Latin American Weekly Report

27/02/2020 - Hispaniola convulsed by violence and protests

“A warlike situation” and “an attack against democracy”. This was the authorities’ response to unprecedented scenes of Haiti’s national police (PNd’H) and newly reconstituted military (FAd’H) exchanging gunfire for over six hours near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince on 23 February. The violence, which left at least two dead and resulted in the cancellation of Haiti’s Carnival, the country’s biggest annual celebration, to avoid a further “bloodbath”, is the latest sign of the deteriorating security situation facing President Jovenel Moïse. Across the border in the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, daily pots-and-pans protests have been organised by youth movements in Santo Domingo, blaming the government led by President Danilo Medina for the suspension of municipal elections. Political opposition parties, seeking to capitalise on public indignation over suspected electoral fraud, staged a joint protest march.

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