Two years after we published our first book on Haiti, Haiti: Political Failures, Cultural Successes ( Praeger, 1984), the Duvalier family fled from the country they had misruled for 29 years. Despite the outburst of joy and the sense of liberation from a merciless regime, the plight of the masses of people did not immediately improve. In December 1990, they freely and massively voted for a new president with a populist message, a promise of significant change.
It is too soon to tell if the successors to the Duvaliers will be able to improve the lives of the long-suffering Haitian people. Nonetheless, we thought that because of the fall of the dictators, the subsequent effort to purge the country of the Duvalierist system, and the democratic elections of 1990, we should study once again the theme of political failure in the island republic.
We are pleased to note that several other political studies have appeared during the last few years. We have learned from them. Haiti is important and deserves the attention of serious scholars. The creation of a Haitian Studies Association and the completion of Ph.D. dissertations of very high quality are good signs for the seriousness of writing about Haiti in the near future.
Many Haitians, French, and Americans assisted us. We are grateful to them. We shall not mention their names out of a concern that they may be associated incorrectly with our opinions and interpretations, for which we are solely responsible.
Brian Weinstein would like to express his gratitude to the Department of Political Science of Howard University for funds that permitted the completion of the work. Both of us wish to thank Mary Glenn and Stephen Hatem of Praeger Publishers for shepherding this work from manuscript to book.