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Profile: Jean-Bertrand Aristide

 
  

Positions that Jean-Bertrand Aristide has held:

  • President of Haiti (1991-1991)
  • President of Haiti (1994-1995)
  • President of Haiti (2001-2004)


 

Quotes

 
  

No quotes or excerpts for this entity.


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

Jean-Bertrand Aristide actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1980s      Haiti Coup

       Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest, preaches Liberation Theology in Haiti. US conservatives spread stories that he could be the next Castro. [Taipei Times, 3/1/2004; Rogozinski, 1992; Observer, 3/2/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Fidel Castro
          

December 1990      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Running against 11 other candidates, Jean-Bertrand Aristide wins the presidential elections in Haiti with a two-thirds majority. The election turnout is high and is later described as being “unquestionably the most honest Haiti has known.” [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

October 31, 1991-October 15, 1994      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       In Haiti, the Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People (FRAPH) overthrows the government while Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is on a visit to the UN in New York. The group rules as a repressive military regime until 1994 when a US-led UN intervention puts Aristide back in power (see September 19, 1994-October 15, 1994) [Rogozinski, 1992; Observer, 3/2/2004] The junta is responsible for the massacre of hundreds—or by some estimates, thousands—of dissidents. [Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; The Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Observer, 3/2/2004] The leader of the group is Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who later acknowledges he had support from the CIA. “Emmanuel Constant is widely alleged, and himself claims, to have been in the pay of, and under the orders of, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the coup period,” Amnesty International will later report. The amount paid to Constant by the CIA during this period is $500/month. [Amnesty International, 2/7/1996; Observer, 3/7/2004; Center for Constitutional Rights, 2/18/2004; London Review of Books, 4/15/2004] Second in command is Louis-Jodel Chamblain, who had led death squads during the years of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier's dictatorship and who is later convicted and implicated in multiple crimes committed during this period. [The Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Observer, 3/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, Louis-Jodel Chamblain
          

August 1994      Haiti Coup

       Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide promises donors that he will implement neoliberal reforms if he is returned to power. He agrees to a plan calling for the privatization of some state-owned enterprises, including the country's flour mill, cement factory and electric company. The plan also requires the removal of import controls, reforming of customs and the elimination of limits on interest rates. But due to strong domestic opposition, Aristide will not completely follow through with the Structural Adjustment Program once in office. [Inter Press Service, 9/28/1995]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

September 19, 1994-October 15, 1994      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       US and UN military forces enter Haiti and restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency. [Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004] US conservatives, such as Senator Jesse Helms, are against the intervention and criticize President Bill Clinton for engaging in unnecessary “nation building” in Haiti. Helms falsely makes the claim on the Senate floor that Aristide is “Psychotic,” based on a CIA document later revealed to be a forgery. [Newsday, 3/1/2004; Taipei Times, 3/1/2004; Observer, 3/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Jesse Helms
          

October 24, 1994      Haiti Coup

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide informs parliament that he will appoint Smarck Michel as the country's new prime minister. Michel—who served briefly as Aristide's commerce minister in 1991—owns a rice-importing business and retails gasoline. According to sources interviewed by The Washington Post, his selection “was aimed at appeasing the nation's powerful business elite” and is viewed as a prerequisite for “winning support from foreign investors and attaining international development funds.” The Post reports, “At least two US-trained economic experts—former World Bank economist Leslie Delatour and former education minister Leslie Voltaire—had threatened not to participate in key government posts if Michel were not named prime minister.” [The Washington Post, 10/25/1995]
People and organizations involved: Leslie Delatour, Leslie Voltaire, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Smarck Michel
          

May 4, 1995      Haiti Coup

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announces a doubling of the minimum wage effective June 1, 1995 from 18 gourdes to 36 gourdes per day. Articles 1 and 2 of his decree read, “Beginning June 1, 1995, the minimum wage paid in industrial, commercial and agricultural businesses is fixed at 36 gourdes per 8-hour day... Where the employee works per piece or per task, the price paid for a unit of production (per piece, per dozen, per gross, per meter, etc.) must allow the employee who works 8 hours to earn at least the minimum salary.” [National Labor Committee, 1/1996]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

October 15, 1995      Haiti Coup

       US Vice President Al Gore visits Haiti on the one-year anniversary of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return to power. During his visit, he meets with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and stresses the need for his government to comply with the structural reforms which he had agreed to implement in August 1994 (see August 1994). “We discussed the need for continuing international assistance to meet the developmental requirements of Haiti and the steps the government of Haiti and its people need to take in order to ensure the continued flow of these funds,” Gore recounts during a brief press conference. Earlier in the month, Aristide's government refused to sign a letter of intent assuring the US, IMF and other donors that the country would follow though with the mandated reforms (see Early October 1995). [Inter Press Service, 10/16/1995; Multinational Monitor, 11/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Albert Arnold ("Al") Gore, Jr.
          

