Haiti Recent History

After a provisional presidency of Ertha Pascal Trouillot, deposed by a coup, Jean-Bertrand Aristide served as president-elect from February 1991, a former Catholic priest who had played a key role in a popular uprising that ended decades dictatorship in the 1980s.

A year later, a bloody military coup led by General Raoul Cedrás evicted him from his mandate, but in 1994 he returned to the country amid popular celebrations due to international pressure and the secret agreement negotiated by former United States President James Carter, with Cedras.

René Preval replaced Aristide in the 1995 elections, because he was prohibited by the Constitution from running for a second consecutive term. Five years later, Aristide ran for office again and won a term that should have ended in 2006 but was overthrown in 2004.

According to topschoolsintheusa, Aristide’s second government was born marked by the burden of alleged irregularities in the process, the pressure of former military personnel who want to occupy power at all costs, and even, according to many analysts, the breach of commitments that he contracted with Washington when he helped him to To return to the First Magistracy, the return of the former priest was supported by 20 thousand soldiers sent by Carter with the consent of the UN. On the two occasions in which he found himself facing the destinies of Haiti, the former priest ordained in 1982 and expelled from his order in 1988 for his defense of Liberation Theology was a hope for Haitians.

Analysts consider that the crisis had its origin in the violent death of Amoiot Metayer, one of the leaders of the paramilitary gangs that created chaos and death in several cities, the Government of the former Salesian priest was accused by the opposition of the murder of Metayer, after which an escalation of violence began that climaxed on February 5, 2004 with a balance of more than 80 dead, hundreds of wounded and incalculable material losses. The media in the hands of the right launched campaigns aimed at creating chaos and confusion, in an attempt to discredit the president and his followers. The advance of armed gangs headed by ex-military and ex-coup leaders put President Aristide in a compromising situation, despite the fact that he insisted on several occasions that he would not resign, attempting a dialogue with the opposition and requesting help from international organizations.

The project, which did not advance due to the oppositionist position, contained a compromise formula in which a new prime minister would be appointed, with some constitutional powers. Although the United States appeared to support the Chief Justice, it had privately continued to distance itself. It was the United States, his former protector, who pressured him to resign and later acknowledged that it facilitated the exit with full safety for his life. France, United States and Canada – whose soldiers entered Haitian territory shortly after the president’s departure – held him responsible for the denouement of the internal situation and tacitly demanded his departure, it was the second time that Aristidese was forced to leave his small nation precisely in the year in which the bicentennial of the Haitian Revolution and the constitution of the Republic were commemorated.

Aristide never closed the doors to a conciliation, as demonstrated on February 21, when he accepted the action plan of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) presented by an international mediation mission, made up of representatives of the United States, Canada, France, the OAS and CARICOM. On the two occasions in which he was elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide represented the possibility of economic and social changes for the Haitian people, according to the political project of his Party. The Haitian civilian opposition, which was intransigent in speaking with the President and insisted on calling for his immediate resignation, accepted the arrival of the multinational force, which was replaced by a UN peacekeeping mission.

In January 2011, during the crisis generated by the cholera epidemic that preceded the great earthquake of 2010, the presidential elections took place in Haiti. They went to the second round, but were suspended indefinitely until the alleged irregularities committed during the elections were clarified.

The 2010 – 2011 elections unfolded amid allegations of fraud. At first the second round was suspended indefinitely, but pressure from the international community forced the Haitian government to accept holding a second round [1] The pressure from the international community was evidenced when, after a vote count, they suggested to displace from second place to ruling party candidate Jude Celestin, who had finished second in the first round, according to official counts, with 22% of valid votes, behind former senator Mirlande Manigat (31%) and ahead of singer Michel Martelly (twenty-one %). The official candidate decided to withdraw from the race on January 25 to facilitate the holding of the second round between Manigat and Martelly, and to try to get the country out of the political crisis [2] . The United States strongly lobbied the Haitian government for Jude Celestin to withdraw his candidacy. On January 21, the US government revoked the visas of an unknown number of Haitian government officials, a way of exerting pressure to achieve a free, fair and credible electoral process on the island, as expressed by the State Department. [3 ] .

In the midst of the electoral environment there is the surprise arrival of former dictator Jean Claude Duvalier, from France, who appears in Port-au-Prince and stays in a hotel under the protection of the UN forces. Accused by the local government of embezzlement and crimes against humanity, he is arrested, but shortly after he is released under a precautionary measure [4] .

Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide then expressed his desire to also return from his exile in South Africa, but the Haitian authorities denied the request. Aristide, who had expressed his desire to serve his country as a teacher, did not have a valid passport and was unable to leave South Africa. The Lavalás family, a political group that represents the interests of the former president, protested the decision of the Haitian government, after which, in their opinion, there was pressure from the United States government; and that it ignores the law, since the Haitian Constitution ignores exile [5] . In response, the Ministry of the Interior with the support of the Foreign Ministry issued a diplomatic passport that would allow entry to the country of former President Aristide, after the document was previously requested by the representatives of the exmandatario [6] . The possibility of the return of Aristide, who was popular in Haiti, caused the governments of France and the United States to react with disgust. In interference language, the US government established its position through the State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, who then stated that Aristide’s return would be:

“(…) an inconvenient distraction (…) The Haitian people must now concentrate on choosing the candidate they will support in the vote” [7]

On March 17 [8] Jean-Bertrand Aristide returns to the country after spending seven years in exile living in South Africa. Upon his arrival at the international airport in Port-au-Prince, he thanked the Haitian authorities and the countries and institutions that supported him, including Cuba. Also traveling in the former president’s entourage were his lawyer, Ira Kurzban, and activists such as actor Danny Glover and Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman.

On March 20, the second round of the presidential elections was held, which faced the candidates Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat [9] . These elections were won by Michel Martelly, [10] with 67.57% of votes in his favor, compared to 31.74% for former first lady Mirlande Manigat, an intellectual who came first in the first round of the elections..

Martelly took office on May 14, for the first time in the history of Haiti a democratically elected president succeeded another elected under equal conditions. At the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by former US President Bill Clinton, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, the president of the neighboring Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández and Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo among other personalities, Martelly promised to work for the sake of reconciliation of the Haitian people [11] .

Haiti Recent History

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