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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150 Systematic police extortion and intimidation led many communities to re -
establish vigilante groups in self - defense . In October 1998 Préval ' s security
minister Bob Manuel admitted that the process of creating a viable police force
By February 2004 Haiti ' s police had exhausted most of its supplies . The only
country willing to provide Aristide ' s Haiti with police equipment and munitions –
teargas , rubber bullets , bullet - proof vests . . . - was Mbeki ' s South Africa .
That ' s the reason behind a lot of the police operations in the slums , in Bel Air
and Cité Soleil , in which the police went in and killed a lot of people . I ' ve seen
those things : you see ten bodies here , five bodies there , bodies lying in piles of
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