Masked looters carry a flat screen TV amid protests demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 13, 2019.
Masked looters carry a flat screen TV amid protests demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 13, 2019.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - "The country is getting ready to explode!" Haiti's newly elected Senate Leader Carl Murat Cantave said during a midday press conference Thursday, in which he denounced the violence that has left at least seven people dead and property damaged.

For eight consecutive days, thousands have protested inflation, corruption and what they consider to be the government's ineffectiveness to resolve the country's problems.

Cantave told reporters he has a plan to end the crisis. He is calling on President Jovenel Moise to address the nation without delay.

"We're asking the executive branch to act responsibly. The president can't remain silent," he said. "He must address the nation quickly. He must show the nation that it has a leader who is in charge. He needs to do that today."

Haitian Senate Leader Carl Murat Cantave holds a m
Haitian Senate Leader Carl Murat Cantave holds a midday press conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 14, 2019.

Palace crowd

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the National Palace Wednesday and insisted they would remain until the president resigns. They expressed frustration about his choice to remain silent.

"He doesn't understand yet. By the time he gets it, it will be too late," one protester told VOA Creole. "The people are going to remove him (from power), and we'll seize his belongings, and then he'll understand."

Opposition Sen. Ricard Pierre, who joined the protesters in front of the palace, also expressed frustration.

"A leader who has any level of self-respect after seeing all of these people protesting in the streets would resign. That just goes to show you that he doesn't care about the people. He only cares about making money," he told VOA Creole.

Multiparty dialogue, humanitarian crisis

Cantave is asking the opposition democratic sector to observe a truce to allow members of the various political sectors to meet and engage in a dialogue to try to find a solution.

"There are many people who are hungry. They are thirsty and stuck at home. They can't go out to buy basic necessities. People who are sick can't get to the hospital. Pregnant women can't get to their doctors ... we're facing a serious humanitarian crisis," he said.

Cantave asked the president to do everything possible to honestly consider any proposals that come out of the multiparty talks.

"The country cannot wait any longer. This must be done within 72 hours," he said, adding, "The end result must be concrete solutions that we can apply right away."

Moise has not yet responded to the proposal.

Matiado Vilme contributed to this report from Port-au-Prince