December 17, 1995      Haiti Coup

       Presidential elections are held and Rene Preval wins in a landslide victory. He succeeds the popular Jean-Bertrand Aristide who is barred from running again because of the Haitian constitution's prohibition on consecutive presidential terms. [Tiscali Encyclopedia, n.d.; CNN, 12/17/1995; CNN, 12/16/1995]
People and organizations involved: Rene Preval, Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

November 2000      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Jean-Bertrand Aristide runs unopposed in Haiti's presidential elections and wins with 91.5 percent of the vote. The opposition Democratic Convergence party does not participate in the elections in protest of the May 21, 2000 congressional and municipal elections (see May 21, 2000) which its members claim were rigged. The election turnout is disputed. Though some news agencies report a low turnout of between 5 percent and 10 percent, Aristide's party, as well as five US-based NGOs—Global Exchange, the Quixote Center, Witness for Peace and Pax Christi—estimate the figure at 61 percent, or 3 million of Haiti's voters. [Global Exchange, 2001; Associated Press, 12/7/2000; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; BBC, 7/7/2000; Zmag, 5/5/2004; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; CBS News, 11/29/2000] These figures are also supported by USAID-commissioned Gallup polls taken both before and after the elections, but which are suppressed by the US. [Zmag, 5/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Democratic Convergence, USAID
          

(2001-2003)      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Under the leadership of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haitian government engages in cooperative projects with Cuba and Venezuela. The Chavez government offers to provide oil at significantly reduced prices, and treaties between Haiti and Cuba result in a presence of more than 800 Cuban medical workers in Haiti. In an explicit challenge to US domination of the regional trade patterns, Haiti works with other island nations to create a regional trading bloc that “may be a bulwark against the FTAA and other [US-led] initiatives.” Haiti and other Latin American countries regularly discuss regional strategies to reduce US hegemony in the region. [Dollars and Sense, 9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

April 20-22, 2001      Haiti Coup

       With the exception of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, 34 heads of state attending the OAS summit, pledge to direct their “Ministers to ensure that negotiations of the FTAA [Free Trade Area of Americas] Agreement are concluded no later than January 2005 and to seek its entry into force as soon as possible thereafter, but in any case, no later than December 2005.” [Haitian Times, 4/18/2001; Haiti Weekly News, 5/2/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] According to an unnamed senior offical at the US State Department, the declaration also lays the groundwork for creating a legal pretext for blocking aid to countries. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; US Congress, 7/15/2003] The section of the declaration discussing the OAS's commitment to democracy reads: “... any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summit of the Americas process....To enhance our ability to respond to these threats, we instruct our Foreign Ministers to prepare, in the framework of the next General Assembly of the OAS, an Inter-American Democratic Charter to reinforce OAS instruments for the active defense of representative democracy.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] During the summit, before the final declaration is made, Haiti is singled out as the region's problem democracy. “Democracy in certain countries is still fragile,” Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien says, “We are particularly concerned about the case of Haiti. We note the problems which continue to limit the democratic, political, economic and social development of this country.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001] Press reports note the ant-Aristide atmosphere. The BBC reports, “Correspondents say the presence of Mr. Aristide at the summit has been an embarrassment to some of the leaders, who agreed that only democratic countries would be included in the Free Trade Zone of the Americas.” [BBC, 4/22/2001] The New York Post similarly reccounts, “Diplomats said the expressions of concern about Haiti were to make sure that Aristide can't use his presence at the summit... to claim he has international support.” [New York Post, 4/23/2001] And according to Reuters, “the Summit decided to comment on Haiti because leaders did not want Aristide to return home in triumph.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001; New York Post, 4/23/2001]
People and organizations involved: Organization of American States (OAS), Hugo Chavez Frias, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Jean Chretien  Additional Info 
          

