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Churches call for conciliation as protests continue in Haiti

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM) has joined the Roman Catholic community in Haiti in calling on the Government in the French-speaking Caribbean Community country to listen to the voice of wisdom and ensure that violence is not the only means of removing a government from office.

Haitians took to the streets on Sunday as they continued to call on President Jovenel Mo´se to step down amid allegations of corruption. Mo´se, who came to power in 2017, has denied the claims.

In a letter addressed to the Archbishop of Cap-Ha´tien Monsignor Launay SaturnÚ, and signed by several CELAM executive members, including its president, Monsignor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, the organisation said that “The sufffering of the men and women of the dear beloved Republic of Haiti is a clamour rising to the sky, but which must also reach the ears of those who have in their hands the power to help that Haitians can find effective ways to overcome all the obstacles that seriously affect their human dignity and to the sons and daughters of God”.

It said that CELAM was joining that call and was therefore asking “the episcopate, priests, religious men and women and all Catholics in Haiti to ask the Haitian leaders for a way out of the crisis”.

Further, the letter notes that the crisis is having a greater impact on the poor, the elderly, women and children.

“We want to fraternally invite the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and of the Caribbean to join you, first of all, by mobilising the faithful to carry out days of prayers for peace and the exit of the painful situation of the country, as well as for the rest of the soul of those who died during these disturbances.

“We call on the authorities of our continent and the international community to strengthen the mechanisms of dialogue in Haiti in order to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. We recommend to Haitians, taking up the word of Pope Francis 'Do not let hope fly' and do not allow violence to become the only way to fight against difficulties,” the letter added.

On Sunday, despite calls by the opposition parties for mass demonstrations in support of the removal of Mo´se, not many people took to the streets across the country.

In the capital, the demonstration ended near the National Palace with the now usual confrontation with the police.

“The mobilisation in all the cities of the country must continue in order to obtain the departure of Jovenel Mo´se and to set up a transitional Government,” said opposition member Youri Latortue.

On Sunday, a fire of unknown origin destroyed one of the largest tanneries of the Caribbean, which is a subsidiary of Hawtan Leathers, LLC, one of the world's leading manufacturers of fine leather.

Hawtan Leather SA had been operating here since 1978 and employs nearly 160 workers. Its products are exported to North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Gallagher said that millions of dollars had been lost as a result of the fire.

The National Telecommunications Council (CONATEL), meanwhile, has warned radio stations against using their broadcast to “incite violence, hatred and rejection of living together”.

In a statement, CONATEL, which is the regulatory authority for telecommunications here, said it was urging all broadcasters to adhere to the policies of “creating a democratic state and law in accordance with the laws” and to “cease all incitement to violence and hatred”, which is a crime sanctioned by the Penal Code.


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