Haiti Suspends Fuel Price Hike After Protest

Protesters barricade a street in the Port-au Prince suburb of Petion-Ville to protest an increase in fuel prices which the government then suspended

Haiti Suspends Fuel Price Hike After Protest

A number of U.S. missionary groups are stranded in Haiti after protesters took to the streets following a fuel price hike ordered by the government.

Haiti's Commerce and Economic ministries Friday said they would lower fuel subsidies in a bid to generate more tax revenue to better fund government services, which translated to a 38 percent jump for gasoline and 47 percent for diesel.

"Due to continuing demonstrations, roadblocks, and violence across Port-au-Prince, as well as short staffing at the airports, embassy personnel have been instructed to re-book any flights originally scheduled for Sunday", the US embassy said in a statement.

Several airlines, including American Airlines, Delta and Jet Blue, have cancelled most flights to Port-au-Prince.

The decision to suspend the increase in the price of gasoline was announced on Saturday by Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant.

A mission group from central Kentucky that has been working with schools and children is stranded in Haiti. "Flights are canceled today [Sunday] and the airport has limited food and water available". But just a few miles later, they came upon another group of armed protesters burning tires. A local colleague of McFarlin's rode ahead on a motorcycle and reported that the road ahead was filled with similar impromptu "checkpoints". "Just people taking advantage of the situation".

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Both the Canadian and Mexican embassies in Haiti announced that they would be closed on Monday. "US citizens in Haiti, let family and friends know that you are safe if you are able".

Flights have resumed, allowing people who had been stuck in Haiti over the weekend, including groups of USA missionaries, to leave the country.

Chapin United Methodist Church in SC posted online that its mission team is safe but stranded.

U.S. officials told tourists and missionaries to shelter in place.

The Embassy urged Americans in Haiti to "contact your family to keep them informed of your welfare and whereabouts", and to avoid protests and any large gathering of people. "Do not attempt to drive through roadblocks", a State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs official said.

American Airlines, which had canceled 10 flights since Saturday, said three of its planes had left on Sunday from Port-au-Prince and the northern city of Cap-Haitien bound for Miami and NY.

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