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Haitians Start #PetroCaribeChallenge Demanding Accountability For Waste of Petrocaribe Fund

Gilbert Mirambeau

Haitians are taking to social media to denounce corruption and to demand accountability with the . Where did the money go?

According to Les Voix Du Monde

In Haiti, six weeks after riots against the announcement of rising fuel prices, the population has not stopped questioning its leaders. Under the hashtag #petrocaribechallenge, Haitians are demanding accountability to the political class, suspected of squandering Petrocaribe funds.

Where did the Petrocaribe money go?  This is the question written in Creole on pieces of cardboard with which Haitian Internet users are appearing more and more massively on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Petrocaribe is the name of the program launched in 2006 by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that allows several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to acquire petroleum products at a great price and pay their bills over 25 years at an interest rate of 1%. In Haiti, this fund was supposed to finance social projects. Today, Haitians want to know where the $ 3.8 billion has gone.

There are now 18 members of Petrocaribe: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Venezuela. Members meet at Petrocaribe heads-of-state summits, though not on a consistent basis. These meetings took place biannually in 2005 and 2007, and then once a year in 2008 and 2009. The most recent summit took place in May 2013 in Venezuela. – Read More Here

Launched on August 14 by filmmaker Gilbert Mirambeau, the #petrocaribechallenge hashtag took off on social media after being shared three days ago by Haitian rapper K-Lib.

The Haitian rapper, very committed, believes that the scourge of corruption is now at the center of the concerns of the population in Haiti:

“There is this awareness. The population is fed up. It is not fair. We know that there was Petrocaribe funds for development and for so many governments, from 2006 until today, there has been nothing more than the squandering of state funds. There has been no change in the standard of living of the population. And here I think it’s a kind of patriotic awakening. ”

Last fall, the report of a Haitian Senate commission on the Petrocaribe scandal pointed to 15 former ministers and high-ranking officials suspected of corruption and misappropriation of public funds. This report has remained unanswered. Haitian netizens are now hoping that their pressure is pushing justice to finally seize the case.

We spoke to Gilbert Mirambeau who explained his frustrations and the reason he decided to participate in the challenge.

“We are tired of a corrupt Haiti and we’re challenging the people in the Parliament who took the 3.8 Billion from 2006 – 2016 and wasted the money instead of investing into the development of Haiti. The money did not go towards investing in the culture, education or minimum wage, workforce or creating a better Haiti. Haiti is getting poorer and our children are going to be responsible for paying back this money.”

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