Poverty is the worst form of violence.
Haiti is on the verge of collapse. The Haitian banking industry association has announced that the country’s commercial banks (including Scotiabank) have been closed indefinitely amid mass protests.
The association said the closure was “for the sake of the security of employees.” Deteriorating conditions in Haiti have led to violent demonstrations and a breakdown of law and order.
Haiti once had a dynamic banking system. The most prominent banks include: Banque de la République d Haiti (Central Bank), Bank of Nova Scotia, Banque de Union Haitienne, Banque Nationale de Crédit Haiti, Capital Bank Haiti, Citibank Haiti, Sogebank Haiti, and Unibank Haiti.
All these banks are now shut down. Most of the ports and embassies in the country have also been closed indefinitely, as the country is on the brink of becoming a failed state.
Haitians are going through numerous crises right now from different directions. Gang members blockade important ports and energy facilities.
There is a severe food crisis in the country, cholera is spreading fast and armed terrorists often target women and children for sexual abuse. Many Haitians go for days without food.
Haiti immigrants in Canada lament
There are almost 170,000 Haitian immigrants living in Canada and more than 86% of them live in Quebec, as they are mainly French speaking. It is a double tragedy for these immigrants.
For Haitian immigrants in Canada, it’s a very frustrating time of their lives. Even if they want to send money or goods to their families back home, they are unable to do so as the banks and ports are all closed.
If money is sent, no one will be able to cash it. There are long line-ups in the few Western Union offices that dare to open. And people who go there get mugged by gangsters as soon as they walk outside the doors.
Why is the world not supporting Haiti?
With so many crisis happening around the world, and Ukraine still grabbing the headlines, Haiti is in the back burner and outside the radar of Western countries.
Earlier this year, Canada announced a financial contribution of $50.4 million for 9 initiatives that will support health services for Haitians, strengthen Haiti’s security capacity and infrastructure, support sexual and reproductive health and rights and help address food insecurity and other humanitarian challenges.
The United States and Mexico offered to form a separate military team outside the United Nations on Monday. This army team will eliminate Haitian gangs. Gang members currently hold most of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
The question is how far can these tokens go? For now, hope is the only strategy that Haitians and immigrants are sure of.