Haitian opposition rejects president's appeal for dialogue

Port-au-Prince (AFP) –


The Haitian opposition on Wednesday rejected President Jovenel Moise's appeal for dialogue, as the country's main cities remain paralyzed after more than a month of often violent protests.

Over the past year, Haiti has sunk deeper into political crisis as anti-corruption protests demanding Moise's resignation roil the destitute Caribbean nation.

Moise's opponents have set up barricades throughout the country, bringing activity to a standstill, particularly in rural areas where it has become impossible to move goods.

"The main opposition members will not agree to meet this doomed commission that has no credibility," said protest leader Andre Michel.

On Tuesday night, the presidency released a list of seven former ministers and party advisers chosen to lead discussions aimed at ending the crisis.

Another national protest is scheduled for Friday and had already been planned before Moise extended the offer of dialogue.

"The procession will head to the presidential residence to collect his letter of resignation," Michel told AFP.

Since coming to power in February 2017, Moise has had to face the anger of an opposition movement that refuses to recognize his victory in an election widely seen as dubious.

Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent.

In addition to demanding Moise's resignation, many of the protesters -- the majority of whom are young and from the poorest neighborhoods -- are accusing the president of fraud.

Protesters are calling for the prosecution of everyone, including Moise, allegedly involved in the mismanagement or misappropriation of more than $2 billion in aid provided by Venezuela between 2008 and 2018.