Hundreds of Americans Are Stranded in Haiti Amid Violent Unrest
Chaotic protests unfurling in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, have left hundreds of US citizens and diplomats stranded as violent demonstrations targeting hotels and public areas brought the city to a standstill.
The US Embassy in Haiti issued an alert to all US diplomatic personnel in the country telling them to shelter in place. "Do not attempt to travel at this time," the warning stated.
Several US airlines, including American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue, have canceled flights to and from Port-au-Prince (PAP), which has left hundreds of Americans stranded with no option to return home on the horizon.
Roadblocks with armed protestors demanding payment for safe passage were reported in front of the Port-au-Prince airport.
The unrest follows an announcement from Haitian President Jovenel Moïse that the cost of fuel would be almost doubling under a new proposal that would reduce government subsidies on gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Riots erupted across the city after the announcement on Friday, raging through the weekend, and continued to flare up into Monday. At least seven people have died so far in the chaos.
On Saturday, demonstrators were targeting local hotels, where Americans were stuck inside because of the rioting in the streets. At the Oasis hotel, about 120 Americans and 100 Haitians were hunkered down as rioters attempted to set the building on fire and get past security to wreak havoc inside the hotel.
The Associated Press reported a similar situation at a Best Western in Pétion-Ville, a more affluent neighborhood.
"Guests were forced to remain inside as rocks were hurled through windows around 10 a.m. local time," the AP reported. "Security manned the building, but rioters shattered the main entrance before moving to another hotel."
Among the stranded Americans are several church groups, including a youth group from Bradenton, Florida, and a church mission group from Charleston, South Carolina.
On Saturday, the Haitian government announced a reversal of its plan to end fuel subsidies in an attempt to quell the demonstrations.
H/T: The Washington Post