4/16/2008

Unrest in Haiti

Food riots and other headaches for Haiti's government

Haiti?s prime minister lost his job on April 12th, the result of more than a week of unrest as protesters rioted in reaction to rising food prices in the hemisphere?s poorest country. Several Haitians died, and one United Nations peacekeeper was killed. The president, Rene Preval, has announced new food subsidies, and international agencies have pledged more food and financial assistance. Although relative calm has returned in recent days, the government has been weakened, and there?s a risk of renewed outbreaks of violence.

Mr Preval (who first served as president in 1996-2001) has succeeded since taking office in May 2006 in reducing the level of chronic instability and violence in Haiti, focusing on political co-operation and disarmament of street gangs. He has benefited from the strong support of the international community, including the US and regional governments. The presence of 8,000 UN peacekeepers has also helped bring greater security to the streets. ...



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