Haiti continues to suffer gas shortages and rolling blackouts as a major fuel reseller put five cargo ships filled with gasoline and diesel on “financial hold” in waters off the coast.
Protests broke out six months ago over fuel prices. In July, the government hiked prices 38 percent on gas, 47 percent on diesel and 51 percent on kerosene. Four people were killed in Lascahobas during a protest over the electricity shortage.
The price hikes were part of a financial agreement with the IMF, to secure $96 million in low-interest loans and grants, but the government had to reverse the increases in response to protests.
The present fuel crisis is connected with a decree issued by Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, which made The Bureau of Monetization of Programs and Development Aid (BMPAD) the only agency in Haiti that can import fuel. BMPAD has made a partial payment, allowing the release of some fuel, but still many are without fuel or power. BMPAD owes millions of dollars of debt to the Texas company that is withholding the fuel anchored in the coast.
The fuel shortage began last month. Tensions are rising as illustrated by Moïse’s recent attempt to participate in the launch of a high school athletic tournament. The audience began to chant, “We don’t have electricity” the president he had to be escorted out, in fear for his safety.