#Haiti, Saturday July 7, 2018 – Police stations set on fire, hotels ambushed and three people reported dead so far; all stemming from Friday’s reaction to a major fuel price hike announced by the Haitian government.
Radical protests are capturing world headlines and have led to international flight cancellations to the impoverished nation, whose government is met with the deadly revolt after the Prime Minister reportedly refused to back down from the planned increases.
Prime Minister of Haiti, Jack Guy Lafontant has doubled-back on the increase, at least for now. Prime Minister Lafontant had explained to the Haitian people the increase was necessary in order for the administration to move forward with major infrastructural development.
A Friday night press conference featured the Finance Minister of Haiti, reported the Miami Herald. The Minister explained that, Haiti is losing nearly 800 million in revenues due to the low gas prices and that only 25 percent of the population was benefitting from the government’s subsidization of fuel stations.
From the Miami Herald: Haiti’s Finance Minister Jude Alix Patrick Solomon said Friday at a press conference about the fuel hikes. “It’s difficult for you to be asking your international partners to give you budgetary assistance or support and at the same time you have revenue that you are not capturing.”
Up to $96 million in budgetary support is at risk if Haiti does not make fiscal changes as agree to with the International Monetary Fund, IMF. The IMF is demanding public administration reforms and compliance with a 1995 law, which requires fuel prices to be altered with each shipment.
The Police Force was overwhelmed and out-manned by the rock-throwing melee.
Officials were reportedly beckoning to Haitians to stop the rioting. Reminding the protesters in Cap Haitien and Port Au Prince that the outbreak of violence and damage to businesses is only costing the Haitian people, exacerbating the problem and not helping.
American Airlines, Jet Blue and Spirit Airlines have cancelled flights to Haiti. The U.S. Embassy has also issued an advisory, asking Americans to stay away from riot zones.
Air France has also suspended flights to the embattled cities.
Government of Haiti is now under serious pressure to cool down the rioting in their major cities after countries issue travel warnings and alerts, while aiming to appease international agencies and donors who are demanding immediate reforms.