Nfter the announcement of an increase in fuel prices, massive riots broke out in Haiti. Among other things, a warehouse with 1,400 tons of food from the World Food Program (WFP) was looted in the city of Gonaïves on Thursday and its adjoining office complex set on fire, the UN organization said.
Haitian media reported that there had been violent demonstrations and looting in Port-au-Prince, among other places. For days, protests and roadblocks with burning tires have paralyzed the capital of the Caribbean state.
Meanwhile, several states announced the temporary closure of their embassies for security reasons. The diplomatic mission of the Dominican Republic said on Thursday (local time) that the embassy was closed until further notice due to the “deteriorated security situation”. Canada also closed its embassy from Thursday. Spain and Mexico had already announced similar steps on the previous days.
Soaring prices and deadly gang violence
In the past week there have been demonstrations, some violent, against the government in several cities, mainly because of the increased cost of living and deadly gang violence. The protests have intensified since Monday after interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been in office for more than a year, announced that he would cut subsidies for petroleum products. This is to ensure the availability of fuel.
Haiti is the poorest country on the American continent. In July 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his residence under circumstances that are still unclear. The country has not had a quorum since the beginning of 2020. Gang fighting in the Port-au-Prince area, which has been going on for more than a year, has once again significantly worsened the already difficult security situation there, displaced thousands of people and caused supply shortages.
The food looted in Gonaïves should feed nearly 100,000 school children by the end of the year and provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable families, the WFP said.