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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Whatever government is elected or imposed , as Major Louis Kernisan of the US
Defense Intelligence Agency explained in 1994 , it ' s “ going to end up dealing
with the same folks as before , the five families that run the country , the military ...
We ' re going to burn it to the ground and chase down the bourgeoisie and burn
them in their homes . They ' ll all be hiding in holes . ” With Aristide gone , it might
have seemed that there was nothing to mediate the naked class antagonism that
You who have preached such fine sermons , what are you going to do now ? Are
you going to abandon us , or are you going to assume this responsibility so that
together we can move forward ? ” And I thought about this . What was the best ...
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