Haiti: The Failure of Politics

By Brian Weinstein; Aaron Segal | Go to book overview

turned violent as many known Macoutes were beaten and killed. People in Portau-Prince and elsewhere ransacked the offices of the Macoutes and moved on to the houses and business establishments of the leading Duvalierists. The people knew very well what belonged to whom and were careful not to damage neighboring properties, according to those who were present. They also protested the presence of Avril, Vallès, and Cinéas in the National Council of Government (CNG), the six-man government. The three left the CNG. A 19-person cabinet was appointed.

Haitian and foreign observers said that Namphy, a 1954 graduate of the military academy and army chief of staff, was not a part of the Duvalier inner circle despite his high rank. However, it is difficult to understand how he could have survived for 30 years without many tests of his loyalty. At least until 1987 many influential Haitians and Americans said they believed he was a moderating influence and that he would willingly turn over power to a civilian-elected government. He was seen as a representative of revolutionary forces. 57 Before leaving for Haiti in May 1986, one of the authors of this book visited the desk officer for Haiti at the State Department. The latter said; "You should write an article about this revolution in Haiti."


CONCLUSION

The second century of Haitian independence has been politically bleak. The U.S. occupation contributed to strengthening the control of the first world of Haiti over the second. No longer would regional revolts threaten the regime. Furthermore, the shock of white domination drove intellectuals of all colors and social backgrounds to question the course of Haitian politics and history as directed by elites in Port-au-Prince and to unite, at least temporarily, around an effort to validate the culture of the second world. This effort, as well as social changes, facilitated the rise of new black elites of a nonmilitary background.

The curbing of regional unrest by the U.S. marines during the occupation and a new respect for peasant black culture helped Dr. Francois Duvalier take power and perpetuate his rule. Many of his methods were the same as those of his predecessors, but he was able to centralize control much better than they because of his ideology and his personal lack of moral restraint. Earlier administrations had to back down after the crowds of Port-au-Prince protested when they tried to change the constitution to stay in power. Duvalier unhesitatingly coopted or killed his opponents, drove them into exile, or silenced them in other ways before they could organize such demonstrations. A climate of fear and suspicion of one's neighbors, emphasis on personal security, a racial ideology, a government monopoly of weapons, and economic decline characterized the country. Haitian writer Anthony Phelps in Mimoire en Colin-Maillard and British writer Graham Greene in The Comedians captured the mindless terror and absurdity of the Frangois Duvalier regime. The successor Duvalier regime was less clear in its orientation. In some ways it maintained its predecessor's methods of "hard

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Haiti: The Failure of Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Politics in Haiti 1
  • Notes 21
  • 2 - From U. S. Occupation to Duvalier Family Rule 25
  • Conclusion 49
  • Notes 50
  • 3 - Government by Franchise 53
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Economic Hopes and Realities 79
  • Notes 101
  • 5 - Haiti: The First Third World" State?" 103
  • Notes 126
  • 6 - Can Haiti Survive? 129
  • Notes 145
  • 7 - Prospects for Democracy 147
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - Conclusion: Shaking Off the Past 171
  • Notes 185
  • Suggested Readings 187
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 195
  • About the Authors 204
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