PORT-AU-PRINCE – Violent protests in Haiti have erupted due to economic policies. On July 6, the Haitian government raised fuel prices upon the request of the International Monetary Fund to eliminate fuel price subsidies.
Many Haitians took to the streets in response to the government’s decision to follow an International Monetary Fund (IMF) request and let fuel prices rise. In a drive to increase government income and strengthen the country’s economy, the IMF demanded the elimination of fuel subsidies, causing a price hike of 38% for gasoline and 47% for diesel. Protests continued even after the government backed down and repealed the measure.
Protests and riots erupted one day after the announcement on July 6, damaging markets and private property, as protesters plundered and burned shops. According to Reuters, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced a temporary suspension of the price hike the day after its approval.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice defended the increase, saying that the subsidy only benefits well-off sectors and deprives the government of funds it could use for social investment. In contrast, one protester told Reuters TV: “The poor people want to be able to eat. I want to tell President Jovenel Moise that Haiti is not for him and his family. Haiti is for every Haitian.”
The US embassy in Haiti asked the Department of State to send additional personnel to keep the complex secure. Meanwhile, US airlines have suspended flights to capital Port-au-Prince.
Because of the crisis, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned. He announced his decision during a meeting of the deputies chamber. He said: “Before coming here, I presented my resignation to the president. He accepted my resignation, and as I told you, I am to serve my country.”
— Channels Television (@channelstv) July 15, 2018