On Thursday a group of Haitian unions called for a general strike on February 1 and 2 to demand that President Jovenel Moïse step down, and to protest against growing insecurity in the country.
The Lawyers Collective for the Defense of Human Rights, the Anti-Corruption Union Brigade (BSAC), the United Movement of Haitian Workers (MUTH), and the National Workers Central are among those calling for the protests.
These groups are supported by dozens of others including opposition parties, transport drivers’ unions, teachers, and human rights organizations.
Their primary objective is to force Jovenel Moïse to resign his presidency by February 7, 2021, as—they argue—is stipulated by the Constitution.
For his part, Moïse claims that his mandate ends one year later, on February 7, 2022, as he has been in power since his election for a five-year term beginning on February 7, 2017.
Grève générale projetée, pour les lundi 1er et mardi 2 février 2021 en Haïti https://t.co/0qdDakYGqY
— AlterPresse (@AlterPresse) January 23, 2021
Organizations of motorcycle taxi drivers and the Platform of Haitian Teachers’ Unions support the call for a general strike to protest against, among other things, the current regime and an increase in criminal acts.
The unions also called on the entire population to express their disagreement with kidnappings, which have become widespread lately, and against citizen insecurity. Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported an average of about 160 kidnappings per month. The opposition renewed calls for protests as the date approaches on which they consider the presidential mandate to end.
Because Moïse didn’t organize parliamentary elections, Haiti’s Parliament expired in January 2020, and he has been ruling by decree since. Since then, he has issued at least 44 executive orders and 38 presidential decrees. Amid the demonstrations and violence, a committee selected by Moïse is preparing to rewrite the country’s constitution.
In November 2020, Moïse unilaterally decreed a new security force, the National Intelligency Agency (ANI), protected by legal immunity from human rights violations.
Moïse has the backing of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the date of the end of the term, and he has also called for presidential and legislative elections for next September.
Opposition politicians are concerned that Moïse, with US backing, will orchestrate a system favorable to his re-election in 2022. The US and Canada have supported the legitimacy of Moïse’s rule.
Featured image: The opposition demands the resignation of President Moïse by February 7 – Photo: Jeanty Junior Augustin/www.jjaugustin.com
Translation: Orinoco Tribune, with Orinoco Tribune editorial content