Haiti's Dean of the Press Returns to Circulation After Five Months of Suspension


*By Javier Valdivia, special to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA)

Miami (March 3, 2023) - The dean of the Haitian press, Le Nouvelliste, returned to circulation this week after five months of interruption. However, it will not yet reach the sectors of the Haitian capital where violence persists.

In its editorial of March 2, the editorial board of the leading Haitian daily highlighted its return to the streets. Still, it warned that its physical reappearance comes when the center of Port-au-Prince, the "historic home" of Le Novelliste, has been plagued by violent clashes during the last few days.

The newspaper announced on Thursday, October 27, last year, the "painful obligation" to suspend its circulation until further notice, unable to stock up on fuel to distribute the paper and having exhausted its last stocks of paper. Since then, the newspaper has been published in digital format and on social networks.

"The newspaper is back, and the delivery drivers will again deliver it to our loyal subscribers. Unfortunately, from September to date, there has been an increase in the number of neighborhoods that have become inaccessible. Therefore, some areas will not be served at this time," Le Nouvelliste said this week.

The newspaper's executive management added that while it stopped circulating, insecurity hit many readers and one of its journalists, Roberson Alphonse, who narrowly escaped death after shooters tried to kill him. Alphonse is currently recovering from his injuries.

"Le Nouvelliste is back in print to continue to tell our story as it has for the past 125 years," the newspaper said in its editorial this week.

Haiti is again going through a severe political crisis and is experiencing a climate of constant insecurity due to armed gangs operating in several areas of the country.

The criminal organization G-9 An Fanmi e An Alye, led by Jimmy "Barbecue" Chérizier, blocked for several weeks last year the access to Haiti's primary source of fuel supply, the Varreux terminal in the capital's Cité Soleil neighborhood.

At the end of September 2022, the online agency Alter Press reported that the FM band had been severely affected by the energy and fuel crisis and warned that the population's right to information and communication was compromised.

Meanwhile, Metrópole, one of the main Haitian radio and television stations, announced in mid-October that due to the fuel shortage, it was also forced to temporarily reduce its broadcasting hours on the FM band and channel 52.

*Javier Valdivia is a journalist based in Miami and an expert on Haiti. He was Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Listín Diario newspaper in the Dominican Republic and a former correspondent for the Chinese agency Xinhua in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.