In the Spirit of Papa Doc

“Haiti’s Duvalier faces trial” Source:

In the Spirit of Papa Doc

Darius Spearman (African Elements)
October 6, 2014

    • Introduction.
    • Historical Overview — Building Up to the Crisis.
    • The 1915 US Invasion of Haiti and the Duvalliers.
    • Aristide’s Victory in Haiti’s First Free Elections.
    • Cedras, FRAPH, and the CIA..
    • The Intervention – Why?.
    • Conclusion.
    • Appendix A: Maps and Statistics.
    • Appendix B: “How Eight Hundred of Her Freedmen Fought for America”.
    • Appendix C: Condensed Historical Chronology of Haiti


It was probably my passion for African America history that led me to choose Haiti as the topic for my term paper. Although Haiti is within the region termed “Latin America”, a study of Haiti would by necessity entail a study of African American History. This is true because the country Haiti is inexorably linked to the Black experience in the Americas. Moreover, analysis of Haiti entails a study of African history, for in no other region of the New World is the west African presence in culture, religion, and ethnicity more prevalent than in the country of Haiti. As the second oldest republic in the western hemisphere, and the first black republic, Haiti’s impact on the history of the United States is no less profound. One can easily make the connection between Haiti’s independence in 1803 (the result of a successful slave insurrection), and the US decision to abolish the slave trade in 1807. A further connection lies within the southern response in adopting the harsh slave codes, and the northern response to simply abolish slavery as a result of the constant fear of slave uprisings. The former represented a society with a high economic stake in the institution of slavery, and was patterned after the Code Noir and Las Siete Partidas in the French and Spanish colonies respectively. The later was a simplistic response of an outsider. After the War of 1812 the conflicting ideologies between north and south made for an extremely tense environment that steadily intensified up to the Civil War in 1865. My initial topic for this paper was the relationship between the Haitian Revolution and the Civil War. As I embarked on this project, however, my research began to reveal more and more concerning recent US policy toward Haiti, and certain questions arose. Intrigued by these questions, I began to dig deeper for the answers – leading to more questions.

In 1990 Father Jean Bertrand Aristide won the presidential elections by a landslide (upwards of 80% of the popular vote), and became Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He was ousted by Military General Raul Cedras in September 1991 and did not return until a US-led force, under the code name, “Operation: Restore Democracy,” expelled the junta three years later. Why, amidst the reverberating outcry from the world community against the horrible atrocities committed by the military dictator and his henchmen, did the United States wait three years to bring Aristide back to power and “restore democracy”? Why, if the US was going to wait three years, did Washington react at all? How does the US intervention fit into the backdrop of established patterns of US/Haitian relations? What are the implications? These are the questions that I finally arrived at which ultimately became the subject of my paper.

Historical Overview — Building Up to the Crisis

Sparked by the vicious and brutal policies of the Code Noir or “Black Codes” the Haitian Revolution began in August 1791as a slave uprising in the French colony of Saint Dominigue (later to be know as Haiti). Although independence was won, the revolution came at a great cost to the Haitian people. Much agricultural wealth of the country was destroyed, as much as 1/3 of its population was dead, and it was eventually forced to accept substantial reparations from France in order to enter global market in 1825 (US still did not recognize Haiti’s independence until 1862).[1] Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution was captured and sent to prison. Still, winning their independence has always been a source of great pride amongst the Haitian people; a pride which has taken the form of a pedestal upon which their most celebrated hero, Toussaint L’Overture stands majestically. Medical anthropologist Paul Farmer observes that Haitian schoolchildren to this day know by heart his final words as he was led to prison: “In overthrowing me, you have cut down in Saint-Domingue only the tree of liberty. It will spring up again by the roots for they are numerous and deep”[2]

The impact of the revolution upon the United States was far-reaching as implied by W.E.B Dubois:

“He rose to leadership through a bloody terror, which contrived a Negro ‘problem’ for the Western Hemisphere, intensified and defined the anti-slavery movement, became one of the causes, and probably the prime one, which led Napoleon to sell Louisiana for a song, and finally, through the interworking of all these effects, rendered more certain the final prohibition of the slave-trade by the United States in 1807”[3]

Considering that the great majority of the slaves that entered the US did not come directly from Africa, but came via the Caribbean – according to John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom of the more than ninety thousand Negroes imported into the British West Indies between 1784 and 1787, nearly twenty thousand were re-exported – one can easily appreciate the concerns held by the US public over the Haitian Revolution. Further the impetus for Thomas Jefferson’s anti-immigration policies toward Haiti which barred Haitians from setting foot on US soil becomes clear.

