from the book
The CIAs Greatest Hits
by Mark Zepezauer
US troops invaded Haiti five times, once
staying for almost twenty years (1915-35). At the end of that
prolonged visit, during which we killed thousands of Haitians
for daring to rebel, we left the country in the hands of the local
National Guard, confident that they'd carry on our good work.
From this arrangement emerged the Duvalier
family dynasty and their private terrorist force, the machete-wielding
Tontons Macoutes. "Papa Doc" Duvalier (he was a medical
doctor) also relied on voodoo incantations and, during a 1959
uprising, the timely assistance of the US military. When Papa
Doc died in 1971, his 19-year-old son, called Baby Doc, became
Throughout the blood-drenched rule of
the Duvaliers (nearly 100,000 killed by the Tontons Macoutes alone),
the US barely uttered a peep about human rights violations. In
1986, however, when it became apparent that Baby Doc's presidency
could not in fact be sustained for his entire life (unless he
died soon), the Reagan administration airlifted him to a retirement
villa in France and started talking about the "democratic
Before that could begin, however, the
Haitian military had to be further strengthened. CIA money began
flowing to Haiti, which had already seen US aid double during
the Reagan years. The CIA set up an anti-narcotics service called-appropriately-SIN
("national intelligence service"). As one CIA man admitted,
SIN used its millions in CIA subsidies mainly to suppress popular
movements by means of torture and assassination. Far from combating
drugs, many SIN officers engage in the drug trade themselves.
In 1990, elections were finally allowed.
Haitians stunned the US by rejecting the candidate we preferred
in favor of a left-wing Catholic priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
The Bush administration could scarcely conceal its joy when Haiti's
US-trained military deposed Aristide eight months later.
When Bill Clinton took office, he offered
lip service to the idea of returning Aristide to power. Even this
hypocritical posturing was too much for the CIA, who leaked a"psychological
profile" that painted the courageous, dedicated Aristide
as a "psychopath."
Endless waves of refugees, and US embarrassment
over more than 4,000 killings by Haitian security forces, have
led to even more vigorous US lip service. But if history is any
indication, the chances of a government coming to power that meets
the needs of the Haitian people are slim to none.