By Peter Hallward - HaitiAnalysis
A shorter version of this article first appeared in the newspaper Haiti Liberté, in nine instalments, October-November 2007. Peter Hallward is the author of a new book, Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment, released by VERSO in April 2008.
A little less than four years ago, in late February 2004, France, the US and a few other old ‘friends of Haiti’ called on the country’s elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign.
No doubt Haiti’s friends had their reasons. Following its landslide election victory in May 2000 Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party had proved that it was likely to dominate Haiti’s parliamentary democracy for the foreseeable future: after the rather less decisive election of George W. Bush later that same year, some of Aristide’s older friends in the US began taking newly energetic steps to undermine his administration. A couple of years later, when Aristide began asking France to repay the enormous amount of money that it had extorted from its former slave colony during the previous century, international responses to his government quickly evolved from routine hostility to outright aggression.