Clinton Administration Policy Toward the Caribbean Country of Haiti


The topic for this paper is the United States policy towards the
Caribbean country of Haiti during the Clinton administration. The subjects
which will be discussed are the issues of: Refugees, Foreign Aide as well as
human rights the United States involvement in Haiti issues of national
interests. What will also be examined is what the Clinton administration trying
to achieve concerning Haiti. What the United Nations and the U.S. roles were,
and what the public thought was concerning these issues. Also why the United
States was involved with the internal dispute of a third world country where the
national interest was not clearly defined. The issue of why was it or was not
so important for the United States to send troops to Haiti will also be
discussed. The problem in Haiti was the pro democratic elected president
Aristide was exile from Haiti during a military coup. Several issues arose out
of Haiti after the exile of Aristide. Issues of: human rights there were
reports that the new regime brought back "death squads" killing people who
opposed the new leaders. One of the main targets of the Clinton policy is a
group called the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti of FRAPH. The
administration has targeted this group for their continued backing and support
of General Cedras, for their human rights violations.
Issues of , refugee's illegally trying to enter the United States
creating an economic burden on much of south Florida. All of these issues arose
during president Bush's term in office. The Bush administration was to turn
back the refugee's. The Bush administration saw no vital national interest in
concerning it self with the internal problems of Haiti ,because there were so
many problems at home in the United States, other than to turn the refugee's
away from south Florida. When president Clinton took over the office of the
presidency he would become very indecisive and weak on the issue of Haiti.
President Clinton began badly on Haiti. With his continual indecision
and lack of any real back bone to the policies which were decided upon. "First,
he gave charge of his policy to Bush administration holdovers who over the
previous year had made clear their intent to construct in Haiti a version of
democracy that left the president in exile but with an Aristide - appointed
prime minister and cabinet. This tortured scenario was doomed to failure
because over two thirds of the Haitian people equated democratic government
with the return of Aristide and no arrangement that excluded his presence could
rule without massive repression."
"The Clinton foreign policy team so recognized this error and appointed
a former ambassador wise in the ways of Latin American dictators, Lawrence
Pezzullo to head up Haitian policy. Things began to move. In mid 1993, a
United Nations sponsored agreement was signed a Governors Island, New York. In
return for removal of the oil cut off which Clinton administration had promoted
within the United Nations, plus a four - month transition period, the army
agreed to the return of President Aristide, the installation of a consensus
government and replacement of the army high command." It looked as though a
transition from arbitrary, oligarchic rule towards constitutional government had
been found.
In short the Clinton foreign policy towards Haiti was to remove the
leaders of the military coup and return exiled President Jean - Bertrand
Aristide to power. The policy was also designed to put pressure on the military
government in the way of a United Nations trade embargo. the hope was to bring
the leader of the new government to their knees and hope the leaders would
return the government back to the people of Haiti.
The history and the political background of Haiti is a history of
oligarchic rule, and fear of the government. Their country in the early part
of the century until 1950's was basically under the thumb of the United States
government. "In 1915, the United States , acting under the Roosevelt Corollary
to the Monroe Doctrine, occupied Haiti to straighten out its finances, pay off
foreign debts , and ensure stable government. When the Marines departed in 1933,
their principal legacy was a constabulary officered by light - skinned mulattos.
The tension between the ruling mulatto elite and the black majority runs like
a discordant motif through Haiti's turbulent history."
In 1956, blacks surged into control with the election of Francois "Papa
Doc" Duvalier. Papa Doc installed a reign of terror directed primarily against
the elite professional class. His son, Jean Claude, "Baby Doc" became
president -for - life upon the death of the elder Duvalier. Baby Doc
possessed none of his father's political dexterity. His