Church Groups in Haiti to Stage “Silent March” As Protests Continue

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – The Haitian Conference of Religious (CHR) has announced plans for a “national silent march” across the country on Tuesday as it warned of the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis” as opposition forces demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

In a statement, the CHR said that it has taken note of the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis in which the country is in the process of tipping over” and the situation “is the result of a much deeper crisis affecting the very foundations of our coexistence in its political, economic, social and religious dimensions”.

It has also been critical of the “total bankruptcy of our republican institutions – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary – and the responsibility of our political, intellectual and economic elites in the deterioration of the situation”.

The religious group said, as a result, it was calling “on the conscience of everyone, especially the head of the executive power to take note of the seriousness of the hour and make a wise decision for Haiti accordingly.

“Due to the insensitivity and indifference of different political actors to the future of the country, because of the general climate of insecurity, we find ourselves obliged to keep the doors of our institutions closed. Until a happy outcome of the crisis is found in the best time,” it said.

The CHR said that at a time when Pope Francis invites “us in his prayer to be witnesses of the Gospel, courageous and ardent so that the mission entrusted to the Church, we decide to make two symbolic gestures but very significant

“We are in solidarity with the victims of this crisis that has already lasted too long, by donating blood to the Haitian Red Cross, visit of hospitals for the delivery of the product of our collection of drugs and medical equipment.

“In deep communion and in permanent solidarity with our suffering people, we will walk in silence from 9:00 am on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, in all major cities of the country to pray, celebrate our faith and implore Divine graces on our country and our people.

“We will go from the church of Christ the King to go the sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Bel-Air and finish with a Eucharistic celebration to be presided over by our Archbishop.

“We invite the clergy of our ten dioceses and the faithful Catholics, members of all other religious denominations, all socio-professional sectors, all men and women of goodwill to join us in raising the cry of our pains,” the CHR said in its statement.

Meanwhile, teachers are expected to stay away from classes on Monday as their unions urge them to participate “in a peaceful march…to demand the resignation of the Head of State and the reopening of schools”.

The political and economic crisis in Haiti was triggered by the publication in January 2019 of a report on the Venezuela-funded PetroCaribe Oil initiative, under which Caracas provided oil and other petroleum products to Haiti under a preferential agreement.

Moise, who came to power in 2017, has denied any wrongdoing and has named former prime minister Evans Paul to head a team that would hold discussions with all stakeholders to discuss a way forward.

Moise has urged Haitians to “identify their real enemies’ and again warned that the system which deprives the country of developing is alive and well in the country.

“The system has the capacity to regenerate each time. The people must be able to identify their real enemies,” he said last week, adding “this system that generates misery, poverty, exclusion, has come to an end and we must work together to prevent it from regenerating”.

Last week, CARICOM said it was “deeply concerned” over the protracted political crisis in Haiti and that it is still awaiting a response from President Moise for a good offices Prime Ministerial delegation to visit.

The decision to send a delegation comprising, CARICOM Chairman and St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis had been taken at the CARICOM Summit held in St. Lucia in July this year.

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