June 8, 2001      Haiti Coup

       Seven of the eight Haitian senators, whose elections are still being disputed by the Democratic Convergence (see May 21, 2000), resign after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide tells the General Assembly of the Organization of American States that he will hold new elections for the contested Senate seats within six months. But the Democratic Convergence is not satisfied with the concession and maintains its insistence that he resign and that it be put in charge of a non-elected “transition” government. [Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; BBC, 6/8/2001; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Democratic Convergence
          

February 7, 2003      Haiti Coup

       During a rally celebrating the anniversary of his first inauguration in 1990, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announces that his government is doubling the minimum wage from 36 to 70 gourdes (or about $1.60) a day, despite the strong disapproval of Haiti's business elites. [Waters, 2/18/2004; US Immigration, 7/30/2003] This marks the second time since his return to office in 1994 that he has doubled the minimum wage (see May 4, 1995).
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

April 28, 2003      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       The Haitian Press Agency (AHP) reports that diplomats at the Organization of American States are openly circulating demands for the removal of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “One document's author suggested that it would be best if the situation kept deteriorating, saying that any aid should be blocked until 2005 in order to eliminate the party in power, Fanmi Lavalas [Lavalas Family], which will be of no help to the population, according to him.” [The Black Commentator, 5/15/2003] Though the news report does not provide any names, one possible source for the remarks is Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Noriega is a known critic of Aristide.
People and organizations involved: Roger Francisco Noriega, Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

November 2003      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide demands that France return the money Haiti had paid to its former colonizer in service of a dubious debt agreement the country had been forced to accept—under threat of recolonization—in 1825 (see 1825). The exact amount, with interest added and adjusted for inflation, is $21,685,135,571.48. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; Miami Herald, 12/18/2003; Boston Globe, 12/3/2003; Haiti Action website, n.d.] France will later back the removal of Aristide in February 2004 (see February 25, 2004). [New York Times, 2/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

February 4, 2004      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Rebels take over cities in northern Haiti and move towards Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, overrunning Aristide's local police forces and vowing to overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. [New York Times, 2/29/2004] The rebels include various factions. The leading groups are led by Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a convicted murderer and former death squad leader under “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and Guy Philippe, also a known human rights violator (see October 31, 1991-October 15, 1994) (see 1997-1999). [Associated Press, 3/3/2004; Counter Punch, 3/1/2004; Amnesty International, 3/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Claude Duvalier, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, Roger Francisco Noriega
          

February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004      Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1959-2005)