The 1915 US Invasion of Haiti and the Duvalliers

Chronic political instability has plagued the republic of Haiti throughout its 191 year history, and crested between 1910 and 1920. These disturbances “coincided with the initial establishment of United States financial interest in the island republic.”[4]   Specific US holdings in Haiti include; Banque Nationale, the American-owned National Railroad Company, as well as various agricultural investments such as rice and sugar. As a result, there was increasing concern in Washington over the political stability of Haiti. Of particular concern to then President Woodrow Wilson was the increasing interest of European investors in Latin America, and specifically Haiti. As Germany expressed its interest in extending investments in Haiti, and European creditors, becoming impatient with the lack of fiscal controls, threatened invasion, Wilson warned that the impending incursion of European financiers and contractors in Latin America in general and Haiti in particular “might lead to measures which would imperil the political independence or, at least the political autonomy of the American states involved.”[5]

Revolution broke out in 1915 as a French cruiser landed at Cap Haitian with a small force in order to protect its consulate. After ordering the execution of 167 political prisoners, Haitian President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam sought refuge with the French. The next day a mob dragged him out of the French consulate and killed him. As all semblance of order vanished, President Wilson gave orders to take over the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. During nearly twenty years of US presence in Haiti (1915-1935) several thousand rebel Haitians were killed by US marines.

The flagrant violations on the part of the United States of Haiti’s sovereign rights began to induce a public anti-US outcry both at home and abroad. One letter to the editor of the New York Times published in the July 6, 1921 edition read:

The Haytian people know that the great American nation, burning for liberty and justice, having the highest traditions of political ideals and human solidarity, the champion of the defenseless peoples of the world, is always working for the happiness of mankind . . . the Haytian people remain convinced that they can to-day expect from the spirit of justice and humanity of the American people and their present government a more attentive consideration of Hayti’s freedom, rights, and interests.

– Signed by Stenio Vincent, NY July 4, 1921.[6]

It soon became clear that an actual military occupation may not be the best approach to support US interest in Latin America and Haiti as it drew criticism, it was costly, and was often ineffective in correcting the basic problems of political stability. The US solution was to instead leave the country in the hands of the National Guard supported by Washington. Under the US threat of military rule, the Haitian government finally signed a treaty on August 7, 1933 which would, among other things, created a Haitian police force commanded by American officers, and authorized the United States to take whatever actions it deemed necessary to preserve Haitian “independence”. Under the Agreement the Haitian Garde (the police force) was to be turned over the Haitians by October 1, 1934, and the Marines would withdraw within thirty days of that date.

The US occupation of Haiti paved the way for US multinationals to tap Haiti’s agricultural and human resources. In 1926, a New York business daily described Haiti as “a marvelous opportunity for American investment . . . The run-of-the-mill Haitian is handy, easily directed, and gives a hard day’s labor for 20 cents, while in Panama, the same day’s work costs $3.”[7] The US now only needed a Haitian government backed by a strong military which supported those interests and would quell any forces which might constitute a threat from within Haiti. To meet this end, the US marines in Haiti set up a military school whose cadets ultimately took part in the removal of the Haitian President, Elie Lescot in 1946, and ultimately placed their own candidate Paul Magloire into the office of the presidency. The end result was the presidency of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier (he was a medical doctor) on October 22, 1957 imposed by the dominant factions of the Haitian military after Magloire left office in 1956.[8]

In Duvalier, the United States could be assured of a stable, if not prosperous, Haiti, as he constituted a system of absolute rule using the powers of a thoroughly centralized state. The Executive branch dominated all activities of the state, from military training to the contents of national exams, and marginalized all institutions of the already weak civil society including; extended families, schools, neighborhoods, clergy, press, and trade unions. After the establishment of the Tontons Macoutes, formed out of Papa Doc’s discharge of the senior offers of the military, and reliance on their successors to create the most centralized power Haiti had ever seen, Papa Doc closed the military school. Any and all opposition to his rule was brutally and immediately crushed while “in sheer Mussolinian fashion, the Duvalierist state aimed to become ‘total’; its means became totalitarian.”[9]

When Papa Doc died in 1971, his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude Duvalier “Baby Doc”, became president for life. During the reign of the Duvaliers, their private military force, the Tontons Macoutes killed nearly 100,000 Haitian citizens.   With the absence of US presence in the form of the US Marine Corps, the United States was able to effectively turn a blind eye to the gross human rights abuses committed by the Duvaliers. Harkening back to the Haitian Revolution, the US immigration policy also aimed at shutting out Haitian refugees for fear that their presence would arouse dissent and disrupt the status quo. Through the 1970s, thousands of Haitian boat people fled Haiti “by dinghy, by makeshift craft, by stowaway and by stealth”, and virtually all were sent back to face “clumsy attempts at torture and sudden death.”[10] A total of 28 claims of political asylum were approved during the inauguration of Papa Doc in 1957 and Aristide’s election to the presidency in 1990. Throughout their dynasty, the Duvaliers could, however, rely on the timely assistance of the US military during the 1959 uprising (see appendix C), as well as generous US aid.   When it became apparent in 1986 that Baby Doc could not in fact sustain his presidency for life (unless he died very soon), the Reagan administration air-lifted him to a retirement villa in France.

