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Timeline | Haiti: a history of political turmoil

The political turmoil in Haiti can be traced back decades, including dictatorships, coups, crises, and the assassination of current President Jovenel Moise.

On Wednesday, he was killed at home, throwing this poor and crisis-hit Caribbean country into new uncertainty.

This is the timeline of its turbulent past:

-The fall of’Baby Doc’-

In 1986, Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as the “baby doctor,” went into exile due to a popular uprising against the violation of human rights by his internationally condemned regime. The army seized power.

In 1971, 19-year-old Duvalier proclaimed himself “President for Life” when his father Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier passed away. The trained doctor is also an autocratic dictator who has ruled for about 14 years.

His son, known as the “baby doctor”, tried to control this poor country with an iron fist.

After fleeing protests against his rule, Duvalier went into exile in France for 25 years and returned in 2011.

Three years later, he died of a heart attack, just a few months after a judicial investigation into his crimes against humanity was launched.

-Aristide was overthrown-

In 1990, the charming shantytown pastor Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Jean-Bertrand Aristide) won a big victory as the first elected president of Haiti.

But only eight months later, he was ousted in a bloody military coup.

Due to US military intervention, he returned to office in 1994.

In 1996, he handed over power to his political heir, former Prime Minister Rene Préval, who won the presidential election in Haiti’s first democratic transition of power.

Aristide returned to power in a vote in 2001 that was plagued by accusations of manipulation.

In 2004, in the face of armed rebellion and international pressure, he was accused of contributing to corruption and human rights violations and was forced to resign.

He went into exile in South Africa, where the United Nations controlled the country for two years and sent peacekeeping troops.

In 2006, Préval won the first presidential election after Aristide’s departure by a narrow margin, and he became the only Haitian leader to complete the two terms permitted by the constitution.

-Election crisis and protests-

Former carnival singer Michel Mattelli became president in 2011 and rebuilt the Haitian armed forces.

After the first round of presidential elections in 2015 was tainted by large-scale fraud, he ended his term without a successor.

After various delays, the next presidential election was held in 2016 and Moise won the victory. Moise was a former banana exporter and only participated in 20% of the elections.

Moise was quickly hit by protests triggered by fuel shortages, which turned into violent incidents.

In 2019, when the court auditors investigated the destination of the Venezuelan Petroleum Fund’s US$2 billion in aid funds, they found that the company that Moise ran before he became the president was “at the core of the corruption plan,” which further weakened his strength.

Later in the same year, repeated protests and roadblocks on the country’s main roads prevented almost all activities, leading to the closure of most schools for more than two months.

-Riots and kidnapping-

Since January 2020, Moise has passed laws governing Haiti.

Increasing gang violence and political instability sparked anger, and protesters took to the streets.

In March, the government declared a one-month state of emergency to restore state power in gang-controlled areas, including the capital.

In April, seven Catholic clergy were kidnapped, and the government resigned a few days later to resolve insecurity, which stirred up tensions.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the controversial constitutional referendum scheduled for late June was postponed.

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