Haitian Trade Unions Strike against Gang Violence, Hyperinflation; Demand Government Action
Oct. 4, 2021 (EIRNS)— Haitian transportation unions and subcontracting unions are holding a general strike today to protest the gang violence that predominates in Port-au-Prince and most of the country’s major cities, and the high fuel prices on the black market, which have doubled and tripled in the recent period, Cuba’s Prensa Latina reported Oct. 2. Today’s action is one of several organized in the recent period as violence and kidnappings by armed gangs have spiraled out of control. Jacques Desroches, spokesman of the transportation Trade Union Force to Save Union, also denounced the “humiliation inflicted by the United States” on thousands of Haitian migrants deported by the Biden administration, and attacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry for not issuing a note of protest to the United States or calling for a moratorium on deportations. Henry in fact did the opposite, stating that he “understood” why America deported Haitians who had entered that country illegally.
Desroches blamed the government for the fuel shortages, and for failing to take action against the armed gangs that kidnap people for ransom (when they don’t kill them), which, he said, facilitates attacks on the population and disrupts economic activity, Telesur reported him as saying Oct. 2. One example: A few weeks ago, the Association of Oil Professionals urgently requested government help because armed gangs were surrounding oil terminals, including the one at Varreux which represents 70% of the country’s oil storage capacity. Gas station owners are suffering big losses because the gangs steal the gasoline being transported to them and won’t release it until they are paid by station owners.
Another strike was held Oct. 1 to protest violence and insecurity, called by the Protestant Federation of Haiti, following the Sept. 26 murder of Deacon Sylner Lafaille as he conducted a church service. The deacon’s wife, Marthe Lafaille, was kidnapped during the incident and is still missing, the Haitian Times reported. On Thursday Oct. 7 according to Telesur, NGOs and progressive groups will hold a peaceful demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. interference in the country’s internal affairs.