Press Memorandum: Haiti: Smoldering on the Edge of Chaos

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Council On Hemispheric Affairs

Monitoring Political, Economic and Diplomatic Issues Affecting the Western Hemisphere

Memorandum to the Press 04.63

Thursday, 23September, 2004

Word Count: 3150


Haiti: Smoldering on the Edge of Chaos

• Disbanded Haitian army seeks to be reconstituted

Latortue government is more a cruel joke than a professional presence

• UN special representative and military force still too invisible

Six months after the abrupt and violence-laced departure of constitutionally elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and over three months after the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping units which were hailed as an instrument for order and stability in this long-troubled Caribbean island, Haiti remains poised on the edge of chaos. Just as nature in the form of a tropical storm that has managed to kill perhaps 1,000 Haitians, thousands more have died over the past decade, victims of right-wing military and paramilitary forces. Today, ruled by a bumptious, ineffectual and illegitimate cabal whose only validity is supplied by U.S. fiat, Haiti now faces the imminent de facto reconstitution of its brutal Haitian Armed Forces (FADH), dissolved by Aristide in 1995. Across the island, bands of former soldiers are seizing police stations and establishing themselves as the de facto local power, at times displacing the remnants of the national police and placing large swaths of the country under what is effectively outlaw rebel jurisdiction. Meanwhile these soldiers demand the restitution of unpaid wages over the past ten years.


This analysis was prepared by Jessica Leight, COHA Research Fellow.

September 23, 2004

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