Aristide’s Victory in Haiti’s First Free Elections

When the long overdue elections were finally held in 1990, the people of Haiti stunned the US by rejecting its preferred candidate in favor of the left-wing Catholic priest Jean Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was hated by the American Embassy because he blamed the United States economic system for much of Haiti’s economic hardships. In her August 24, 1995 article, “Haiti -US Dodges Democracy” Peg J. Clancy argued that current US policies were intent on “ensuring that there will be no more ‘Cubas’ in the Caribbean.” According to her article posted on PeaceNet’s “reg.carib” conference via IGC (Institute for Global Communications) those policies include; removal of all tariffs on export agricultural produce, forcing farms to compete with other IMF-controlled cheap labor nations; and privatizing of all government instrumentalities. Condemning the very wealthy few in his sermons as having committed a criminal offense against their fellow Haitians by taking part in the corrupt system by which they attained their wealth, Aristide also created an enemy in the Haitian aristocracy.

In December, 1990, when Father Aristide was running for the presidency, former president Jimmy Carter, who was in Haiti as an election observer, tried to persuade the priest to step aside. Mr. Carter sent aides to tell Father Aristide’s advisors that their candidate had no chance of winning and should, for the good of the country, concede the election before it began.   In his book, Through the Media Looking Glass, (Common Courage Press), Cohen and Norman Solomon note that, in 1990, Carter “labored to undercut Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the final days of the presidential race. According to a top Aristide aid, Carter predicted that Aristide would lose, and urged him to concede defeat.” The Aristide camp, knowing Haiti far better than Carter refused. It was as clear then as it is today where the sentiments of the Haitian majority lie. Aristide and his supporters, who won the election with upwards of 80% of the popular vote, had no need to drop out of elections or to stuff ballot boxes.

Following the disputed June 25 parliamentary and local elections in Haiti, the Atlanta-based Carter Center led by the former US president expressed criticisms of Haiti’s electoral process. Aristide’s many opponents in the US Congress were encouraged by the Carter Center’s report accusing Haitian elections authorities of widespread fraud. “Of the 13 elections that I have observed, the June 25 Haitian elections were the most disastrous technically, with the most insecure count,” said Robert Pastor, a former senior US State Department official and the author of the report. “I personally witnessed the tainting of about one-third of all ballots in Port-au-Prince,”[11] the Haitian capital, Pastor claimed. As a result, the Carter Center argued that President Bill Clinton should oppose plans in Haiti to set up reruns of elections in places where technical snags occurred. Instead, Pastor said, Washington should order Aristide to revamp the current Provisional Electoral Commission (PEC) in charge of setting up the voting and then call for an entirely new election.

Some analysts of Haiti’s recent history dispute the idea that the Carter Center’s analysis should carry much weight. “I don’t have much faith in the Carter Center, especially with regard to Haiti,” said Jeff Cohen, executive director of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a New York- based media watchdog.[12] Jocelyn McCalla, executive director of the National Council for Haitian Refugees (NCHR) argued that, with the current US Congress already opposed to Aristide, the Center’s criticisms will influence the fight to cut US aid to Haiti.

Cedras, FRAPH, and the CIA

In the historic elections, Aristide was elected president by a sweeping majority, but after only eight months in office, he was deposed by Military General Raoul Cedras in a coup-d’etat which ushered in the rebirth of Duvalierism. With the scanty press attention (before or after the takeover) the coup received in the media, the circumstances surrounding the obscure background of the Military general remained shady. In Haiti, the same phenomena in the media that is typical of its coverage of events on the African continent can be found. It is consistently the case that unless something phenomenal happens – a government overthrow, a political assassination or a famine, no attention is paid to it. The recent media coverage of the events Nigeria is a perfect example of this. I rember reading a New York Times article entittled; “Execution of Nigerian Activist Evokes Public Outcry.” That for years there has been public outcry over the practices of companies such as Shell Oil Company who flee to these third world countries in order to escape strict environmental protection laws suggests that perhaps the title should have read: “Public Outcry Incites Execution of Nigerian Activists.”

Toward uncovering the circumstances behind the military overthrow of Aristide and the role of the CIA, the deportation hearings for Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, the alleged attach‚ for the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) proved most revealing.   One of several Haitians forbidden from entering the United States Constant was caught staying in the country illegally by immigration officials May 10, 1995. While Constant tried to avoid deportation, lawyers for Aristide loyalists hoped to question the one-time rightist leader about crimes committed during Haiti’s military regime. A warrant for Constant’s arrest is pending in Haiti, where he faces charges of assassination, rape, kidnapping and torture.[13] Many analysts believe the CIA may have helped him escape from Haiti to the United States last December. The Haitian government has filed for Constant’s extradition to Haiti.   Constant’s return to Haiti is widely viewed by the Haitian people as a fundamental step towards accountability and justice. The first disclosure of Constant’s ties was published last October in The Nation magazine. Allan Nairn, a respected investigative reporter, named Col. Patrick Collins, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) attach‚ in Haiti until 1992, as Constant’s first handler. Collins was alleged by Constant to have first suggested the formation of an anti-Aristide ”front” to do ”intelligence” work against pro-Aristide forces.[14] So began the military-linked ‘attaches’ who became FRAPH which is alleged to have been responsible for 4,000 killings and tens of thousands of other human rights abuses committed during Gen. Raoul Cedras’s 1991-94 military junta. According to the Haitian Information Bureau, FRAPH burned over 500 houses and killed 70 people in Cite Soleil on the night of December 27, 1993.

