The organizers of the Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival recently announced that the musical event has been postponed. The reason given was an increase in gang activity in the Haitian capital.
The festival, which is usually held in January, brings together musicians from more than 12 countries each year.
Milena Sandler is director of the Haiti Jazz Foundation which organizes the festival. She told the French Press Agency: “We can’t take any risks, neither for the 150 musicians, nor for our teams, nor for the public”.
Sandler added: “We’ve been thinking for a while now that it would be difficult…to hold a celebratory event in this the context.”
In recent months, the gangs have gone beyond the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and have increased kidnappings.
Their control of capital regularly impedes security access at oil stations. As a result, fuel shortages have hurt the transportation industry. Many hospitals, businesses and schools have been forced to cut services.
The United States and Canada have suggested that their citizens living in Haiti have a contingency plan for leaving the country.
Sandler hopes the music festival will take place in 2022.
“If the situation in the country does not allow the usual format of concerts over eight days, we will still have something and it will not be virtual,” she said.
Sandler added that the festival’s Haitian and international partners were considering a program for the end of June.
The only time the festival was canceled was in 2010. That year, a massive earthquake severely damaged Port-au-Prince and other cities on January 12, killing more than 200,000 people.
I am Jonathan Evans.
Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learn English based on a report by Agence France-Presse. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
words in this story
gang -not. a group of criminals
the context -not. the situation in which something happens; the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens
access -not. to be able to approach something or someone
format -not. the form, design, or way in which something is organized and presented
virtual — adj. existing or occurring on computers or the Internet