- Created: Thursday, 14 May 2009 21:10
- Written by Andrew Alexander
FRFI 178 April / May 2004
On 19 February 2004 the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forcibly removed from office in a coup instigated by the US and French governments. Aristide was forced to the Central African Republic were he spent several days without recourse to friends, family or lawyers before finally being able to move to Jamaica. His presence back in the Caribbean has angered the US and the Haitian interim government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue who claim his presence in the region could raise tension in Haiti. So far Aristide has turned down an offer of asylum from Nigeria though Jamaican officials unofficially claim he will go to South Africa which has indicated it would accept the former leader. Unrest, political killings, looting and violence are now widespread across Haiti. ANDREW ALEXANDER reports.
These latest events can come as little surprise. Haiti has suffered a history of for-eign-backed coups, imperialist plunder and meddling, despite being the first Caribbean country to have had a successful slave rebellion which overthrew the yoke of colonial oppression 200 years ago. Throughout the 19th century the fledgling republic struggled under a series of tyrannical and ineffectual leaders as the elite jockeyed for power. There were 22 heads of state between 1843 and 1915 when the US deployed soldiers and marines to protect US economic interests after it had created the professional military force, the Gard d’Haiti, to rule.