Constant has several appeals to exhaust before the Immigration and Naturalization

Service (INS) can deport him. In the meantime, lawyers can proceed to question him about many of the 4,000 killings and tens of thousands of other alleged abuses committed during Gen. Raoul Cedras’s 1991-94 military junta. Constant is known to have been on the CIA payroll from 1991 until last year, when he was removed from his status as a CIA informant. Constant himself has claimed that the DIA first recruited him as a paid agent in 1991 — shortly after Aristide’s ouster in a military coup – and then encouraged him during the summer of 1993 to form FRAPH as a ”balance (to) the Aristide movement.”[15] Constant is also suspected of involvement in many of the roughly 4,000 political murders between Aristide’s September 1991 ouster by Cedras and his return to power, backed by a US- led force.

Justice remains the chief demand of the Haitian people and its slow implementation has been the cause of much frustration. Numerous measures are being taken in hopes of transforming the inherited corrupt system, traditionally used as an instrument of repression and terror, into a functioning judicial system.   In one case, one of several alleged authors of the assassination of industrialist Antoine Izmery, the “attach‚” Gerard Gustave, alias Zimbabwe, was recently tried and convicted on charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy and assassination. On August 25, 1995 he was sentenced to life in prison. Among several other people named responsible for the murder of Izmery is alleged FRAPH “attach‚” Gros Fanfan. Businessman and democratic activist Antoine Izmery was murdered by a military government death squad in front of the Red Heart Church on September 11, 1993. The tragedy occurred during a mass commemorating the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Saint Jean Bosco Church, in which a group of men with machetes, sticks and guns murdered at least 12 people and wounded 80, in an attempt to assassinate Father Aristide, while soldiers stood by and watched. Meanwhile the National Truth and Justice Commission continues to receive testimony on the thousands of killings and other human rights violations committed during the coup regime years, and prosecutors are slowly moving forward in courts around the country.[16] At least 4,000 murders committed during the coup regime remain to be investigated.   As per the compromise negotiated by Jimmy Carter for the return of Aristide, the Haitian government gave amnesty to the coup leaders for usurpation of power, but not for charges of human rights violations during their regime.

 The Intervention – Why?

It can be safely said that the United States was never particularly overjoyed over Aristide’s election to the presidency is evidenced by the fact that it took 3 years to take definitive action to restore Aristide to power. But why intervene at all? Keeping with its tradition, Washington again stepped up immigration controls intercepting the fleeing Haitians at sea and detaining them at the naval base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay without even having set foot on US soil. This being the case Washington presumed that there would be little public outcry as, for the time being, there was no one present to give a testimonial of the goings on in Haiti. That on September 14 the human rights organization, Witness for Peace received word that the US Consulate in Port-au-Prince had denied the visa applications of two Haitians; Ms. Yvette Michaud, Grassroots Trainer for the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP), a leading peasant organization; and Mr. Filfrant Saint-Nare also a trainer and leader in MPP suggests that Washington had something to hide. The two were invited by Witness for Peace to the United States for an extensive speaking tour scheduled to begin in early October.[17]

What began to change this trend was the case of Alerte Belance, who somehow managed to escape and gain asylum in the United States. New York attorney Michael Ratner sued Constant and FRAPH in US courts for alleged human rights atrocities and sought punitive damages against FRAPH for its alleged assault in October 1993 on Aristide supporter Alerte Belance, who now lives in the United States. ” FRAPH’s brutal attack on (Belance) left her abandoned for dead, with her right arm severed, her tongue cut nearly in two, and deep gashes in her head, mouth and neck,” Ratner’s suit, filed in New York, claims.[18]

With the word out, some elements of the US press began to follow the story, and it was at this time that the public outcry began to such an extent that the government was forced to respond. In one instance an Oakland community leader went on a hunger strike in protest of the US/Haitian policy, snowballing the media attention. The strongest advocacy of US action in Haiti was found in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The CBC introduced a series of legislative bills aimed at ending the suffering of the Haitian people. These bills included: Moseley-Braun (S. Res. 89), which expressed the sense of the Senate that the highest priority of US policy toward Haiti should be to restore democratic government; Meek (H.R. 986) a bill that authorizes the adjustment of status to permanent resident of certain Haitians; and Rangel (H.R.1942) a bill providing the Agency for International Development with development assistance for grants under which Haitian Americans would help the people of Haiti recover from the destruction caused by the military coup of December 1991.[19] After the marines took action in Haiti, Congressmen Major Ownes (D-NY), Chairman of the CBC Taskforce on Haiti, along with members of the CBC expressed the highest support for the executive decision to intervene in a statement issued in Washington DC on September 29, 1994:

The process of restoring democracy in Haiti is now irrevocable. The clock can not be turned back. More than fourteen thousand troops are now on the ground in Haiti. At a Pentagon ceremony last week, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide stated that he would return to Haiti within 24 days. Many of the long sought objectives of the Congressional Black Caucus have now been achieved. The CBC is grateful to President Clinton for his courage and perseverance in the pursuit of a Haitian policy consistent with the highest ideals of this nation and the basic principles of  the United Nations. This was on of the nation’s and President Clinton’s finest hours.

