President Jovenel Moise says 10 years after an earthquake devastated Haiti and forced the country into an unprecedented state of cooperation, the country is now offering “another image” to the world.
Moise had joined Haitians and the international community on Sunday in observing the 10th anniversary of the earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and caused widespread damage in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
Moise, who came to office in 2017, is facing pressure from the opposition political parties to step down from office over allegations of corruption and other charges. The opposition parties have been staging violent street demonstrations in support of their calls.
Moise has denied the allegations and is moving towards forming a government of national unity despite the opposition boycotting the talks on the matter.
But Moise said that the “great inter-Haitian solidarity where compatriots, with their bare hands, freed our brothers and sisters from the masses of reinforced concrete,’ has been replaced with anger and hatred.
“We have seen people risking their lives to save the life of someone whose only voice they know is the trickle of voices filtering through the rubble. We have seen traders empty their stores to offer drinks and food to children on their own. We have seen women carrying men twice their weight on their backs, for miles and miles so that they can receive treatment.”
“The observation today is that hate and discord won our hearts. The incitement to hate and violence has transformed us.”— President Jovenel Moise, Haiti
But he said 10 years later “Haiti, unfortunately, offers another image to the world.
“Where has this solidarity gone? The observation today is that hate and discord won our hearts. The incitement to hate and violence has transformed us. These people reputed to be good have become unrecognizable.”
He said this is why he has been “preaching dialogue ever since I ascended the country,” adding that the “consequences of long periods of turmoil, political instability and in particular the “peyi lok” phenomenon and its priceless impacts have certainly caused more damage in our economy and done more harm to our society than the earthquake of January 12 2010”.
Moise said he has also observed that in 2010, the world felt sorry for the case of Haiti by showing compassion and great solidarity, but now “the latest events have rather aroused fear and withdrawal to the point that some countries that were rushing to help us in 2010, advise their nationals not to visit us. “Most of our hotels have had to close their doors or cut staff considerably,” he added.