The outcome of a formal slave uprising, Haiti was founded in 1804 as the first Black republic. Following an armed struggle and financial compensation to the former French settlers, efforts to rebuild the economy and political system provoked internal unrest, providing the foundations of Haiti’s current instability. Toussaint Louverture, the leader of independence, structured the Haitian economy in line with the previous plantation economy while the landed minority Mulatto elite began to appropriate and concentrate the country’s wealth, which in turn served to marginalize the majority Black population. The events of the next century and a half saw a continuation of the status quo as political crises continued to plague Haiti: The American occupation (1915-1934); the Duvalier dictatorships (1957-1986); the ousting of elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by a military coup sponsored by economic and political elites within the Haitian army led by General Raoul Cedras (1991); the contested return of President Aristide (2000), and lastly the forced exile of Mr Aristide in 2004 due to the chaos, militarization and socio-political crisis. All of these events worked to undermine Haiti’s progress towards stability and prosperity. More recently, violent gangs, often made up of former military personnel, have taken control of the urban centers via a strong illegal drug and arms trade as well as human trafficking and kidnapping.

Haiti A Risk Assessment Brief 2009