Haiti’s Aristide Week 12
The country with the reputation of “the world’s poorest country” is Haiti. Since the independence of the country, Haiti has been ruled by the Duvalier Family and the Duvalierists. The French-speaking elite rule in a system called the oligarchy. In this week’s readings, we have read about the struggles in the change of government from a dictatorship to a democracy. In Robert Fatton’s book, “Haiti’s Predatory Republic”, we focused on three chapters that dealt with the fall of Duvalier leading to the rule of Aristide and his efforts to establish more of an equal government. In Chapter three, of Fatton’s book he discusses the importance of the cultural differences in Haiti and how it contributes to the levels of power. He provides a powerful difference in the way their culture determines color. Fatton supports this in an example that if a black is rich then he is mulatto, but if a mulatto is poor, he is black. Fatton argues that the issue of color (mulatto and black) plays a significant role in politics but blacks didn’t overrule the mulatto. Mulatto bourgeoisie developed power in the private sector while the middle black class took over power in the public sector. This cultural difference that played an important role in politics was under the rule of Francois Duvalier. Francois died in 1971 and his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier took over. Robert Fatton makes the point that the fall of Duvalier starts when Jean-Claude takes over. Jean-Claude ignored his fathers’ policies and married a mulatto woman and had a goal to transform the country through the creation of an export-oriented economy (Fatton 57). As a result of the transformation, political change would have to occur as well. Fatton pointed out that exploitation in Haiti would increase the gap between the rulers and the ruled meaning the political class structure would change. The rulers will be the bourgeoisie and the ruled will be the working class with the rulers having more control over the political decisions. Fatton described that this will create an increasingly assertive civil society. While Duvalier pushed towards liberalization, he ran into a problem that went further than his limits set by the dictatorial coalition (Fatton 58). Fatton provides a powerful portrait of how Duvalier messed up with the liberalization of Haiti. Once the Haitians seen what opportunities they could have through elections and the media, they criticized Duvalier for his methods of ruling. In addition, the Duvalierists did not like the change of economy so they cplaneed and created a future without Duvalier. Fatton shows how once the working class were able to make a move in society, the Duvalierists were scared because they won’t be the dominant force anymore. This is the fall of Duvalier. Chapter 4 of the Fatton’s book brings the ruling of Jean-Bertrand Aristide into the picture. After the attack of the armed thugs on the Church, Aristide released his duties as a priest and declared his candidacy for president. Aristide ended up winning the election and wanted to put lavalas into place. Fatton argues that Aristide failed at keeping operation Lavalas in place. He shows this when Aristide had little patience and was opposed to giving power to others. We also see evidence of this in the article “Say No to Aristide” when Aristide approved riots on people and businesses who opposed his leadership. In that reading, Klehne portrayed a powerful portrait of how Aristide reacted to the leader of the coupe that opposed him. The Supreme Court sentenced the leader to 15 years in prison which was the maximum time but Aristide wanted life for him. Klehne shows that Aristide overruled the decision of the Supreme Court and gave the leader the life sentence. After Aristide made this decision, Fatton shows how the United States and their key allies decide that the military needed to return and Aristide’s Presidency had to be restored. Fatton begins the second coming of...
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