Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment
Verso, 2007 - 442 pages
Once themost lucrative European colony in the Caribbean, Haiti has long beenone of the most divided and impoverished countries in the world. In thelate 1980s a remarkable popular mobilization known as Lavalas, or “theflood,” sought to liberate the island from decades of US-backeddictatorial rule. After winning a landslide election victory, in 1991the Lavalas government led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wasoverthrown by a bloody military coup. Damming the Floodanalyzes how and why Aristide's enemies in Haiti, the US and Francemade sure that his second government, elected with another overwhelmingmajority in 2000, was toppled by a further coup in 2004.
The elaborate international campaign to contain, discredit and thenoverthrow Lavalas at the start of the twenty-first century was perhapsthe most successful act of imperial sabotage since the end of the ColdWar. Its execution and its impact have much to teach anyone interestedin the development of today's political struggles in Latin America andthe rest of the post-colonial world.
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As we shall see , the Haitian elite is well - placed to protect itself against
conventionally revolutionary demands . Aristide was a threat because he
proposed modest but practical steps towards popular political empowerment ,
because he ...
Occasionally – as in the late 1980s – the gap between these two poles of the
Haitian elite can widen to the point that the stability of the basic social edifice is
itself called into question . The invariable consequence – as in the 1990s – is
then a ...
142 The elite was acutely sensitive to the threat of such words , not to mention
such pride . ... initiated ) , “ rather than the indigents it was the elites who were
terrorized ; under Aristidestyle repression , the socioeconomic pyramid was
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