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HCDF Newsletter October 2022: Update on the socio-political in Haiti and in Fond-des-Blancs

During these months, Haiti is experiencing an unprecedented crisis that paralyzes all daily activities, especially in metropolitan cities. The climate of insecurity, of unavoidable violence in which the country flounders, creates at all levels a situation of terror, shortage, enormous frustration among citizens living even in the countryside or in the most remote areas. Public and private institutions have become dysfunctional due to difficulties in obtaining fuel.

Groups of heavily armed gangs take full control of all the major cities of the country and cause a slowdown in all commercial, tourist, migratory and educational activities in the country. Banks open only three days a week, transport becomes almost impossible, shopping centers and goods distribution centers are closed, health centers and hospitals cannot offer quality services, nor can they supply medicines and drinking water because of this precarious situation and anarchy.

Politically, Haiti has experienced an increase in tensions and rivalry between opponents and supporters of President Jovenel Moise since his rise to power and subsequent assassination on July 7, 2021. The situation remains very tense and polarized. Prime Minister Ariel Henry and actors from all political ranks and backgrounds cannot agree to reach a consensus around a common and unique vision that would lead to the restoration of democratic life and the normal functioning of all the institutions of the country. Everyone is envious of power and seeks to conquer it to enrich themselves at the expense of the people. The organization of elections and the maintenance of peace and public security, which were to be the main priorities of the state to renew the members of the government, are practically impossible and have so far remained undetermined. Injustice, cruelty, violence, abuse of power, corruption, social inequality become the main characteristics of the state. The Haitian parliament is no longer functional, the established electoral council is constantly contested, the agreements signed between the members of the different political parties are not respected. There is no clear action plan or alternatives to get out of this crisis. The only options considered for the moment is the deployment of a foreign military force for the maintenance of peace, order, and security.

The United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control in a memo made public, pursuant to Executive Order of December 15, 2021, begins imposing sanctions on foreign nationals involved in the international illicit drug trade. This is how many people, political leaders, former senators, and deputies pinned down in the embezzlement and in drug trafficking activities or engaged in the financing of acts of banditry and violence are prohibited from returning to the United States, Canada etc. The planned sanctions also involve the blocking of bank accounts and the sequestration of assets located in the United States.

Anti-gang operations are ineffective despite the concerted efforts of the Haitian National Police to restore order and security. A multitude of murder and kidnapping cases are increasing at a significant rate during this time of turmoil. This pushes a fringe of the population of Fond-des-Blancs and other people who settled in Port-au-Prince, Croix des bouquets, Martissant or other areas taken hostage by bandits armed to return to their hometown to procure a more peaceful environment. Others, moreover, are forced to go to the Dominican Republic or another country while waiting for a truce to be established.

On the educational level, none of the dates proposed successively by Nesly Manigat, the Minister of National Education is respected. Schools and universities that were due to reopen on September 3 are closed so far and are unable to accurately announce their reopening. Some have tried to launch distance learning courses. Unfortunately, these decisions cannot be maintained due to the difficulties linked to the Internet and the meager means and resources available to children whose parents are unable to provide them with even schoolbooks. In addition, telephone and internet services are reduced in certain areas and are deprived of them in other areas

It must be understood that with the great challenges that this country is already facing, these changes have serious consequences on the lives of all: increase in the unemployment rate, low life expectancy, cessation of the transport of people and goods, closed doors to schools and universities… In Fond-des-Blancs, the needs of the community have become more numerous, but HCDF is proud to be able to meet the educational needs of new children from areas affected by insecurity.

We are also delighted with the ability of our "Jubilee" farm, in this difficult situation, to meet the supply needs of products that are currently rare on the local market. It allows our children to benefit from a hot dish every day and constitutes a source of income for the women working in our processing workshop.

Our schools have been operating normally since October 10, 2022. Many children attend our schools despite transport difficulties. Some are forced to walk for hours to come to school. These sacrifices show their love and the importance they place on the education we offer them. On October 28, we had the honor of commemorating International Creole Language Day. This day was an opportunity for all students to understand the role of language in the struggle for Haiti's independence, its importance in education and the cultural values it embraces.

According to recent data, 953 children are received on our 3 campuses: 283 are received in the preschool section, 258 in the secondary school and 412 in the primary section. The exams for the first period will take place soon, from 21 to 25 November. We are certain that the number will increase with the new demands and believe that our teachers can do their best to support them.

We express our gratitude to all the people and institutions who, in one way or another, have supported our mission to break the cycle of poverty for many years.

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