By Ezequiel Abiu Lopez
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio met on Wednesday with the Haitian president and members of parliament and discussed the formation of a new Cabinet following the ouster this week of Jean Henry Ceant as prime minister.
The Florida Republican lawmaker arrived in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, following crippling nationwide protests and a political crisis touched off by the dismissal of Ceant in a vote of no confidence by the country’s legislative body on Monday.
Haiti has had several prime ministers in recent years. President Jovenel Moise remains in office.
Rubio wrote on his Twitter account that he discussed the formation of a new government in his meeting with Gary Bodeau, head of the lower house, and Carl Cantave, president of the Senate.
Discussed the formation of a new government & the need for good faith dialogue & elections with #Haiti Senate President @CarlMCantave, Chamber of Deputies President @garybodeau and US Ambassador Michele Sison. pic.twitter.com/Z9Sdl0U3Dc— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 20, 2019
Ceant took office in September as thousands of demonstrators were streaming through the streets in the main cities of the impoverished island nation.
In renewed protests since Feb. 7, many called for Moise to step down because of ballooning inflation, a weakening currency and allegations of misused funds from a Venezuelan oil subsidy scheme called PetroCaribe.
Ceant, who has likewise been blamed for the rampant inflation and protests, has insisted his dismissal on Monday was unconstitutional and that he is still the head of government.
Moise said on Twitter that he spoke with Rubio about security and holding parliamentary elections.
J’ai reçu en audience, au Palais National, ce mercredi 20 mars 2019, le Sénateur américain, Marco Antonio Rubio. L’entretien a porté sur le renforcement des relations d’amitié et de coopération entre Haïti et les USA, ainsi que sur l’investissement, la sécurité et les élections. pic.twitter.com/CSLgJTWYOg— Président Jovenel Moïse (@moisejovenel) March 20, 2019
Rubio heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.
His visit comes days before Moise and four other Caribbean leaders attend a meeting on Friday with U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela and China’s commercial expansion.
Glad to meet with members of the Haitian civil society and business community to hear their concerns first-hand. pic.twitter.com/muq5g3kjFK— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 20, 2019
Met with UN Special Representative Helen La Lime, MINUJUSTH UN Police Commissioner Serge Therriault & Haitian National Police Director General Michel-Ange Gedeon to discuss the need for security & stability in #Haiti. pic.twitter.com/mdZuItBFJt— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 20, 2019