Jean Bertrand Aristide: Is it Politics as Usual in Haiti?

Publication date



The country of Haiti has had a vicious, tumultuous and revolutionary political history that has included a slave led revolution for freedom and subsequently two hundred years of political instability that can be measured by the thirty-two regime changes by political coup d’etat. In the 1980’s a novel form of government was introduced to Haiti through the influential support of its northern neighbor the United States, as well as the United Nations. The new democracy that was created through a new constitution in the 1980′ s would in turn lead to the presidential election of 1990 and subsequently the populace would elect a new leader, Jean- Bertrand Aristide. He was elected on a party platform of revolutionizing the political, social, and economic composition of Haiti. Aristide was elected with the support of the innumerable peasants and impoverished workers of Haiti to institute these changes for them. Unfortunately for Aristide and the impoverished peoples of Haiti, he was unable to complete these changes because of his deficiencies in political diplomacy, his lack of sensitivity to the fundamental socio-economic problems, and due to influential factors outside of his control. Aristide’ s legacy ought to be one of prestige and dignity as the first freely elected Haitian president. Instead he will be seen as a grandiose visionary who dreamed beyond the clouds, instead of keeping his feet, eyes and ears on the ground.



Decentralization and Development in the World’s First Black Republic

In Haiti, decentralization as a development tool has been a part of the political discourse for over thirty years, since the end of the 29-year father-son Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. However, Haiti’s recent progress – specifically in terms of fiscal decentralization – has been largely credited to the United States Agency for International Development’s Limyè ak Òganizasyon pou Kolektivite yo Ale Lwen (LOKAL+) program though it has not been readily apparent to what extent enhancements in local revenue have impacted public expenditures.

Read More »

The History of Peasants, Tonton Makouts, and the Rise and Fall of the Duvalier Dictatorship in Haiti

This dissertation analyzes the social and political history of Haitian peasants and the formation of the brutally repressive Duvalier dictatorship. It establishes that the rise of the dictatorship was the result of a political trajectory shaped by historical processes. In post- emancipated Haiti during the nineteenth century, thousands of peasants, who were formerly enslaved, joined the military and participated in insurrections to achieve high status and social mobility.

Read More »

“Let Us Forge One Path Together”: Gender, Class, and Political Subjectivities in a Haitian Popular Neighborhood

Over sixty years after the introduction of women’s suffrage and nearly forty years after the uneven institutionalization of representative democracy, the majority of Haitian women face mounting challenges to maintaining their livelihoods and playing more prominent roles in politics. This dissertation advances an understanding of poor urban women’s collective potential and the challenges to their self-making as agents of change.

Read More »