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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88 It ' s clear , in short , that by the end of February the only people who could be
trusted to protect the regime were the Lavalas partisans who spent much of the
month fortifying the city and preparing for Chamblain ' s assault . As we shall see
... rather than in the more central and more easily defended National Palace . On
the night of 28 February itself , Aristide seems to have taken no steps to mobilize
his supporters to protect his house against the prospect of imminent attack .
According to Vastel , Paradis and his colleagues defined this “ responsibility to
protect as follows : When a population greatly suffers from the consequences of a
civil war , an insurrection , state repression or the failure of its policies , and when
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