Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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President Jean-Bertrand Aristide first assumed office in February 1991, following elections that were widely heralded as the first free and fair elections in Haitis then-186-year history. He was overthrown by a military coup in September 1991. For over three years, the military regime resisted international demands that Aristide be restored to office. U.S. policy under the Administrations of Presidents George H. W. Bush and William J. Clinton consisted of pressuring the de facto Haitian military regime to restore constitutional democracy. On September 18, 1994, when it learned that a U.S. military intervention had been launched, the military regime agreed to Aristides return, the immediate, unopposed entry of U.S. troops, and the resignation of the military leadership. Following his return, Aristide, with U.S. assistance, disbanded the army and began to train a professional, civilian Haitian National Police force. Elections held under Aristide and his successor, Rene Preval 1996-2000, including the one in which Aristide was reelected in 2000, were marred by alleged irregularities, low voter turnout, and opposition boycotts. Efforts to resolve the electoral dispute frustrated the international community for years. The OAS tried to mediate negotiations between the Aristide government and the civic opposition, and set up a mission in Haiti. Tension and violence in Haiti continued throughout Aristides second term, culminating in his departure from office on February 29, 2004. Since February 2004, Haiti faced a series of crises. Congressional concerns relating to Haiti include support for fostering stability and democratic development, the cost and effectiveness of U.S. assistance, protection of human rights and improvement of security conditions, combating narcotics trafficking, addressing Haitian migration, and alleviating poverty.
- Government and Political Science