Ten years after a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the country is still trying to rebuild itself. The earthquake hit the country on January 12, 2010 and killed tens of thousands of people, with some estimates going as high as 316,000.
International efforts to help Haiti have come under intense criticism. The United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) in particular, left behind a cholera epidemic, that was later acknowledged by then-Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2016. The mission also resulted in hundreds of single mothers being left behind to take care of children fathered by UN peacekeepers. In a recently published academic study, girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers stationed in the country from 2004 to 2017. The UK-founded charity organization Oxfam was also caught in a scandal when it was revealed it attempted to cover up serious sexual misconduct by its staff in Haiti.
Add to this an unstable political system that is in the midst of an almost two-year long political crisis. In the last half of 2019, Haitians took to the streets to protest the gross levels of corruption within Jovenel Moïse’s government, following the PetroCaribe scandal, and called for thepresident’s resignation. But little has improved in the political sphere. In fact, last Monday Moïse announced that the mandates of lower house deputies and most senators formally expired because the country failed to hold elections in October and are left without successors, pushing the country to rule by decree.
While Moïse views the move as a positive, it effectively undermines the country’s already fragile democracy. In a country with a history of brutal dictatorship, rule by decree is anything but positive.