The U.S. embassy in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, has warned American citizens to remain inside until further notice.
Port-au-Prince is in the midst of a series of violent protests. On Sunday the State Department warned Americans in Haiti to avoid travel if possible.
“Do not travel to the airport unless you confirmed your flight is departing,” the State Department cautioned. “Flights are canceled today [Sunday] and the airport has limited food and water available.”
The State Department also noted that communication networks throughout Haiti had been damaged by the protesters.
“Telecommunication services, including internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti. It may be difficult to reach people through normal communication methods.”
The State Department also expressed its “deepest condolences” to the victims of the continued violence.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with Haitian authorities to verify the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in the area,” the travel advisory read.
At least three people have already been killed during these protests. That number includes two protesters who were shot by authorities, and a security guard who was beaten to death by demonstrators after he attempted to frighten off a crowd by shooting his gun into the air.
They don’t mess around in Haiti. Here in America protesters almost never get shot to death; cops are too afraid of being sued by their relatives. In Haiti it seems the authorities shoot first and ask questions later.
Estimates suggest that about 120 Americans a staying at a hotel in Port-au-Prince that has been targeted by protesters. These malcontents tried to bypass security and set the building ablaze.
Youth groups and missionaries from a number of U.S churches are also stranded in Haiti, trapped by swarms of protesters and unable to make it safely to the airport for evacuation.
The Haitian government moved on Saturday to halt a planned price hike on fuel, which was the original source of the upheaval. Violence and unrest in the poor Caribbean nation escalated significantly last week, after Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, announced that fuel prices would be raised to balance the budget.
Lafontant had announced a 38 percent increase in the price of gasoline, diesel and kerosene. This sudden and astronomical rise in prices kicked off a wave of protests against a government perceived as corrupt by the common people.
A small number of elites hold near-total political and economic power in Haiti. Economic mobility is very low, and the political situation in the country is tremendously volatile basically all the time.
Although the Lafontant government has bowed to public pressure and agreed to abandon the price increases on fuel, the situation of the Haitian people will remain dire as long as they are ruled by a corrupt and exploitative government.