The CBC applauds President Clinton’s successful hour peace initiative which avoided unnecessary bloodshed in Haiti. The President’s enlistment of former President Jimmy Carter, General Colin Powell and Senator Sam Nunn produced results which allowed the military bandits in Haiti to be stripped of their murderous powers without the firing of a single shot. Instead of an “invasion” we achieved a peaceful liberation of the people of Haiti.

Welcoming voices are greeting American sliders in Haiti. The overwhelming majority of the population still supports President Aristide, and the people are looking forward to his return. The CBC wishes to congratulate the President for his steadfast leadership from exile.

The aristocracy’s purported attack on Members of the Congressional Black

Caucus will not intimidate this body from maintaining its principled position.

In the days ahead, there is still much to be done in order to achieve the objective of the full restoration of democracy in Haiti. Now is the time for all of the nations of the world to step forward and fulfill their promises to assist in the rebuilding of a fragile but proud country. We firmly believe that the Haitian people are the greatest asset of the country, and that they will overcome all obstacles to guide a rebirth of their nation.”

The CBC fully supports the House Resolution offered by Congressman Hastings (H. Res 540) which “calls upon the President of the Unites States to return to the United States at the earliest practicable date all the United States Armed Forces (except those forces participating in the long term peace keeping activities with the United Nations).”[20]


It will be interesting to see if the recent experience; the brutality, death and devastation in Haiti will have the affect of finally inducing Washington to accept a democratically elected leader in Haiti. Recent events indicate that the US intent is still to control Haiti by keeping the country in an economically prostrate state so that it can be more easily manipulated. On his recent visit to Haiti, Vice President Al Gore reaffirmed the US position on Haiti’s sovereignty. His address in Haiti on October 15, 1995 makes clear that 1) The US was never eager to see Aristide return to power; and 2) The US has a vested interest in undermining Haiti’s economic well-being, as evidenced by the US insistence that Haiti conform the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank-designed Structural Adjustment Program (SAP).

Under the Haitian constitution, Aristide cannot run for a second term in office, but there was some question as to whether he would be able to extend his presidency in order to make up for the time he spent in exile. Under the Carter compromise which brought Aristide back to power, it was agreed that he would hold elections at the end of his five year term on schedule, which would be in December of this year. As December approached, Washington seemingly held an unoptimistic appraisal of the progress of the electoral process when Gore issued an address to the Haitian people which, in essence said, “no SAP and no presidential elections — no aid.” At stake is most of the US $1.2 billion of grants and loans promised by the US and multilateral banks. Haiti’s 1995 budget counts on that money for half of its income.[21] Throughout the month of October, street demonstrations have erupted against the IMF and the World Bank, and most of Haiti’s political parties have denounced any intensification of SAP’s sweeping monetary reforms, including the privatization of nine state-run industries. “We note several important transitions which are rapidly approaching,” Gore said, reminding journalists of “Aristide’s commitment” to the reforms “put forward… in Paris” and, in saying that he hinted to Aristide “the steps the government of Haiti and its people need to take in order to ensure the continued flow of these funds.”[22]

It is estimated that at present around 70 – 85% of the Haitian population survive on a day-to-day existence.[23] In light of the 85% illiteracy, and 95% unemployment rates which blight the populace of Haiti, privatization certainly does not seem to offer any feasible benefit to the majority of the Haitian population who have no economic resources to benefit from it, and “with multi-nationals fleeing abroad for higher profit margins,”[24] it is not difficult to see whose interest these monetary reforms serve. Aristide responded to Gore’s statement by saying that Haiti “is a free country; it is an adult.”[25] In light of the traditions of US involvement in Haiti which I have discussed, there is little to contradict Mark Zepezauer’s analysis of the upcoming elections that “the chances of a government coming to power that meets the needs of the Haitian people are slim to none.”[26]

Appendix A:  Statistics

    • Location: Caribbean, in the northern Caribbean Sea, about 90 km southeast of Cuba, 600 miles SE of Miami, FL.
    • Climate: Tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
    • Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous
    • Natural resources: Bauxite
    • Land use: Arable land 20%; permanent crops 13%; meadows and pastures 18%; forest and woodland 4%; other 45%; Irrigated land: 750 sq km (1989 est.)
    • Environment: Current issues – deforestation; soil erosion; natural hazards – lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes.
    • Population: 6,491,450 (July 1994 est.)
    • Population growth rate: 1.63% (1994 est.)
    • Birth rate: 39.72 births/1,000 population (1994 est.)
    • Death rate: 18.78 deaths/1,000 population (1994 est.)
    • Infant mortality rate: 108.5 deaths/1,000 live births (1994 est.)
    • Life expectancy at birth: Total population 45.11 years; male 43.45 years female 46.85 years (1994 est.)
    • Ethnic divisions: Black 95%, mulatto and European 5%
    • Religions: Roman Catholic 80% (of which an overwhelming majority also practice Voodoo), Protestant 16% (Practical experience indicates this may be closer to 40%) (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982)
    • Languages: French 10%, Creole-universal
    • Literacy: Age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.) total population 53%: male 59%; female 47%.
    • Labor force: 2.3 million – by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 25%, industry 9% shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant
    • National product: GDP – purchasing power equivalent – $5.2 billion (1993 est.)
    • Per Capita Income: Est. $300/year. Declines each year in real purchasing power.
    • Industries: Sugar refining, textiles, flour milling, cement manufacturing, tourism, light assembly industries based on imported parts.
    • Agriculture: Accounts for 28% of GDP and employs around 70% of work force; mostly small-scale subsistence farms; commercial crops – coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, wood; staple crops – rice, corn, sorghum; shortage of wheat flour[27]

Appendix B: “How Eight Hundred of Her Freedmen Fought for America”

To the Editor of the Tribune.

