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Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant of Haiti resigned Saturday over his handling of a failed plan to raise fuel prices that set off a wave of deadly protests. This decision made by officials had immediate negative response from Haitians everywhere. Lafontant faced questions about the riots earlier this month that followed the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 percent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.  Seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted during the unrest. Lafontant finally suspended the fuel increases after the protests erupted, but violence continued and calls for the prime minister’s resignation grew, including from the opposition and some business groups.

Sadly, despite haiti’s violence towards the new price laws, it is said that a 38 to 51 percent price increase on gasoline, kerosene, and diesel is necessary for haiti to meet its budget.

U.S. department of state posted this warning due to the violence in haiti. “Reconsider travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and often spontaneous. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.” Travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. The U.S. Embassy requires its own personal form of  transportation to and from the airport.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in some areas of Haiti. The Embassy discourages its personnel from walking in most neighborhoods.

While Haiti is returning to calm after the government reversed a sharp hike in fuel prices that triggered days of violent civil unrest, the International Monetary Fund is not backing down from its insistence that Haiti needs to raise prices. The Washington-based IMF, which helps countries stabilize their finances, said Thursday that the Haitian government’s current below-market fuel prices “disproportionately benefit the well-off” and prevent spending on badly needed social programs.  

Haiti is among the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. These price increases could be detrimental to the population of Haiti’s people, but without these price increases, Haiti itself could crumble.




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