Peace Freedom Is the Foundation Term Paper

Pages: 22 (7104 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 16  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

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Borno ruled without the benefit of a legislature, which had been dissolved in 1917 under Dartiguenave, until elections were again permitted in 1930. The legislature, after several ballots, elected mulatto Stenio Vincent to the presidency.

The occupation of Haiti continued after World War I, despite the embarrassment that it caused Woodrow Wilson at the Paris peace conference in 1919, and the scrutiny of a congressional inquiry in 1922. By 1930, President Herbert Hoover had become concerned about the effects of the occupation, particularly after a December 1929 incident in Les Cayes in which marines killed at least ten Haitian peasants during a march to protest local economic conditions. Hoover appointed two commissions to study the situation. A former governor general of the Philippines, W. Cameron Forbes, headed the more prominent of the two. The Forbes Commission praised the material improvements that the United States administration had wrought, but it criticized the exclusion of Haitians from positions of real authority in the government and the constabulary, which had come to be known as the Garde d'Haiti. In more general terms, the commission further asserted that "the social forces that created [instability] still remain - poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly free government."

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For any number of reasons, some still rooted in the experience of French colonialism, which left the island with two radically different societies that literally didn't even speak the same language, Haiti has never been well governed and is ripe with mutual distrust. In the 20th century the United States made three major efforts to change the island's political and economic culture, each of which has failed and left resentment and bitterness in its wake.

Term Paper on Peace Freedom Is the Foundation Assignment

The Hoover administration did not implement fully the recommendations of the Forbes Commission, but United States withdrawal was under way by 1932, when Hoover lost the presidency to Roosevelt. On a visit to Cap Haitien in July 1934, Roosevelt reaffirmed an August 1933 disengagement agreement. The last contingent of marines departed in mid-August, after a formal transfer of authority to the Garde. As in other countries occupied by the United States in the early twentieth century, the local, U.S.-trained, military was often the only cohesive and effective institution left in the wake of withdrawal. This sowed the seeds for a sequence of military-backed dictatorships, all attached to American patronage, which would define the next 50 years of Haiti's history.

A black, medical doctor, Francois Duvalier was not allowed to establish his own practice due to racist customs in Haiti. After securing employment with an American medical project that was fighting widespread tuberculosis, Duvalier had the opportunity to see the poverty that existed in the countryside. This fueled his interest in politics, and despite the fact that the Haitian government was predominantly mulatto, Duvalier was able to gain a following and joined forces with powerful union leader Daniel Fignole. Together they formed the popular Mouvement Ouvriers Paysans (MOP) party, and continued to gain public support, waiting for their moment to seize power. Both men wanted to take the top job of President, therefore the party was split, and in 1957 Fignole became president of Haiti. His position lasted only 18 days, however, because Duvalier was able to overthrow him and began what was to become a 29-year dynasty.

Duvalier, also known as "Papa Doc," became president in 1957 and dictator in 1964. He was known for his army of sunglasses-clad volunteers, the Tonton Macoute. In 1967 proposals were made to construct a freeport on the Haitian island of Tortuga by a consortium formed in the United States by Don Pierson of Eastland, Texas. These plans reached maturity in 1971 when a 99-year contract was entered into by Francois Duvalier on behalf of the Haitian government. Although construction of infrastructure and a new international airport was commenced, two other events brought about the sudden demise of the whole venture. When Francois Duvalier suddenly died in 1971 his son Jean-Claude Duvalier ("Baby Doc") took over at the age of 19. In 1974 it became known that the freeport had entered into a multimillion-dollar contract with Gulf Oil corporation to advance development on the island. This news prompted "Baby Doc" to expropriate the venture for himself, which in turn caused its sudden collapse. When Jean-Claude Duvalier was deposed in 1986, the entire country remained in poverty, primarily due to a lack of international commercial development.

Over three decades of dictatorship were followed by military rule, which ended in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president. Aristide's inauguration on February 7, 1991, was a gala event, befitting its historic nature. As expected, the new president delivered a spellbinding inaugural address. In it, he renounced his $10,000 a month salary as a scandal in a country where people went hungry. Although the address was short on specifics of policy, its tone was one of gratitude and support for the poverty-afflicted constituency that had provided such a striking electoral mandate. The address was also conciliatory with regard to the military. Aristide described a "a marriage between the army and civilians," and hinted that the army would henceforth function as a public security force in order to lessen the threat emanating from right-wing forces such as those directed by Lafontant. Beyond his rhetorical outreach to the rank and file, Aristide moved quickly to shore up his rule in the face of possible opposition from within the officer corps of the Fad'H. Most of his term was usurped by a military coup d'etat, but he was able to return to office in 1994 and oversee the installation of a close associate to the presidency in 1996.

In May 2000, Haiti held legislative and local government elections. The Family Lavalas Party won over 50% of the vote, but a dispute arose about the method used to tabulate the percentages for the Senate elections. The OAS and the international community condemned the results for the Senate elections as fraudulent. The Haitian government refused to re-calculate the percentages. In response, most of the opposition parties refused to acknowledge the results or take part in second-round run-offs, and in the months leading up to the Presidential election at the end of the year, numerous negotiations failed to produce a settlement. As a result, most opposition groups boycotted the Presidential election. Aristide easily won, but because of the earlier dispute, the opposition parties never accepted his victory as legitimate.

Arisitide took office on February 7, 2001, but his presidency was mired in controversy, and his government was undermined by the political impasse and international reluctance to release foreign assistance. By 2003, the country was deeply divided between pro- and anti-Aristide camps. This finally led to an armed conflict which increased in intensity on February 5, 2004, 200 years after the Haitian Revolution, when an armed rebel group calling itself the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front took control of the Gonaives police station. This rebellion spread throughout the central Artibonite province by February 17th and was joined by opponents of the government who had been in exile in the Dominican Republic.

At 5:30 AM on February 29, 2004, President Aristide left Haiti on a white U.S. jet with an American flag on the tail wing. He alleges he was kidnapped from Haiti by a group of Haitians, 20 U.S. soldiers, and 19 American employees of a private American security company called the Steele Foundation. There were also wives and a one-year-old baby on board. The U.S. government, including Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and Colin Powell, have consistently maintained that Aristide left Haiti willingly, but in an interview that Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio conducted with Aristide's bodyguard, Franz Gabriel, the bodyguard contradicted the U.S. version of events, stating that he thought it was in fact a kidnapping. According to Gabriel, he and Aristide were mislead on the morning of Sunday, the twenty-ninth by Luis Moreno, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince into believing that they were going to a press conference at the U.S. embassy. Instead the convoy turned into the airport rather than continuing onto the embassy. Once at the airport he said they witnessed the white jet land, and amidst a group of battle-ready U.S. soldiers they were whisked onto the plane. At no time, according to Gabriel, were they told the destination of their flight. Gabriel also recalled that the soldiers quickly changed into civilian clothes once on board the plane, and during the flight neither Aristide nor Gabriel consulted with or spoken to about what was happening. After making an unannounced stop in Antigua the plane landed in the Central African Republic (CAR), seemingly a strange choice given the diplomatic and political isolation of CAR. Pursuant to Haiti's constitution, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Boniface Alexandre, took over as interim president.

Using the pretext that Aristide had freely left his own country, a delegation of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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