Sir: The generous Haytian contribution to the cause of the independence of the United States is scarcely known in this country, for the American historians do not mention the fact.

In 1779, 24 yrs before Haytian independence, responding to the call of the Comte d’Estang, the “Affranchis,” that is to say the Haytain freedmen numbering about 800 blacks and mulattoes, left their families and their homes and went to fight side by side with the soldiers of George Washington. At the siege of Savannah, the colored sons of Hayti fearlessly shed their blood for the independence of the United States.

In an official record prepared in Paris, secured by Richard Rush, the American Minister to Paris in 1849, and preserved in the Pennsylvania Historical Society, are these words: “This legion saved the army at Savannah by bravely covering its retreat. Among the blacks who rendered signal services at that time were: Andre, Beauvais, Rigaud, Villatte, Beauregard, Lambert, who latterly became generals under the convention, including Henri Christophe, the future King of Hayti.”

The Haytian legion in the army of Comte d’Estang was known in the army as Fontages’s legion, commanded by Vicomte de Fontages. They met the fierce charge of Lieutenant Colonel Maitland and saved the retreating Franc-American army from total disaster.

The Haytian people know that the great American nation, burning for liberty and justice, having the highest traditions of political ideals and human solidarity, the champion of the defenseless peoples of the world, is always working for the happiness of mankind.

Having aided the united colonies of N. Amer. in 1779 to achieve their independence, the Haytian people remain convinced that they can to-day expect from the spirit of justice and humanity of the American people and their present government a more attentive consideration of Hayti’s freedom, rights, and interests.

Signed by Stenio Vincent, NY July 4, 1921.

This was published during the US occupation of Haiti, specifically while a Haitian Memorial (commission of Haitians) was in the US, under NAACP sponsorship, to provide testimony to the US Senate Select Committee investigating the US occupation.[28]

