National Library Of Haiti Looted–Historic Documents At Risk.

Photo: Pixabay. File photo of library books on a shelf.
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Haiti’s National Library was looted Wednesday by the armed gangs that have been terrorizing the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, its director told an Agence France Presse reporter.

Dangelo Neard said the history of Haiti — the Western Hemisphere’s second-oldest republic — was being threatened.

“I was told that the thugs are taking away the institution’s furniture. They also ransacked the building’s generator,” Neard said.

“Our documentary collections are in danger,” he said. “We have rare documents over 200 years old, with importance to our heritage, which risk being burned or damaged by bandits.”

Armed groups control most of Port-au-Prince and swaths of countryside in the absence of a functioning government and continued delays in establishing a promised transitional authority.

After several days of diminishing violence, attacks picked up again in several neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince since Monday.

The attack on the National Library comes after an attack and looting of the National School of Arts.

The country’s national police said in a statement Tuesday that they were “determined and committed to restoring order and peace.”

Haiti has been rocked by a surge in violence since February, when its powerful criminal gangs teamed up to attack police stations, prisons, the airport and the seaport.

They are seeking to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been in power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. The country has no sitting parliament, with its last election in 2016.

The country also has been wracked for decades by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and gang violence, with Moise’s assassination setting off months of spiraling insecurity even before February’s clashes.

Unelected and unpopular, Henry announced on March 11 that he would step down as part of an internationally brokered plan to make way for a so-called transitional council.

But weeks later the council has only announced eight of its supposed nine members and seems to ahve been ineffectual in terms of executive actions and has failed to delineate a path to a new prime minister — and because of doubts over the very legality of such a council.

However, it is known that Canadian troops have started training other Caribbean troops for action in Haiti, but there is no timetable for action.

“The problem with time is that we spent two and a half years with Ariel Henry who did nothing, and now in two weeks we want to do a lot of things,” council member Leslie Voltaire told AFP, without giving any indication of what the executive council is actively trying to do.

He also blamed regional body CARICOM for rushing the formation of the council, though he said it would be stood up by Thursday and elect a prime minister within a week.

Source: VOA/AFP
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