Haitians remember September 11… 1988

The website “Haiti Xchange” recalled in September 2001:

Long before this year’s tragedy, September 11 was already a date associated with terror for Haitians: on that day in 1988 a group of armed men linked to the military dictatorship attacked the church where then-priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was holding mass. They murdered dozens, and burned the church to the ground; Aristide barely escaped. In 1990 Aristide ran for president in Haiti’s first-ever democratic election, with radical promises to raise minimum wage, strengthen national industry, and tax the wealthy, who traditionally escaped this burden. He won two-thirds of the vote, but was never able to accomplish his mission as president: an elite-backed military coup ousted him in September 1991, after only seven months in office. In the following three years the military regime raped, tortured, and killed thousands of his supporters. Well over a hundred thousand Haitians fled by sea or crossed the border to the Dominican Republic.

The grassroots movement ground to a standstill. And as a condition for his return to Haiti, via an American invasion in September 1994, the United States along with the World Bank and the IMF demanded that Aristide abandon his social justice platform in favor of unpopular free-market economic reforms. Meanwhile, reports emerged that during the military’s reign, Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, the leader of Haiti’s infamous FRAPH death squads, had been an agent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

See our last post on Haiti.

See also our last posts on September 11, 1973, 1906 and 1683.