Haiti: Scores to Settle

Renewed political conflict has marked the start of Haiti’s third century as the world’s first independent black republic. The exiling on February 29 of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide followed fighting between government forces and insurgents in which around a hundred people died.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Rod Prince

Former editor of Caribbean Insight

The United States, Canada, France and Chile have sent more than two thousand troops, but a humanitarian crisis threatens the population of the poorest country in the Americas, and the entrenched political divisions will persist.

Since the end of the Duvalier family dictatorship in 1986, there have been three military coups, other attempted coups, political murders and frequent disputes over the conduct of elections, accompanied by street violence.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s first term in office opened with an overwhelming victory in the December 1990 election, which gave him 67 percent of the vote, but nine months later he was removed by an army coup and sent into exile.

On that occasion, the United States, under President Bill Clinton, despatched a military force to back up American sanctions against the army regime. The military dictator, Raoul Cedras, was removed and sent into exile, and Aristide returned to resume his presidency in October 1994.

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