. “It was not Haiti that had a debt with Venezuela,” Chávez said then, “but Venezuela had a debt to Haiti.” Since 2007, Venezuela had provided $4 billion in oil through Petrocaribe.

The debt that Venezuela had, in the long-term thinking of Chávez, was because of something that happened in 1815. The first president of the Republic of Haiti, Alexandre Pétion, gave Simón Bolivar sanctuary and armed him to return and liberate Gran Colombia (the vast northern lands of South America). Bolivar had promised Pétion that he would emancipate the enslaved Africans in Gran Colombia. This is what he did. Without Pétion’s demand and Bolivar’s victory, Chávez—whose ancestors had been enslaved—said on a visit to Haiti in 2007, “I would not be here.”

Haiti’s Debt to the West

No such generosity has come from the West. In fact, from the first fires of Haiti’s revolution, Western powers—from France to the United States—have attempted to destroy the Haitian republic. In 1804, France forced Haiti to agree to pay it $21 billion for the “theft” of enslaved Africans and others. It took Haiti till 1947 to pay off this odious, disgusting debt. France has never apologized for it. Nor has Citibank, which made billions off the payments. Neither France nor Citibank has considered replaying the inhumane plunder.

Venezuela’s generosity was not matched by any Western country or financial institution. Instead, the West piled on debt upon debt onto Haiti. Even the “assistance” given during the 2010 earthquake made Western companies money. “These guys are like vultures coming to grab the loot over this disaster,” said Haiti’s former minister of defense Patrick Elie. The amount of money stolen from the disaster relief and the increase to Haiti’s debt is as yet uncalculated. Millions of dollars were raised—such as by the American Red Cross—but very little of it was spent to lift up the burdens of the Haitian people.

IMF vs. Venezuela

Last February, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it would provide Haiti with $96 million in low-interest loans and grants. But it demanded that the Haitian government cut its crucial fuel subsidy. This subsidy has been a part of Petrocaribe’s program. Protests broke out across Haiti, which led to the resignation of Haiti’s prime minister Guy Lafontant in July (for an assessment of those protests, please read Dossier 8 from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research).

The IMF demand for cuts in fuel subsidy came after revelations that Haiti’s elite had pilfered the funds from Petrocaribe. In 2017, Lafontant’s government released a 600-page Senate report on Petrocaribe’s previous decade. The investigation found that Haiti’s ruling class had stolen enormous amounts of these key funds. No one was called to account—not any of those who stole the money nor the banks that enabled them to do so. Noises about letting the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation take hold of the report seemed to drift into nowhere.

In the midst of this scandal, the IMF policy directive was insincere. The IMF said that the Haitian poor, who had not stolen the money from Petrocaribe, should pay higher fuel prices to help set Haiti’s finances in order. No reparations from France or Citibank, no accountability for the theft of the Petrocaribe funds—none of that. Instead, Haitians—almost 60 percent of whom live below the poverty line—must pay high fuel premiums for the IMF’s paltry loans.

End of Solidarity

Protests broke out a week ago across Haiti. What motivated the streets to be on fire this time was the rise in prices of fuel and the position taken by Haiti against the government of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.

In the midst of the economic war against it, Venezuela has not been able to provide Haiti with subsidized fuel. Haiti’s people had to now go to the U.S. oil companies and pay U.S. prices for fuel. This has created bottlenecks in the supply of fuel and frustration at the rising prices. Novum Energy—of the United States—kept ships sitting in Port-au-Prince harbor, waiting for the cash-strapped Haitian government to pay up before unloading 164,000 barrels of petrol and 205,000 barrels of kerosene. There is no solidarity pricing here (in fact, Haiti has to pay $20,000 per day to each ship that is sitting in the harbor as a penalty). These firms want cash, and they want full price.

To add insult to injury, Haiti’s government decided to join with the United States in the vote at the Organization of American States (OAS) against Venezuela. As recently as 2017, Haiti’s representative to the OAS—Harvel Jean-Baptiste—had voted against a similar anti-Maduro resolution. But this time, Haiti’s Léon Charles voted with the United States. It was a vote that provoked anger in the streets of Haiti. The one country—Venezuela—that had come to Haiti’s aid was here being betrayed. That is the mood. Continue reading

Categorie: Haiti