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Haiti crippled by fuel shortages as gangs block ports

The streets of Haiti were unusually quiet on Tuesday.

Days of fuel shortages have left people with few transportation options, forced the closure of some businesses and threatened the daily running of hospitals.

Gang members are blocking the entrance to ports that hold vital fuel stores as their leader demands Prime Minister Ariel Henry step down.

The people of Haiti are already struggling under a weakening economy and a wave of gang kidnappings.

This local resident says the situation is dire.

''There is no petrol in the country. Hospitals are unable to operate. I think other institutions could close their doors but hospitals cannot run out of diesel! We are at the most serious level. This is the limit! Because today public hospitals are not operating, private hospitals are not operating. Maternity wards with newborns, (wards) with COVID patients.''

In a radio interview on Monday, the country's main gang boss - Jimmy Cherizier - said he would ensure the safe passage of fuel if Henry steps down.

His statements show how gangs have taken on an increasingly political role following the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

Cherizier also demanded that Henry answer questions linking him to Moise's murder.

The Prime Minister has denied any involvement.

Elections originally scheduled for November have been suspended after Henry last month dismissed the council that organizes the vote.

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