News Americas, NEW YORK, NY., Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: The French foreign ministry recently joined other major countries in urging its nationals to “postpone their trip to Haiti until further notice.” But that notice was ignored by a French couple are now they are being counted among the dead in the Caribbean nation that has been racked by anti-government protests since September.
“Demonstrations, accompanied by blockades on the main roads and violent acts (rock throwing, shots…) are very frequent. Violent groups are active and fueling a climate of insecurity,” the foreign ministry warning stated recently.
But the French couple from the town of Saint-Martin-d’Ardeche, who according to AFP, were given a green light last year to adopt their first child, travelled to Haiti anyway.
They were reportedly shot dead in Port-au-Prince at the weekend in an armed robbery that turned deadly. They were rushed to a hospital in Delmas 75 in Por-au-Prince on November 25, 2019, but later died.
The death toll in Haiti since protests erupted there has risen to an estimated 42, according to the UN, with the French couple being the latest counted among the dead.
At the center of the protests are allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds under the Petrocaribe program, an oil distribution agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that started in 2008.
Under the program, Haiti had to pay only a portion of its oil bills in the short term and put the rest into a fund allocated for infrastructure improvements and social projects, Reuters reported. A Haitian Senate investigation released in late 2017 found that nearly $2 billion had been embezzled and stolen by Haitian leaders, primarily under President Michel Martelly’s tenure between 2011 and 2016.
Moïse, who was elected amid historically low voter turnout, was implicated in a January 2019 report by Haiti’s court of auditors. The report found that his company had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to reconstruct a road — and it never happened, according to the Miami Herald.