Haiti’s political crisis deepened on Tue., Dec. 9 as an 11-member presidential “advisory commission” proposed that Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe step down, a recommendation which will swell the ranks of thousands of demonstrators nationwide calling for President Michel Martelly’s resignation. The capital’s next major demonstration, planned for Dec. 12 when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits Haiti, is expected to be massive.
The advisory commission’s 10-page report also recommended the sacking of Martelly-pawn Anel Alexis Joseph, who heads the Supreme Court and the Superior Council of the Judiciary Power (CSPJ), the resignation of the Electoral Council, and the release of all political prisoners.
“The country is facing an economic and structural crisis,” says the report, according to the Miami Herald. “To avoid a worsening of the current situation, ‘the most credible solution to the crisis’ should allow a return, in a reasonable time, to constitutional normalcy and well-functioning institutions.”
“This is a rescue operation by the international community aimed at saving the mandate of President Martelly while Martelly is primarily responsible for the crisis,” said outspoken lawyer Andre Michel, a leader of the Patriotic Movement of the Democratic Opposition (MOPOD), the Miami Herald reported.
In its eight days of existence, the advisory commission had some clashes. On Sun., Dec. 7, former Sen. Gabriel FortunÃ©, who was expelled from the anti-Martelly Dessalines Children platform for taking part in the commission, made headlines when he said that commission coordinator Reginald Boulos refused to allow investigation into the unaccounted funds of the National Education Fund (opaquely filled with and emptied of millions of dollars in illegal taxes of $1.50 on every international money transfer and 5 cents on every minute of Haiti’s overseas phone calls over the past three years) and the PetroCaribe account (which receives about 40% of the revenues from Haiti’s Venezuelan oil sales). FortunÃ© also said he would not sign the report unless all 10 prominent political prisoners were immediately released.