Former president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, stepped down from his position on the 8th of February, 2016, leaving behind no successor. While his term was set to end in February, he left early amid tension in the government. Martelly has put his support behind Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter, while the opposition supports Jude Celestin. In the first round of elections, Moise won one third of the vote, while Celestin was close behind with one quarter of the vote. But with the next round of runoff elections set to take place in April, this leaves a power vacuum in the place of the presidency. Nearly one week after his abrupt exit from the presidency, the national assembly chose Jocelerme Privert to become the new interim president.
The capital of Haiti, Port-Au-Prince, is no stranger to violence in the face of political upheaval. Violent clashes on the street, fueled by the oppositions discontent with the early resignation of the president and his past reforms, have lead to military interventions and forced the shutdown of the first day of Carnaval. Reports of a man being beaten to death show how tense the political and military situation in the capital has become. Much of the violence occurring stems from allegations of fraud, claiming that Martelly is forcing a coup by postponing the runoff election.
Between political turmoil and military violence against citizens, many wonder how helpful international aid has been in the country that started receiving unprecedented support after the 2010 earthquake. Privert, the interim president, hopes to “foster confidence” and create a sense of stability within the country.3Many Haitians still live in displacement camps set up immediately after the quake, but six years later there seems to be little emphasis on long term plans. Many projects, funded by North American companies, have decreased local government work, resulted in costly contracts and corruption, and have been culturally insensitive, creating more problems rather than solutions.2 While both school attendance and life expectancy has risen in recent years, many wonder if this “republic of NGOs” can support itself without the physical presence of outside aid. The upcoming presidential election, the successful installment of an interim president, and the possibility of an opposition win could be a point of hope for a country that has seen corruption, violence, and destruction throughout its history.
"Crisis in Haiti Turns Deadly as Power Vacuum Looms - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 6 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. Available at:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35508709
"Has the International Community Failed Haiti? - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 7 Aug. 2015. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. Available at:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-33802203
"Haiti Chooses Interim President - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 14 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35572871