Christmas decorations or traditional Christmas carols are in short supply in Haiti this year, a sign of the severe socio-political and economic crisis plaguing the country.
Shopping, cleaning the surroundings, giving children gifts or renovating houses is part of the Haitian tradition, which usually welcomes Christmas in early December, with pine trees or branches entering their homes.
The streets and markets are still crowded with people, regardless of these dates, trying to survive amid the increasingly uncertain panorama.
Nothing this year
“Sales are not as hot as in the past. Nothing this year,” complained Jean Pierre, an electronics dealer in the corner of Avenue Christophe and Jean Paul II, less than a kilometer from the National Palace.
For Haitians, the festive season and especially the end of the year are a sign of good sales, especially in the informal sector that has kept the country’s economy alive, with many years of free fall.
“I find it different this year. Carol songs have not even been heard. There is no production this year,” Jean-Pierre continues in a statement to EFE.
Next to him, Mary Pierre, thanking God for “being alive,” complains that there are no festive activities, no money.
No dinners or parties
The scarcity of some foods, or their high cost, makes it difficult to prepare an average Haitian traditional Christmas dinner, which is basically made with rice containing beans, bacon, chicken or macaroni.
Add to this the growing and general insecurity that practically prevents nightlife in this country, which has long suffered the cruelty of armed gangs.
For analysts or ordinary civilians, this is the worst year the nation has experienced since the July 7 assassination of President Jovnell Moyes, and the devastating earthquake that ravaged southern Haiti from a series of events until the August 14 earthquake. 2,248 people.
This year, Haitian economist Enomi Germain told EFE, “The situation is very difficult. I do not mean disaster. It is a very difficult situation for families and companies.”
He described the assassination at the hands of President Moyes’ armed commando, who had long faced opposition, as a “visible consequence” of a worsening social and political crisis. This will paralyze the country and further destabilize the weak local economy.
“When a political crisis occurs, economic indicators deteriorate. It affects the lives of households, leading to home closures and bankruptcies,” Jermaine said, adding that the August earthquake alone represents a 15% loss to Haiti’s GDP. Its economy will shrink by 3.3% in 2020 and may fall further by 1.3% by the end of this year.