Gonaïves is the city where Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti to be independent Jan. 1, 1804. It has been traditional for the president of Haiti to go to Gonaïves on New Year’s Day for a celebration in its cathedral.
Thousands of protesters joyously marched through the streets of Gonaïves on Jan. 4 to celebrate the victory. President Jovenel Moïse did not come to town as expected. This year, fearing the wrath of the people, Moïse stayed in Port-au-Prince.
Speaking in Gonaïves, opposition Senator Nenel Cassy told Voice of America on Dec. 19 that opponents will continue to urge the U.S. to stop supporting Moïse. “We consider Jovenel (Moïse) to have fallen already, but the Americans are propping him up,” he said. “As long as Jovenel is in power, we’ll keep protesting.” (Haïti-Liberté, Dec. 24)
While protests in Haiti were quiet in November, since the middle of December there have been frequent protests in front of the U.S. embassy and barricades erected in many Haitian cities.