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Ex-Candidate Renois: Movement Demanding President Resignation to Repeat in Haiti

© AP Photo / Dieu Nalio CheryDemonstrators run away during a protest to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise and demanding to know how Petro Caribe funds have been used by the current and past administrations, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Much of the financial support to help Haiti rebuild after the 2010 earthquake comes from Venezuela's Petro Caribe fund, a 2005 pact that gives suppliers below-market financing for oil and is under the control of the central government.
Demonstrators run away during a protest to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise and demanding to know how Petro Caribe funds have been used by the current and past administrations, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Much of the financial support to help Haiti rebuild after the 2010 earthquake comes from Venezuela's Petro Caribe fund, a 2005 pact that gives suppliers below-market financing for oil and is under the control of the central government. - Sputnik International
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The US Embassy continues to support Haiti's President Jovenel Moise despite an unprecedentedly large-scale protest movement and corruption charges against him. According to one of the opposition leaders, former presidential candidate Clarence Renois, US support is not enough to reassure the protesters.

Renois told Sputnik that if protests continue, the only option the US has to help President Moise retain power may be direct intervention. While Frantz Voltaire, director of the International Centre for Information and Documentation on Haiti, the Caribbean and the Afro-Canadian community noted that the incumbent president was elected with American support, while observers suspected the United States of manipulating the election.

People run away after cars were set on fire at a Nissan dealership during protests over a fuel price increase in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, July 7, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Since the political crisis that broke out in Haiti on 7 February as a result of clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators, 26 people have died and 77 have been wounded in the country, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Opponents of President Jovenel Moise have demanded his resignation and accused the president primarily of embezzlement of funds from Petrocaribe, a loan provided to Haiti by Venezuela.

"The Petrocaribe Foundation has launched an investigation. Venezuela has allocated several billion dollars in accordance with its assistance program to Haiti. These funds, unfortunately, were used for other purposes. The companies signed large contracts, but the projects were not implemented," Frantz Voltaire told Sputnik.

"According to Haiti's Superior Court of Auditors' report, Jovenel Moise, who owns several companies, took advantage of these contracts. […] The president's name appears on the list of suspects in this loud corruption scandal."

READ MORE: Haiti: State Collapse in the Caribbean

Nevertheless, despite the unpopularity of President Moise, the American ambassador to Haiti, Michele Sison, expressed official support for the president, stressing that the United States recognises the legitimacy of Jovenel Moise's government:

"We have always underscored, in our statements as well as our diplomatic conversations… our belief in the legitimacy of Haiti's institutions and its elected officials," Sison said in February.

A police officer looks on as a crowd enters the Delimart supermarket complex, which had been burned during two days of protests against a planned hike in fuel prices in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 8, 2018. - Sputnik International
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According to opposition party leader Clarence Renois, it's "opportunistic support", since the non-recognition of the incumbent president could aggravate the crisis.

"If a major popular movement demanding the resignation of the president, like last week, will repeat, the US support will not change anything. The United States can't decide on the current government."

READ MORE: Protesting Haitians Burn US Flag, Ask Russia to Help Resolve Crisis (PHOTOS)

A similar situation occurred in 2004. "The US government supported the incumbent president [Jean-Bertrand Aristide — Sputnik] and the protest movement prevailed, overthrowing him. One-time support does not guarantee durable power," Renois stressed.

"Youth groups and associations are dissatisfied with US policy in Haiti and often openly show their anger […] At such demonstrations, young people say that the US has too much influence."

The Director of the International Centre for Information and Documentation on Haiti, the Caribbean and the Afro-Canadian Community, Frantz Voltaire, also noted an increase in anti-American sentiment.

"Fair or not, but the election of Jovenel Moise as the President of the Republic is attributed to the Americans. As in the case of his predecessor, Michel Martelly, it is believed that this president was imposed by the United States. And this is not only the opinion of society. Brazilian analyst Ricardo Seintenfus in his book, published two years ago, accused the United States of manipulating elections."

Demonstrators march during a protest demanding accountability from politicians for allegedly squandering billions of dollars in proceeds from Venezuela’s discounted PetroCaribe oil program in the streets of Port-au-Prince, on November 18, 2018, Investigations by the Haitian Senate in 2016 and 2017 concluded that nearly $2 billion from a Venezuelan aid program called Petrocaribe were misused. Through Petrocaribe, Venezuela for years supplied Haiti and other Caribbean and Central American countries with oil at cut-rate prices and on easy credit terms. - Sputnik International
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According to Frantz Voltaire, in recent years, scandals associated with Western NGOs have badly damaged the reputation of the United States. The press spoke particularly negatively about the Clinton Foundation.

"There is a feeling of resentment towards American politicians. After the [2010] earthquake, it is not known where the international aid was directed. Bill Clinton has been accused of having promised a lot, but nothing has been done."

"International aid was distributed by the US and NGOs, and, in both cases, it is not known where these funds went. There was no audit, no additional verification."

According to data provided by the Associated Press, 33% of the $379 million collected for rebuilding Haiti was kept by the US government. According to CounterPunch magazine, of every dollar collected by the United States, only 42 cents was sent to NGOs to assist Haiti after the earthquake.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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