Revisiting the Haitian Coup 10 Years Later | Larry Rousseau

Supporters of former Haitian President Aristide wait outside his house in Port-au-PrinceAristide became Haiti’s first democratically elected president in 1990 and, following a period out of power, was elected to the presidency a second time in December 2000. While Haiti’s transition to democracy was hailed by many, including the majority of poor Haitians who suffered under the previous rule by dictatorial elites, Aristide posed a particular challenge for western powers: his policy platform was unapologetically geared towards rectifying the economic and political inequality that defined the country — he got rid of the military, sharply boosted the minimum wage, and demanded that the former colonial power, France, pay reparations in the billions of dollars, among many other initiatives that angered local elites and western powers, and irked foreign businesses that depended (and still depend) on Haitian sweatshops.

It was only a question of time, then, before western powers could construct an opportunity to undermine Aristide and get rid of him. Enter the May 2000 legislative elections, which suffered a relatively minor irregularity with a portion of the senatorial race (worth comparing to Canada’s recent elections scandals, certainly), but was otherwise described by the official OAS Electoral Observation Mission as a “great success” and a “high point in the electoral process.” via | Larry Rousseau


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