I want to share with you the latest on the political crisis in Haiti from our team there.
Weeks of escalating protests in Port-au-Prince and other cities have disrupted life in much of the country. The vast majority of those demonstrating have done so peacefully, but there have been incidents of violence on the part of both demonstrators and security officials.
While this crisis was provoked by widespread anger over a president and a political class accused of corruption, a shortage of fuel, the sharp drop in the value of the country’s currency, and skyrocketing inflation, there is an awareness among many Haitians that these are largely symptoms of systemic economic injustice that protects the privilege and power of a few people inside and outside Haiti.
As of now, the president is still refusing to heed calls to resign while the opposition – which organized another massive protest on Sunday – is pledging to keep barricades up across the country until he does.
Schools throughout the capital have been shuttered and most markets, banks, and businesses have been opened only sporadically over the past few weeks. Today, Catholic leaders will be marching.
Our team is feeling a heightened urgency to their work now, as the extreme stress of a prolonged and seemingly unending crisis like this often contributes to a spike in domestic violence, particularly against women and children.
My colleagues in Haiti — while taking every precaution to ensure their own safety — are doing all that they can to continue our work, despite the continued protests, frequent roadblocks, and insecurity.
They believe deeply that, no matter the time or place or moment, no child should ever be enslaved and no woman should ever face violence and discrimination. They are responding to the challenge of this crisis with courage and commitment, and I am so proud of their determination and dedication.
Members of our Child Protection Team in Port-au-Prince and our Rethinking Power team organizing communities to prevent violence against women and girls in Jacmel are working whenever they can: nights, weekends, and days when protestors let the barricades down.
A few staff members have even spent nights at the office so they can keep work going, since travel to and from home often means traversing barricades of burning tires and, at times, rock-throwing protestors.
On Lagonav Island, protests have been limited to the port town of Ansagale, and life is relatively normal, allowing our work to organize communities to end child slavery, guarantee universal quality primary education, prevent violence against women and girls, and lift the very poorest families out of poverty to progress as planned.
Of course none of this work that we do directly in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and on Lagonav Island or across the entire country through our local partners would be possible without the solidarity of people like you.
I am so grateful to every one of you who remains committed to our work and our mission to empower Haitians to change their country.
This mission that you share with us is fraught with challenges, but your continued solidarity and the courage and bravery of the Haitian people and our colleagues, gives me hope and confidence that we will create true and lasting change in Haiti.
I’ll keep in touch and be sure to share more updates with you from our team in Haiti as I get them.
And please continue to join with us in prayer and solidarity, in this turbulent and uncertain period for Haiti.
P.S. – If you would like a more detailed picture of the causes of the current crisis, I would recommend this article from the Miami Herald. It is based largely on an interview with Dr. Robert Fatton who is an active member of our board of directors: