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Haiti

Will president or protesters yield?

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The operation dubbed “Find Jovenel Moïse” organized by opposition leaders demanding the resignation of Haiti’s president ended abruptly when he appeared at the National Palace early this week following violent protests in which several people were killed.

Haitians had become so accustomed to not seeing their president in person amid a deepening political and economic crisis that his arrival at the palace Tuesday took protesters by surprise, with only a handful of them present to pelt his convoy with rocks.

Despite the rarity of his public appearances, the embattled leader has given no indication that he will step down after nearly a month of demonstrations against corruption, spiraling inflation and dwindling supplies of food and gasoline. Opponents have scheduled another protest for Wednesday, promising to once again paralyze Haiti’s capital and nearby communities if he doesn’t leave office.

As the standoff continues, Haitians wonder who will yield first: the protesters or the president.

“It’s a dramatic situation, a chaotic situation,” said Evans Paul, a former prime minister and Moïse ally who privately discussed the crisis Monday with the Core Group, which includes officials from the United Nations, United States, Canada, France and others.

Paul told The Associated Press that while those present did not say whether Moïse should remain in power or resign, they urged dialogue, voiced support for Haiti’s institutions and defended democratic principles, with Paul noting that Moïse was elected by the people in 2017 for a five-year term.

He also said government officials are outlining ways to exit the crisis. He believes Moïse has two options: choose a prime minister backed by the opposition or possibly reduce the length of his presidential term. However, Paul said many problems remain, including the lack of a provisional electoral commission.

After the meeting, Paul said, he met with Moïse to talk about the options and negotiations are continuing.

“He hasn’t said yes yet,” Paul said, adding that while he has encouraged Moïse to make bigger concessions, “he can’t put everything on the table.”

The opposition has rejected Moïse’s pick for a new prime minister, with a Sept. 23 vote being indefinitely postponed after a senator who said he was trying to protect himself from protesters fired his pistol outside Haiti’s Senate, injuring an AP photographer and a security guard.

If Moïse and key officials arrive at a solution, it will likely be announced by a non-partisan group instead of the president to lend it credibility and appease the people, Paul said.

Moise’s rare appearance Tuesday came a day after he presided over a meeting with a special council of ministers by phone, government spokesman Eddy Jackson Alexis confirmed to AP.

A spokesman for Moïse did not return a message for comment, and neither did officials with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. A Canadian government official said no one was available for comment.

A spokesman for the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti declined requests for an interview but issued a statement saying the mission was concerned about reports of violence and arson, seeks to have democratic processes respected and is working to encourage a peaceful resolution.

On the day the Core Group met, opposition leader and attorney André Michel tweeted that Haitians must remain mobilized until a president and interim government is installed: “We will not take orders from foreigners.”

Among those joining the opposition’s call for Moïse’s resignation is Paul Émile Demostine, an EMT who joined the protests and spoke near a barricade of burning debris.

“Ever since he became president, it’s been total misery,” Demostine said, adding that his children have been unable to go to school as a result of the protests. “We need Haiti to change completely.”

Protesters also are demanding a more in-depth investigation into allegations that top officials in the previous administration misused billions of dollars in proceeds from a Venezuela-subsidized oil plan. Critics accuse Moïse of trying to protect his ally, former President Michel Martelly, and of participating in the corruption himself before becoming president.

The protests have paralyzed the economy and closed down roads across the country, upending the supply chain and disrupting the distribution of food and gasoline, with long lines forming at a handful of gas stations and water kiosks that remain open.

“It’s an extremely serious situation,” said Haitian economist Kesner Pharel. “The political situation has been disastrous, and we are paying dearly for it.”

Prices have been rising in a country of nearly 11 million people where some 60 percent make less than $2 a day, he said. Inflation hit 19% in July, the latest number available, and economists predict it could be at 20% or higher in October, which would mark the first time that level since 2008, a situation that sparked food riots, Pharel said.

He also noted the fiscal year began Oct. 1 but the government has not yet approved a new budget, adding that this year could see a 1% contraction in the economy as the demographic rate increases.

“You’re going to have more extreme poverty,” Pharel said. “We have a very volatile situation.”

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Court in Cayman Islands Rules No Marriage for Same-Sex Couples But They Must Get Equivalent Rights

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Wednesday November 13, 2019 – The Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands has sided with the government of the British Overseas Territory, overturning a lower court’s ruling that granted marriage equality. At the same time, the government has been ordered to move to quickly establish a marriage equivalent for same-sex couples.

But the
government says it will not be able to address the issue until next year.

The ruling handed
down last week overturned Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s decision handed down
back in March this year, in a judgment brought by Chantelle Day and Vickie
Bodden Bush who were seeking the right to marry. Smellie had ordered the government
to amend its marriage law to define marriage as the union of two people, not between
a man and a woman.

The
government challenged Smellie’s ruling in the Court of Appeal.

And in its
decision, the Court said: “Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush are entitled,
expeditiously, to legal protection in the Cayman Islands, which is functionally
equivalent to marriage.”

“It would be
wholly unacceptable for this declaration to be ignored. Whether or not there is
an appeal to the Privy Council in respect of same-sex marriage, there can be no
justification for further delay or prevarication,” the court continued, adding
that if the Cayman Islands government did not act, the United Kingdom should
intervene.

Reacting to
the decision, Premier Alden McLaughlin said he was pleased that the Court of
Appeal had agreed with government that the original ruling of the chief justice
“created significant ambiguity” surrounding the Constitution and Bill of
Rights, as well as the interpretation of and ability of the court to amend
laws.

And while he
acknowledged the need to address the matter expeditiously, he said the
government could not do so “hastily”, and indicated that the Legislative
Assembly was unlikely to deal with the issue of same-sex marriage until early
2020.

“Given that
we have before us a two-year budget to get through, as well as a referendum, I
do not see this honourable House turning our attention to this issue before
early next year,” McLaughlin said.

However, he added:
“I believe the responsible thing for this House to do is to face up to this
issue and take its own decision….It is clear to me that if this legislature
does not provide the legal framework that provides the protections for same-sex
couples in a form that is acceptable to all Caymanians, then undoubtedly we will
end up with the UK levying upon us protections that suit them rather than us.”

McLaughlin said that while Cayman Islands had in the past accused the UK of interfering in matters that should be decided by Caymanians, “by the same token, we cannot abdicate responsibility for taking the hard decisions when they are staring us in the face”.

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Haïti – Vertières 216e : «Comme Capois Lamort je vais dire EN AVANT» dixit Jovenel Moïse

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Haïti – Vertières 216e : «Comme Capois Lamort je vais dire EN AVANT» dixit Jovenel Moïse
18/11/2019 11:28:39

Haïti - Vertières 216e : «Comme Capois Lamort je vais dire EN AVANT» dixit Jovenel Moïse

Ce lundi 18 novembre, le Président de la République empêché par l’opposition de se rendre à Vertières (Dept. Nord), dans le but de commémorer les 216 années de la bataille de Vertières, s’est contenté de déposer une gerbe de fleurs au Musée du panthéon national haïtien (MUPANAH) et a prononcé un discours à la Nation que nous vous invitons à découvrir.

Extrait du discours du Président Jovenel Moïse :

« […] le pays est plus que divisé, le pays est déchiré, en ce 18 novembre nous demandons l’unité, entre les riches et les pauvres, entre ceux du haut et du bas, entre les personnes de peau noir et celles de peau claire, entre les ruraux et les urbains, si nous étions unis l’un ne voudrait pas exploiter l’autre dans un système qui facilite un petit groupe pendant que la majorité croupi dans la misère, la pauvreté et l’insécurité, ce n’est pas cela que nos ancêtres voulaient […]

Les personnes qui font parti des forces sociales, économiques et politiques, comme moi, nous avons l’obligation de nous unir pour être capable de convertir la crise que le pays traverse en une grosse opportunité qui permettra de mettre Haïti sur la route du changement dont nous rêvons tous, nous sommes tous d’accord sur les problèmes mais nous avons beaucoup de divergences sur comment les résoudre.

La seul façon de trouver des solutions aux problèmes c’est le dialogue, nous entendre, nous regarder sans préjugé […]

Vous n’avez pas voté pour que je cours devant mes devoirs et obligations, vous avez voté pour moi, pour que j’affronte tous ce qui vous a mis dans la faim et l’insécurité, comme Capois Lamort je vais dire EN AVANT à tous ceux qui veulent changer ce système […] qui nous empêche de faire un pas en avant […]

[…] c’est dans un dialogue inclusif avec toutes les personnes sans exceptions, toutes les personnes qui veulent le changement que nous arriverons à trouver un bon accord politique pour mettre sur pied un gouvernement d’union national avec une bonne feuille de route qui va permettre de faire des bonnes réformes contre ce système […] »

Écoutez le discours complet du Président Jovenel Moïse :

HL/ HaïtiLibre

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Haiti

Gunshots wound four at Haiti protest

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At least four people have been shot and wounded during a protest in Haiti’s capital after a speech by embattled President Jovenel Moise. Several hundred people were marching from the Delmas to Petionville neighbourhoods when shots were fired from nearby. Associated Press journalists didn’t see the source of the shooting, but saw a local journalist, a police officer and two protesters rushed away with apparent bullet wounds. No information was immediately available about the condition of the wounded people or their identities. Monday was the anniversary of a key battle of the Haitian Revolution, and earlier in the day Moise rejected calls to resign. The president said he would continue to try to negotiate with his opposition. Opponents say Moise should leave office over economic mismanagement and failure to investigate corruption. Leaders of the opposition including members of Haiti’s Senate organised months of protests that have paralysed the country but demonstrations have been slackening in recent days, with some sections of the capital returning to near-normal activity. Opposition members had called for mass marches on Monday but they did not materialise. “The country is more than divided, the country is torn apart,” Moise said after reviewing members of Haiti’s newly reconstituted army. “We ask for unity, between the rich and the poor, between those of the top and the bottom, between the people with black skin and light skin, between rural and urban. “If we were united as one we would not see exploitation of a small group while the majority stand in misery, poverty and insecurity. This is not what our ancestors wanted.” Australian Associated Press

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