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is escorted on a US-charted jet to the Central African Republic. The details of this event are disputed.
US' version of events - Aristide contacts US ambassador James Foley on the night of January 28 and asks him three questions: “What did he think would be best for Haiti? Would the United States guarantee his protection? And could he choose his destination for exile?” At 11pm, Ambassador Foley informs Aristide that the United States can ensure his safe departure if he decides to resign and adds that this is what the Bush administration feels he should do. [Independent, 3/2/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004; Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Aristide and his American wife decide that they will accept the American offer. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Later in the night, Foley attempts to email the president but Aristide's computer has already been packed. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Some time after midnight, Ambassador Foley telephones the US Embassy's second-ranking officer in Port-au-Prince, Luis Moreno, and asks that he escort Aristide and his wife to the airport. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Shortly after 4 am, US Diplomat Luis Moreno arrives at the gates of Aristide's residence in the suburb of Tabarre with a fellow US diplomat and six State Department security officers. Inside Aristide's house the lights are on. Aristide meets Moreno at the door with his suitcases packed. “You know why I'm here,” Moreno says in Spanish. “Yes, of course,” Aristide is quoted as saying in response. Moreno asks Aristide for a resignation letter and Aristide promises to give one to him before he leaves the island. “You have my word and you know my word is good,” Aristide is quoted as saying. They then travel to the airport in separate vehicles, without any further conversation. They arrive at the airport and about 20 minutes before the plane arrives, Moreno again asks for the letter. Aristide provides the letter and then the two converse for the next few minutes. “I expressed sadness that I was here to watch him leave,” Moreno later tells The Washington Post. “Sometimes life is like that,” Aristide responds. “Then I shook his hand and he went away.” [Washington Post, 3/3/2004; Reuters, 3/1/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] A US-charted commercial plane arrives in Port-au-Prince at approximately 4:30am. [Associated Press 3/2/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] US authorities do not force Aristide onto the leased plane. He goes willingly. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004] At 6:15am, the plane departs. [Miami Herald, 2/29/2004] “He was not kidnapped. We did not force him on to the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly, and that's the truth,” Secretary of State Colin Powell claims. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] “The allegations that somehow we kidnapped former President Aristide are absolutely baseless, absurd.” [Reuters, 3/2/2004]
Aristide's version of events - US soldiers arrive at Aristide's residence and order the president not to use any phones and to come with them immediately. Aristide, his wife Mildred and his brother-in-law are taken at gunpoint to the airport. Aristide is warned by US diplomat Luis Moreno that if he does not leave Haiti, thousands of Haitians would likely die and rebel leader Guy Philippe would probably attack the palace and kill him. Moreover, the US warns Aristide that they are withdrawing his US-provided security. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004; Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] Aristide composes and signs a letter explaining his departure. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] The president, his wife and his brother-in-law board a commercial jet charted by the US government. His own security forces are also taken and directed to a separate section of the plane. During the flight, Aristide and his wife remain in the company of soldiers. The shades on the windows of the plane are kept down. Soldiers tell him they are under orders not to tell him where he is going. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] The plane stops first in Antigua, where it stays on the ground for two hours, and then flies for six hours across the Atlantic to the Central African Republic. Aristide is unable to communicate with anyone on the ground during the entire 20-hour period he is on the plane because it is presumably not equipped with a telephone. Shortly before touchdown, Aristide is informed that the destination is the Central African Republic. Upon arrival, Aristide is escorted to the “Palace of the Renaissance,” where he makes one phone call to his mother in Florida and her brother. He is provided a room with a balcony, but is not permitted to move around, and he remains in the company of soldiers. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004] His phone is taken away by African authorities and [Miami Herald, 3/3/2004] he is not provided a replacement or a landline. On the morning of March 1, he contacts US Congresswomen Maxine Waters and family friend Randall Robinson with a cell phone that is smuggled to him.(see March 1, 2004) [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] In an interview with CNN, he says he considers the events a “coup d'etat” and a “modern” version of kidnapping. [Inter Press Service, 3/2/2004]
Joseph Pierre's version of events - According to Joseph Pierre, a concierge at Aristide's residence, whose account is reported in the French newspaper Lib�ration, Aristide is taken away early Sunday morning by US soldiers. “White Americans came by helicopter to get him. They also took his bodyguards. It was around two o'clock in the morning. He didn't want to leave. The American soldiers forced him to. Because they were pointing guns at him, he had to follow them. The Americans are second only to God in terms of strength.” [Independent, 3/2/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Mildred Aristide, James Foley, Randal Robinson, Maxine Waters, Luis Moreno, Joseph Pierre, Roger Francisco Noriega, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

February 29, 2004      Haiti Coup

       With the removal of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Boniface Alexandre, chief justice of the Supreme Court, is sworn in as president at the home of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, in conformance with Haiti's constitutional rite of succession. The ceremony is attended by US Ambassador James Foley. However without a parliament (see January 2004), his appointment cannot be approved as required by Haiti's 1987 Constitution. [Reuters, 2/29/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004; New York Times, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Boniface Alexandre, James Foley
          

March 1, 2004      Haiti Coup

       In the Central African Republic, Haitian President-in-exile Jean-Bertrand Aristide, uses a smuggled phone to contact US Congresswoman Maxine Waters and family friend Randall Robinson and “emphatically” denies that he had resigned (see February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004). Robinson tells Democracy Now that he had an early morning phone conversation with Aristide. “He did not resign. He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup,” Randall tells Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Maxine Waters speaks with the president at about 9am. “He's surrounded by military.” Waters will explain to Goodman. “It's like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped.” She provides an account of Aristide's exit that differs dramatically from the description of events that had been provided by the Bush administration the day before. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] Later in the day, Aristide is permitted access to the press. When read a copy of his resignation letter, Aristide claims it's a fraud.“That's not right. They took out the sentence where I said, ‘If I am obliged to leave in order to avoid bloodshed.’ They took that off the document. That's why they are lying to you by giving to you a false document,” Aristide says. [Reuters, 3/1/2004; Reuters, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Randal Robinson, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Maxine Waters  Additional Info 
          

March 15, 2004      Haiti Coup

       Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide flies from the Central African Republic to Jamaica despite objections from the United States and the new government of Haiti. Haiti's new leadership then announces that it is temporarily suspending Haiti's membership in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and that Haiti's ambassador to Jamaica will be recalled. [Guardian, 3/15/2004; Xinhuanet, 3/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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