Haitian president calls for dialogue after protests against his government


The president of Haiti on Wednesday reiterated his call for dialogue and said that during his term in office no one will jeopardize the country's interests following the massive protest against corruption on Nov. 18, when the opposition demanded his resignation.

In a message to the nation Jovenel Moise, who made no reference to corruption, said that Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant has the power to talk with all sectors.

Thousands of protesters have asked the government to clarify the supposedly fraudulent handling of Petrocaribe funds, and the mobilizations have paralyzed the Haitian capital and other cities across the country for the third consecutive day.

"The Haitian people elected me as president of Haiti, during my term of office nobody is going to endanger the interests of the country. We cannot leave the democratic process to create chaos," said Moise, who assumed the Presidency in February 2017, after winning the November 2016 elections.

Moise said that democracy demands sacrifices and that is why they have to put Haiti ahead of everything.

Accompanied by the prime minister and by the chief police commander Michel Gedeon, Moise also added to his message that peace and development can be achieved through dialogue.

The Haitian president also sent a condolence message to the relatives of the police officer who died on Nov. 19 during a police operation in La Saline, an area of the capital where armed conflicts took place both between criminal groups and between the protest groups and the National Police. However, he did not refer to other victims of the protests in recent days.

Moise also indicated that he has given instructions to establish a commission to disarm the armed bands and reactivate social programs in poor areas.

Moise's statements came Wednesday after several days of silence.

In the last protest on Nov. 18, three people died, according to police, although the organizers say that at least 11 people were killed.

In 2017, the Haitian Parliament published a report in which former party officials currently in power were involved in alleged irregularities in the use of Petrocaribe funds, but so far no one has been prosecuted for this case, in which more than $2 billion were diverted, according to a Senate investigation.

Copyright © 2019, Hoy Los Angeles, una publicación de Los Angeles Times Media Group