Despite demands this week from street protesters in Haiti that the U.S. government to stay out of the nation's affairs, the Trump administration announced Friday it was stepping in with fresh aid requested by the Caribbean nation's embattled President Jovenel Moïse—the main target of the uprising's anger.
The Haitian government's request for the aid was confirmed by Moïse in an interview with Radio Metropole on Monday.
"We are in a difficult time," said Moïse.
But the protests seem unlikely to stop any time soon. Andre Michel, leader of the Popular and Democratic Sector opposition coalition, said October 23 that demonstrations and unrest would continue until there was a political shift.
"There will be a real political battle," said Michel, adding, "The whole country will rise."
Michel's promise appeared to be borne out Wednesday as doctors and medical professionals were the latest professional group to join the countrywide demonstrations and call for self-determination.
"We are demanding the international community step back," said one doctor. "We are strong people. We can take care of ourselves."
This lady doctor in #Haiti has a strong message for the international community. She says Haiti is a big girl, she can take care of herself. She says Haiti will not take orders from no one. Glad to see all sectors of Haitian society coming out of their silence to speak out. pic.twitter.com/sOeHniIZrE— Madame Boukman - Justice 4 Haiti (@madanboukman) October 31, 2019
Protests against Moïse exploded in October after over a year of unrest aimed at the country's corruption, economic instability, and the Haitian president's perceived kowtowing to western imperial powers—especially the U.S. Among the complaints from demonstrators was Moïse's decision in January to join the U.S. and other members of the Organization of American States in a vote condemning Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
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A government crackdown on the demonstrations earned the Haitian government criticism on Thursday from human rights advocacy group Amnesty International, which called for restraint.
"The images that we have verified shed light on human rights violations by the Haitian authorities," said the group's Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas. "The security forces under the command of President Jovenel Moïse have used excessive force. Such incidents must be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and effectively."
"President Moïse must take urgent measures to ensure people protesting against his government can do so safely, without putting their lives at risk," Guevara-Rosas continued. "The police must stop using firearms carrying live ammunition in the context of protests and take particular measures to guarantee the safety of journalists covering the political and human rights situation in Haiti."
Calls for Moïse to step down or be removed from office are growing.
"Almost all sectors of Haitian society have coalesced to denounce his ineptitude," Vania André, editor-in-chief of The Haitian Times, wrote in a letter to The New York Times on Monday. "Anything other than a formal impeachment proceeding against him is a direct assault on the will of the people and on democracy."
Joining almost all other social groups who have been in the streets in #Haiti, doctors & medical professionals are joining anti-government protests now. As many hospitals have shuttered due to ongoing crisis, medical staff and the police have been on the frontlines of the crisis. https://t.co/kZWd4L2qcX— Etant Dupain (@gaetantguevara) October 30, 2019
Protesters on Wednesday made clear that Moïse's removal was just part of the solution to the country's woes.
"It's not only a question of demanding the president to step down," said one doctor. "The president represents the bourgeois class that's totally against the masses; this oligarch-controlled model is one that thrives on misery and exclusion."