A Quick History of the US Military in Haiti

1915- 1934: US Marines arrive & then occupation.

1917: The US wrote Haiti’s ‘Constitution’–  which mainly abolished the previous prohibition on foreign owned land. FDR claimed to have written it.

This document abolished the prohibition on foreign ownership of land-the most essential component of Haitian law. When the newly elected National Assembly refused to pass this document and drafted one of their own preserving this prohibition, it was forcibly dissolved by Gendarmerie commandant Smedley Butler. This constitution was approved by a plebiscite in 1919, in which less than five percent of the population voted. The State Department authorized this plebiscite presuming that “The people casting ballots would be 97% illiterate, ignorant in most cases of what they were voting for.”

The Marines and Gendarmerie initiated an extensive road-building program to enhance their military effectiveness and open the country to U.S investment. Lacking any source of adequate funds, they revived an 1864 Haitian law, discovered by Butler, requiring peasants to perform labor on local roads in lieu of paying a road tax.

– Wikipedia

1921: The Haitian revolt, and the US military kills approximately 15,000.

1946: US backed coup.

1950: US backed coup.

1957- 1987: The Duvalier and Baby Doc era’s :

Duvalier’s paramilitary police, officially the Volunteers for National Security (Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale – VSN) but more commonly known as the Tonton Macoutes, named for a Vodou monster, carried out political murders, beatings, and intimidation. An estimated 30,000 Haitians were killed by his government.

From 1957-1971 Haitians lived under the dark shadow of “Papa Doc” Duvalier, a brutal dictator who enjoyed U.S. backing because he was seen by Americans as a reliable anti-Communist. After his death, Duvalier’s son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” became President-for-life at the age of 19 and he ruled Haiti until he was finally overthrown in 1986. It was in the 1970s and 1980s that Baby Doc and the United States government and business community worked together to put Haiti and Haiti’s capitol city on track to become what it was on January 12, 2010.


1991: The US backs a bloody Coup against Aristide — 5000 die, many disappear.

1993: The US military comes back, this time to put Aristede back in power.  After this, Aristede launches widespread human rights abuses, his associates becoming involved in drug running, etc.

Arbitrary arrest, arbitrary detention, summary executions and police brutality became everyday reality.

2004: The US kidnaps Aristide, and puts in another regime:

On March 1, 2004, US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), along with Aristide family friend Randall Robinson, reported that Aristide had told them (using a smuggled cellular phone), that he had been forced to resign and abducted from the country by the United States. He claimed to be held hostage by an armed military guard.[16]

Aristide later repeated similar claims, in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! on March 16. He was pressured to resign from office by U.S. soldiers and James B. Foley, U.S. Ambassador to Haïti, on February 29. An aircraft provided by the U.S. carried Aristide and his wife, Mildred Trouillot Aristide, into exile to the Central African Republic. Goodman asked Aristide if he resigned, and President Aristide replied: “No, I didn’t resign. What some people call ‘resignation’ is a ‘new coup d’état,’ or ‘modern kidnapping.’


Some have come forward to support his claim saying they witnessed him being escorted out by American soldiers at gunpoint….

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