Constitutional Crisis in Haiti  

Eve Murdick, Staffer

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, according to many Haitian citizens, is causing constitutional issues due to his alleged actions during his presidency. 

Cities and towns in the country have been forced to come to a halt amidst protests, usually violent, against President Moïse and his current drastic altering of Haitian government that which lead to the state of crisis the country is currently in. Almost as if a routine, a schedule, fuel shortages are abundant. Even more so abundant are the closures of schools spreading like a virus across the country, analogous to the all too real coronavirus that also spreads. These school closures are purely due to fear after the ever so increasing gangs that kidnap individuals for ransom, especially students and teachers. With school closures came hospital, public transportation and business closures. 

“President Moïse didn’t address the nation until last Thursday, a week after the protests started,” an article by the New Humanitarian said. He called for the country to stand behind him, saying he wouldn’t resign to armed gangs and drug dealers. The U.S. Embassy released a statement shortly after the address, supporting Moïse but urging his government to crack down on corruption and find those responsible for the missing PetroCaribe funds.” 

Moïse’s term in office is marked by this violence and allowance of a country in crisis to go about its day with no aid or relief. His presidency has been defined by a degradation of democracy and its institutions as well as turning Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, into a chaotic portrayal and tableau of fear and insecurity. 

On Tuesday, after declaring a state of economic emergency, the government unveiled 11 cost-cutting measures for ministers to curb government spending,” the Miami Herald said. Government spokesman Eddy Jackson Alexis said the measures, which include limiting travel and fuel, would save at least $12.7 million a month — enough to reduce the budget deficit.” 

The majority of the Haiti’s elected parliament has been dissolved in addition to the mayors that have been stripped of their office, all due to Mr. Moïse. He denies being a dictator, even though his actions in government speak otherwise. Last Sunday, Feb. 7, was supposedly his term in office expiration date. But, of course, he says he will remain in office for another full year. 

In January, President Jovenel Moïse announced — by tweet — the end of the bicameral Parliament,” an article by the Miami Herald said. All members of the lower chamber and two-thirds of the Senate are gone. There are just 10 senators left. All this after Haiti failed to hold legislative and local elections in October 2019. Moïse is carrying out one-man rule — badly. He is ruling decree. 

The constitutional crisis is surrounded around an argument concerning this term duration, meaning when it should end. Haiti’s constitutional term consists of five years, and the current president was elected six years ago in 2015 and should have been installed in February 2016. Election monitors soon concluded the realization of corruption President Moïse’s obtained. Soon after this agreement came a caretaker government that remained in office until an election the next year. To no surprise, Moïse once again took office on Feb. 7, 2017 and he insisted his five years would come to an end in 2022. 

According to Haiti’s constitution, presidential terms last five years,” an article by CNN said. “Haiti’s Superior Court of Justice and the country’s opposition movement say that Moise, who won a runoff vote in 2016, was due to step down on Sunday. But Moise argues he gets one more year because he was not actually sworn in until 2017 — a claim backed by both the Organization of American States and US President Joe Biden’s administration.” 

President Moïse, in reality, has ultimately lost all his popular support from his citizens and went on to abandon any pretense of democracy. Two-thirds of the Senate suspended. The entire lower chamber disappeared. Every mayor in Haiti, gone. Mr. Moïse refused to hold any elections for four years. Therefore, only 11 elected representatives hold office for over ten million people. 

Meanwhile, Moïse appears to have the support of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden,” AP News said. “Ned Price, a U.S. State Department spokesman, said Friday that the U.S. has urged Haiti to organize free and fair elections so that Parliament can resume operations, adding that a new elected president should succeed Moïse when his terms ends in February 2022.” 

Moïse claimed he had individuals arrested for the plotting of a coup during the celebrations of commemoration and celebration in Haiti that marks the president’s last day in office. The fear instilled by the president that rests in citizens slowly progressed, especially after discovering the so-called coup Moïse executed. He dispatched troops at night to capture a judge, a senior police officer, and over 20 more individuals.  

 “The fragmented opposition, in the meantime, compounded the crisis by installing two presidents — a Supreme Court judge who had been fired by Mr. Moïse and a lawyer in Haiti’s north, the New York Times said about the coup. 

A plane, from the United States, arrived in Haiti on Monday, Feb. 8. Instead of possessing hope and relief that citizens were crying out for, it carried almost a hundred Haitians that were deported by U.S. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). This plane carried the opposite of hope, stripping hope from its passengers and the country, especially 22 children, including a two-month-old. 

“The Biden administration suspended deportation flights to Haiti last week, but ICE reinstated the flights this past Monday, causing an outcry among immigration and human rights activists and making public a rift between the agency and the White House, the National Law Review said. 

Current U.S. President Joe Biden recently ordered a 100-day moratorium on deportations such as the Haitians sent back to their home country after residing in the U.S. for a short period of time. In opposition to this order, a Texas judge temporarily postponed the order, allowing the agency to go against wishes of the administration, creating more deportations. More flights carrying Haitian citizens are expected through the coming weeks. 

But first, the new administration needs to find a way to halt Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations to Haiti — which are in defiance of the Biden administration’s directives,” the New York Times said. “At the very least, the United States should stop contributing to its close neighbor’s distress.”