A Message from Sante Total

Dear friends,

We are appalled and saddened by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise early on Wednesday, July 7th and the wounding of his wife. We have been in communication with Gabriel Thelus, our Haitian coordinator, Berteau, a member of the community board, and many of our friends there. So far, Pignon and the surrounding area are quiet, but they are bracing for possible violence.

As many of you know, Moise, 53, dissolved parliament in January 2020 when terms ran out and has ruled by decree as opponents and protesters demanded that he step down. Many civil society leaders, jurists and opposition political leaders said his five-year term ended in February, 2021, but Moise had insisted his term would expire next year. The unstable political situation led to gang violence, especially in Port-au-Prince.  More than 15,000 people have been displaced since early June and homes and businesses have been burned and destroyed there.  The main road that connects Port-au-Prince to the southern peninsula has been blocked by armed gangs.  The Haitian government has urged the United States and the UN to send military troops to protect infrastructure and establish security so that the Caribbean nation may hold elections in September, but political activists say that the country is too unstable to hold viable elections.

The political vacuum left by Moise has also resulted in two prime ministers.

Ariel Henry was named prime minister two days before Moise was killed, but Claude Joseph, who previously held the post, has been acknowledged by the international community as interim prime minister. Joseph announced a “state of siege” and 15 days of national mourning. The funeral will be next week.

Haitian Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said that because Moise was assassinated less than 72 hours after Henry’s appointment, Joseph was still legally prime minister. He rejected arguments that a coup was taking place, saying the idea “was created to instill doubt and division.”

We will keep you all updated as the situation develops.  It is unclear when we will be able to return for a medical trip, but please be assured that we are continuing to support our friends and the community of Jacsonville to the best of our ability.  Our school lunch program is moving forward, we are continuing to support the activities and food distribution of the Center for the handicapped and aged, and our scholarship students are still in school.  In addition, we are helping to provide resources for sick people in the community by helping them cover medications and hospital bills. We will continue to work with the community to assure a source of permanent health care despite all the setbacks, and send courage and support in these difficult times.

As always, thank you so much for all your help and support!

Barbara Weis, MD, MPHTM
Executive Director, Sante Total

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