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Protests in Haiti

Posted Jul 9th, 2018

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

As you may have heard, protests broke out all over Haiti this past weekend in response to a 38% to 51% increase in fuel prices announced by the Haitian government. After several days of widespread protests, violence, and canceled flights, the government temporarily suspended the price hike and has yet to announce how it plans to adjust fuel prices going forward, in order to comply with an International Monetary Fund agreement.

Needless to say, price increases of this magnitude would impact everyone in the country, but the poor would be most deeply affected. With so many Haitians already struggling to purchase food, receive healthcare and access education, a price increase of this nature would be devastating. Although the protests have quieted down for the moment, people are still very anxious and uncertain as to how the government will deal with the situation.

I spoke to Lavarice Gaudin, Director of Na Rive, this morning and here’s what he had to say:

So many essential businesses have been destroyed – supermarkets, hardware stores and hotels have been burned and looted. There is a brief pause today so people can leave their homes and try to get some food, but the unrest is not over. Haitians are so angry. With the increased cost of fuel, prices for everything would go up. Already we have seen the price of rice more than quadruple, and beans and cooking oil have all skyrocketed. Poor people who already don’t have enough money and don’t have jobs now can’t feed their families. They are feeling desperate, like they have no choice, no way out of this situation.

The protests began on Friday afternoon, and people who were at work or school were stuck. Most “sheltered in place” over the weekend. Students and teachers at the Father Jeri School were here from Friday until Sunday when they could get home safely. So far the school is ok, but the future is not certain. The summer camp started last week, but it is temporarily closed until the situation settles down.

We are deeply grateful for your support and hope that the streets will be safe again so the children can begin their summer at ease.

With gratitude,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director

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