Introto Politics, Policy and the Media
Introto Politics, Policy and the Media
Differentcountries have had different paths in terms of their development,political and their establishment at large. Some of the major, yetinfluential aspects in a country’s development are the political,media and policy formation and implementation. The following is acomprehensive analysis of the political journey of Haiti throughdifferent times from its pre-colonial, colonial to post-colonial erasand the key regimes that shaped its current state. With reference toan article in one of the daily paper in the United States, ‘TheStar Newspaper’on 2ndOctober 1994 “Violencewill grow in Haiti, US told”by Linda Diebel the report will give a clear account of how themilitary rule was enforced and its impact.
Corruption,dictatorship, coup d’états and abuse of human rights are the mainareas of focus in the Haitian politics. Constant changes inleadership regimes have led to slow development and hence the need toanalyze underlying implications, so as to take effective correctivemeasures. Haiti has undergone numerous obstacles in its developmentto stability. The country became the first nation globally to have ablack led republic in the Caribbean state. This is after the Haitiansoverthrew the French colonial, their control as well as the slaverytrade and practices which were common. The country has undergonenumerous wars especially the early 19thcentury. Despite its early establishment, the country has been marredby decades of poverty, degradation of the environment violence,dictatorship and political instability hence turning it to become thepoorest nation.
Haitiwas originally known as Ayiti, meaning a land of high mountains, andwas discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Haiti is aconstituent of what is today referred as the Caribbean islands andlies to the west of the Atlantic Ocean. The indigenous Taino Arawakanpeople occupied the island, which later became of interest to theEuropeans, especially the Spanish and French, for trade purposes.French rule began in Haiti in 1660 with governor Jeremie Deschamps.The fertile land enabled the growth of cash crops including tobacco,cotton, sugar and coffee prompting the onset of slave trade fromAfrica. Receiving over forty thousand slaves a year, by 1789 they hadoutnumbered the white population.
TheHaitian Revolution began in 1791 under the leadership of ToussaintLouverture who ruled the French colony by 1801. Toussaint thenabolished slavery and after a long struggle to attain freedom Haitigained independence in 1804 under the leadership of Jean JacquesDessalines. Despite the independence, the island experienced a seriesof political upheavals which scarred its unity and economy. Therevolution of 1946 saw the Haitian army (Garde) gain power which wasused to overturn the government more than thirty times. The harshcoup d’état saw many Haitians seek refuge in the USA since 1991. Operation Uphold Democracy began in September 1994 with the aid ofUSA troops advocating for the return of constitutional rather thanthe military rule[ CITATION Kni90 l 2057 ].
Violencewill grow in Haiti, US told
Thisstory is about the resistance from the Haiti military forces to makeroom for democracy. Following the hostile military rule the USA underthe presidency of Bill Clinton sends its troops to assist Haiti inattaining democracy. However, the military continues its operationselevating their hostility. They also refuse to give up their arms andcontinue to massacre masses in a bid to send a message to the UStroops that the violence will continue. The leader of the Front forAdvancement and Progress Haiti (FRAPH), a military subset, assuresthe US troops that they haven’t seen anything yet. The storyfeatures as a Sunday Special and states that the supreme leader ofthe army Lieutenant General Raoul Codras is supposed to step down onor before 15thOctober 1994. This headline reached international audiences becauseof the impact it had especially with the involvement of the USA[ CITATION Die94 l 2057 ].
Itis evident that the USA had interests in Haiti. Contrary to thesupport the US government provided the Haitians in their quest fordemocracy, it is important to note that the same US government hadpreviously offered aid to the Haiti military to help in maintainingorder all over the island. This was in the form of trucks, trainingand communication gear, together with monetary supplies. This washowever not displayed as much as the gesture of sending troops toensure democracy, and this was considered an act of betrayal by theHaitian military. The coup d’état was characterized by crudeviolence against human rights, including rape, destruction by fireand murder ordeals, and is the regime that killed the greatest numberof people in the history of Haiti [ CITATION Pau94 l 2057 ].The question as to why the USA was two-faced regarding the affairs ofHaiti lied in the interests prevailing at the different times and canbe linked to Aristide.
Jean-BertrandAristide was a Roman Catholic priest who became president in 1990.Being the only religious leader who opposed the repressive army, hegained support especially from the poor. The majority of the elite,who were used to exploiting others and using their status to controlthe government, was threatened by the policies of liberation theologyby Aristide and the USA was against him because he was a critic ofits foreign policy. Following this, he was overthrown in the 1991Haitian coup d’état and exiled from the island[ CITATION Jea93 l 2057 ].Before Aristide, Duvalier, who gained support from the military wasthe president of Haiti and was succeeded by his son. Duvalierdisguised himself as a humanitarian, but established one of the mostcorrupt and repressive dictatorship regimes [ CITATION Mic90 l 2057 ].This goes to show just how much power and influence the military hadin the affairs of the then sprouting nation. The struggle fordemocracy within the doctrines of the constitution that was enactedin 1987 was not easy given the power of the military. However,Aristide became president for another term through a democraticelection.
Contraryto Aristide principals, Haiti continued to thrive on corruption andclass divisions. Drug trafficking was dominant and a custom of thesocial and political elites. The government was not stable leading tothe 2004 coup d’état. The USA through the media announced thatAristide resigned from office. On the other hand, Aristide claims hewas forcefully driven out of power by USA surfacing yet anothercontroversial interest from the USA regarding Haiti with reports thatit was in the best interest of the island. This has been a subject ofcontroversy with claims that the USA acted in a bid to slow thegrowth rate of the nation so as to maintain dominion over Haiti,which was economically beneficial.
Sincethen, Haiti has been a subject of sympathy with peacekeeping troopsconstantly trying to intervene in a bid to eradicate the abuse ofhuman rights led by the United Nations. The political instability hasnot only led to the slow rates of development, but has also led tothe unstable economy. Following the massive earthquake in 2010, Haiticontinues to stagnate in overall progression and the country has thelowest Human Development Index in America. Disease prevalence is highand living conditions in general are below average. Education isdeveloping, but in a rather slow rate following the many setbacks.Most activities in the country are founded on foreign aid given thehigh levels of poverty.
Theunstable nature of Haiti’s political background provided asubsequently unstable nation in terms of being fully independent. Thepoverty-stricken nation relies heavily on foreign support in the formof aid and in the form of political intervention. Having gainedindependence in 1804 the country has made few milestones indevelopment and this is directly linked to the unstable politics.Policies developed in favor of the elite few have created a huge gapbetween social classes leading to counter-productive results becauseof resource sharing. The political upheavals have granted the countrylimited time to focus on substantial development and have insteadprovided an avenue for power battles. Haiti has also suffered fromillegitimate foreign policies that have little or no benefit to theirwelfare. By allowing to be micro-managed by foreign agencies thecountry still suffers neo-colonialism, hence the need to makenecessary amendments in order for independence to thrive.
Aristide, J. B. (1993). Aristide: An Autobiography. Orbis Books.
Diebel, L. (1994, October 2). Violence will Grow in Haiti, US Told. Toronto Star. retrieved on
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Farmer, P. (1994). The Uses of Haiti. Common Courage Press.
Knight, F. (1990). The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism. New York:
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Trouillot, M.-R. (1990). Haiti: State Against Nation. Monthly Review Press.