Haiti's Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy

By Robert Fatton Jr. | Go to book overview

7
Toward a Compromise?

Since his presidential inauguration on February 7, 2001, Aristide has attempted to lure the opposition into his own orbit. He appointed JeanMarie Chérestal as his prime minister and formed a so-called gouvernement d'ouverture reflecting his commitment to include opposition members into his administration. Incapable of drawing members of Convergence Démocratique into the cabinet, the leader of Lavalas had to settle on the incorporation of former supporters of Jean-Claude Duvalier into his new regime. This incorporation of erstwhile Duvalierists was not welcomed by all; Michèle Montas, the widow of Jean Dominique, condemned it as embodying

unholy alliances not only between victims and former torturers but also
between those aspiring to positions of power and the fierce and proven
enemies of democratic principles, including the moneyed interests who
inspired the "Cédras" coup d'état. These alliances … are budding and
blossoming … in the midst of the Convergence as well as within Fanmi
Lavalas
.1

Aristide, however, confronted the dilemma of meeting contradictory demands. On the one hand, he wanted some opponents in his government, but on the other hand, he was not prepared to make the type of concessions that CD had called for. He thus settled on an alliance with Duvalierist enemies in an effort to satisfy the international community's call for political pluralism and in response to CD's refusal to join the Chérestal government.

The return to power of old Duvalierists indicates an opportunistic attempt to isolate CD from other opposition groups and force it into the periphery of the political system. Ultimately, Aristide hopes that the tactical partnership with Jean-Claudisme will neutralize CD and lead to its breakdown and complete emasculation. The partnership is to be a prelude to the eventual co-optation of the major elements of the opposition into the

-177-

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Haiti's Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Class, State, and Civil Society in Haiti 27
  • 3: The Fall of Duvalier and the Contradictions of Democratization 51
  • 4: The Rise, Fall, and Second Coming of Jean-Bertrand Aristide 77
  • 5: The Vicissitudes of Lavalasian Power 107
  • 6: The Antagonistic Present and Future Alternatives 141
  • 7: Toward a Compromise? 177
  • 8: Conclusion 197
  • Acronyms 213
  • Glossary 215
  • Bibliography 217
  • Index 229
  • About the Book 237
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