Haiti. At the beginning of the year, a major corruption
scandal was revealed in which previous governments in a
Senate report were accused of embezzling up to $ 2 billion
from Venezuela between 2008 and 2016. In October, violent
demonstrations were held with thousands of participants
across the country. However, no allegations were made
directly against President Jovenel Moïse, but against former
presidents and ministers. Instead, the protests were about
the culture of corruption in general in the country and
distrust of President Moïse's ability to handle the matter.
The demonstrations became increasingly extensive towards the
end of the year and affected the lives of several people. At
a public ceremony in the capital Port-au-Prince on October
17 to honor the memory of the 1806 murdered freedom hero
Jean-Jacques Dessalines, President Moïse himself was shot
but escaped unharmed.
As a result of the Petrocari scandal, Prime Minister Jack
Guy Lafontant was forced to resign in July with his entire
newly reformed government. His successor Jean-Henry Céant
announced at the end of October that an independent
commission would be appointed to investigate the charges.
Countryaah.com, a dissatisfaction directed more directly at President Moïse followed his announcement in early July that fuel
prices would be raised by between 38 and 51%. The decision
was in line with an agreement with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) from February and prompted further
street protests. Both the fuel price hike and the anger that
$ 2 billion was neglected in the Petrocari scandal should be
seen in the background that over half of Haiti's population
lives on less than $ 2 a day. A World Bank report also
showed that 24% live below the extreme poverty line and
another report from the United Nations Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in February
estimated the annual inflation rate in 2017 at 14%.
In the midst of the political turmoil, Haiti was hit by a
major earthquake on October 6, measured at 5.9 on the
Richter scale. Eighteen people were killed and over 50,000
were affected by the earthquake, which also destroyed or
damaged over 10,000 residential buildings.