Appendix C: Condensed Historical Chronology of Haiti

    • 1492 Dec. 5. Columbus lands at Mole St. Nicholas.
    • Dec. 24. Santa Maria sank off coast of Cap Haitien.
    • Dec. Columbus settled La Navidad with refuse from Santa Maria.
    • 1493 Jan. 14. First armed conflict with Ciguayos.
    • 1505 Sugar is introduced to Hispaniola from the Canary Islands.
    • 1510 First slaves brought to Hispaniola by the Portuguese mostly from W. Africa (representing such tribal groups as the Ibos, Senegalese, Bambaras, Aradas, Congolese, and Dambas).
    • 1508 Spain send first official cargo of African slaves to New World.
    • 1586 Sir Francis Drake captured Santo Domingo and held it for a month.
    • 1629 First French settlers on Isle de la Tortue and along northern coast around Port de Paix; refugees from St. Christophe
    • 1659 France gains control of Tortuga Island, off the mainland of the western part of Hispaniola
    • 1670 Louis XIV authorizes the French slave trade in Saint-Domingue.
    • 1685 Publication of the CODE NOIR.
    • 1697 Sept. 20. Treaty of Ryswick. Spain recognizes France’s claim to Western St. Domingue.
    • 1705 (About) Sugar cultivation on massive scale begins in colony, changing its economic role in the French empire profoundly
    • 1749 Port-au-Prince founded.
    • 1757 Macandal leads insurrection against the French
    • 1758 Macandal captured and executed at Cap Francois
    • 1765 (??) Treaty ending the Seven Years’ War. France gives up Canada to
    • England but keeps Haiti
    • 1760s coffee production becomes economically important.
    • 1790 Oct. Oge and Chavannes take up arms against French in North.
    • 1791 May 15. French National Assembly declares all free-born men of color eligible to be seated.
    • Aug. 14. Ceremony of Bois-Cayman.
    • Aug. 22. Revolt of slaves.
    • Sept. 11. Whites and mulattos signed a concordat to give mulattos full citizenship.
    • September 24. The National Assembly rescinds the May 15 decree.
    • 1792 April 4. Famous final decree of French Assembly giving all free blacks full citizenship.
    • 1793 Aug. 29. June 4. P-a-P fell to revolution.
    • 1795 July 22. Spain and France signed a treaty giving France the Spanish part of the island.
    • 1796 March-April Toussaint marches into O Cap
    • 1798 March 27. General Hedouville landed. Wanted to divide Rigaud and Toussaint.
    • Aug. 31   British troops evacuate Mole.
    • Oct. 23   Toussaint enters Cap in triumph. Hedouville sailed for France.
    • 1799 May 22. L’Ouverture signs a tripartite treaty w/ US and Britain
    • June 13. Toussaint signed a treaty with Britain, including secret provisions.
    • 1801 Jan. 26. Toussaint invades Santo Domingo. Declares slavery abolished.
    • July 1. New constitution promulgated. Toussaint declared governor general for life. St. Dominigue was to be an independent French state.
    • 1802 March 24. French win at Crete-a-Pierrot.
    • March. Leclerc re-introduces slavery.
    • June 7. Toussaint betrayed and sent to France.
    • June. Yellow fever strikes French. Renewed hostilities.
    • Nov. 1. Leclerc died. General Rochambeau took over.
    • 1803 April 7: Toussaint dies in captivity in France.
    • May 18. At Arcahaie; Haitian flag is born.
    • Nov. 18. Haitian victory at Vertieres.
    • Nov. 19. Rochambeau surrendered.
    • Nov. 29. French left Haiti.
    • 1804 Jan. 1 Haitian independence declared by Dessalines at Gonaives
    • Jan.-March Massacre of the French.
    • Oct. 8. Dessalines crowned Emperor Jacques I of Haiti.
    • May 20. Dessalines ratifies Haiti’s first constitution.
    • 1806 Oct. 17. Revolt against Dessalines. Emperor betrayed and killed at Pont-Rouge. Dec. Haiti declared a republic.
    • 1807 Feb. 17. Christophe proclaimed president of newly created State of Haiti in North.
    • Feb. 17. Christophe’s constitution.
    • March 11. Petion elected president of republic of Haiti.
    • 1811 June 2. Christophe crowned King Henry I of Haiti.
    • 1814 June. King Henry XVIII plans for a re-occupation of Haiti and re-enslavement of people.
    • Sept. French diplomat, Lavayasse, tried to get Christophe and Petion to recognize France. Neither will do so.
    • 1815 Upon the return of Bonapart to France, Haiti again rejects union
    • 1816 June 2. Petion declared president for life.
    • Summer. Louis XVIII again tried to get colonial status for Haiti.
    • 1818 March 29. Death of Petion.
    • March 30. Boyer elected president for life.
    • 1820 Oct. 8. Christophe takes his own life.
    • 1825 April 17. Haitian independence recognized by France.
    • 1826 Haitian Code Rural adopted.
    • 1838 June 9. Treaty in which France recognizes Haiti’s final and complete independence.
    • 1845 April 16. Council of State elects Pierrot president, following death of Guerrier.
    • 1846 March 1. Pierrot deposed. Riche declared president.
    • 1847 March 1. Soulouque elected president following death of Riche on Feb. 27.
    • 1848 April 16. Soulouque massacres in Port-au-Prince.
    • 1849 March. Soulouque invades Santo Domingo.
    • Aug. 20. Soulouque proclaimed Emperor Faustin I.
    • 1859 Jan. 15. Soulouque abdicates.
    • Jan. 18. Geffrard takes oath of office as president.
    • 1862 June 5. United States recognizes Haiti.
    • 1863 May. Salnave insurrection.
    • 1864 Nov. US recognizes Haiti with a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation
    • 1867 June 14. Salnave sworn in a president of Haiti.
    • 1869 Guerre de Salnave or Guerre des Cacos. Palace blown up. Salnave flees.
    • 1870 Jan. 15. Salnave tried, condemned and executed.
    • March 20. Nissage-Saget elected president.
    • 1872 Feb. 9 National Palace burns to ground.
    • June 11. Germans seize Haitian navy in Port-au-Prince harbor.
    • 1874 June 12. Domingue succeeds Nissage-Saget.
    • 1876 April 15. Domingue deposed
    • July 17. Boisrond-Canal elected president.
    • 1879 July 17. Boisrond-Canal steps down.
    • 1883 March 23. Boyer-Bazelais and followers land and seize Mirogoane.
    • 1884 Jan. 8. Mirogoane falls to government troops.
    • 1888 Aug. 10. Salomon steps down; sails for France.
    • Dec. 16. Legitime declared president.
    • 1889 Oct. 17. Hippolyte sworn in as president after victory over Legitime.
    • 1896 March 31. Simon Sam elected president following death of Hippolyte, March 24.
    • 1902 May 12. Simon Sam abdicates. Mob uprising in Port-au-Prince.
    • July 26 Firmin civil war erupts.
    • Sept. 6. Sinking of the Crete-a-Pierrot by German gunboat Panther at Gonaives.
    • Dec. 17. Nord Alexis acclaimed president.
    • 1908 Dec. 20. Downfall of Nord Alexis. Antoine Simon elected president.
    • 1911 Aug. 14 Antoine Simon deposed. Leconte president.
    • 1912 Aug. 7. National Palace blown up. Leconte killed.
    • Aug. 12. August inaugurated as president.
    • 1913 May 12. Death of Auguste. Oreste inaugurated.
    • 1914 Jan. 27. Oreste resigns.
    • Feb. 8. Zamor elected president.
    • Nov. 7. Theodore elected president following departure of Zamor.
    • 1915 Feb. 22. Theodore steps down.
    • March 22. Guillaume Sam takes oath of office as President.
    • July 27. Slaughter of political prisoners in penitentiary. Sam takes refuge in French embassy, is dragged out and killed by mob.
    • July 28. U.S. Marines land in Port-au-Prince.
    • Aug. 11. National Assembly elects Dartiguenave president.
    • 1929 April 21. Roy assumes powers as provisional president.
    • Oct. Student strike at Damien followed by general strike.
    • Dec. 6. U.S. opens fire on unarmed peasants at Marchaterre.
    • 1930 General Trujillo assumes power in the Dominican Republic. Roosevelt visits.
    • 1934 Aug. 14. End of American occupation.
    • 1937 Oct. Trujillo orders massacre of Haitian population in the Dominican Republic.
    • 1941 May 15. Lescot succeeds Vincent.
    • 1946 Jan. General strike; fall of Lescot; army assumes power
    • Aug. 16. Estime elected president
    • 1950 May 10. Estime deposed. Army assumes pow.
    • Dec. 6. Magloire inaugurated president
    • Dec. 12 Magloire fall and goes into exile. Pierre-Louis takes over as provisional president.
    • 1957 Feb.–June. Ephemeral presidencies of Sylvain and Fignole.
    • Oct. 22. Duvalier inaugurated as president.
    • 1959 July 28. Attempted invasion and takeover of palace thwated.
    • 1964 April 1. Duvalier president for life. Duvalier changes flag from
    • blue and red to black and red.
    • 1971 Jan. 22. Duvalier announces Jean-Claude will succeed him.
    • April 21. Death of Duvalier.
    • 1983 Pope John Paul II visits Haiti and publically criticizes Duvalier regime.
    • 1986 Feb. 7. Jean-Claude Duvalier flees Haiti.
    • 1987 March 29. New constitution ratified.
    • November 29. Massacre of voters; elections canceled.
    • 1988 Jan. 17. Election of Leslie Manigat as president of Haiti.
    • June 17. Manigat deposed. General Namphy becomes president.
    • Sept. 17. Namphy overthrown, General Prosper Avril becomes president.
    • 1990 December elections: Aristide elected President.
    • 1991 February. Aristide takes office.
    • September 30 Aristide deposed by military coup lead by Colonel Cedras.
    • 1994 October. US military Intervention of 20,000 troops returned Aristide to Haiti three weeks later.[29]


