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A demonstrator holds a sign that reads in Creole “Coalition MOLEGHAF says: Down Martelly, down MINUSTAH” during a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 4, 2015 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

Ending Haiti’s Crisis Begins With Giving Haitians a Fair Vote

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

There is no question that Haiti’s government has hit the ground hard lately. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s Cabinet resigned in December, following mounting criticism of its record on human rights and the economy, as well as its failure to hold local and parliamentary elections for over three years. The election delays rendered parliament dysfunctional last month, as terms expired for a third of Haiti’s Senate seats and the entire Chamber of Deputies.

Meanwhile, on the streets, a steadily growing opposition movement generates at least one large anti-government demonstration each week. For two days last week, cities across Haiti were paralyzed by a public transit strike against government-set fuel prices. On the economic front, public investment in Haiti dropped 65 percent in the last three months of 2014, compared to the previous year. The government has also racked up $1.6 billion in oil debts through its involvement in Venezuela’s generous Petrocaribe program, which allows Haiti to buy cheap oil with deferred financing and then sell it for a higher domestic price and pocket the difference. Although that has allowed the Haitian government to fund social programs to check more popular dissent, Haiti’s beleaguered president, Michel Martelly, will leave much of that bill to his successors, to be paid over the next 25 years. ...

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