[1] “Haiti — Land of Beauty and Misery”; World Wide Web access:

[2] The Haiti Files: Decoding the Crisis, p.5; Edited by James Ridgeway, Essential Books, 1994.

[3] From Slavery to Freedom, pp. 83-84; by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss Jr., McGraw Hill publishing Company, 1988.

[4] Latin American — United States Relations, p 98; by Frederico G. Gill, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1971.

[5] Inevitable Revolutions, p. 53: by Walter la Feber, W. W. Norton & Company, 1993.

[6] See Appendix B: “How Eight Hundred of Her Freedmen Fought for America.”

[7] The Haiti Files: Decoding the Crisis, p 12.

[8] Haiti: Dangerous Crossroads, p 128: by Michel-Rolph Trouillot, South End Press, 1995.

[9] Haiti: Dangerous Crossroads, p 129.

[10] Prison Commentary — Live From Death Row; “Haitians Need Not Apply”, April 9, 1992 by Mumia Abu Jamal.

[11] “HAITI: ACTIVISTS DISPUTE ROLE OF CARTER CENTER AFTER CRITICISMS”, by Farhan Haq; newsdeskreg.carib Jul 26, 1995 Copyright 1995 InterPress Service. Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Deportation of Emmanuel Constant”; This Week in Haiti, ilophaitireg.carib Sep 15, 1995.

[14] “U.S.- HAITI: Arrest of FRAPH Chief Poses Questions for U.S.”, by Jim Lobe; Copyright 1994 InterPress Service. Worldwide distribution via the APC networks, May 12, 1995.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Deportation of Emmanuel Constant”; This Week in Haiti.

[17] “Haitian Speakers Denied Visas”, by John Mateyko; oaadvocacyreg.carib IGC Networks, Sep 15, 1995.

[18] “HAITI-U.S.: Former CIA Informant May Face Trials and Deportation”, by Farhan Haq, Copyright 1995 InterPress Service, Worldwide distribution via the APC networks, August 25, 1995.

[19] Congressional Black Caucus Information; World Wide Web Page,

[20] Ibid.

[21] “CLOUDS BETWEEN WASHINGTON & ARISTIDE”, Sun, 15 Oct 1995, Haitian Information Bureau

[22] Ibid.

[23] Haiti, Land of Beauty and Misery; World Wide Web Page,

[24] Prison Commentary — Live From Death Row; “Haitians Need Not Apply”, April 9, 1992 by Mumia Abu Jamal.

[25] Ibid.

[26] The CIA’s Greatest Hits, page 87; by Mark Zepezauer — Odonian Press, 1994.

[27] Haiti, Land of Beauty and Misery; World Wide Web Page,

[28] From the Haiti News World Wide Web Page.

[29] Haiti, Land of Beauty and Misery; World Wide Web Page,

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