"Tontons Macoutes" Revolt in Haiti 1991

[ 1991 ]

Two coup attempts in 1991 against newly elected Haitian president Bertrand Aristide (1953-) dimmed the promise of democracy in Haiti. On January 6, 1991, Roger Lafontant (d. 1991), former leader of the infamous Tontons Macoutes militia, and his collaborators stormed the presidential palace and forced the resignation of the provisional president Ertha Pascal Trouillot (1943-). Lafontant, who wanted to prevent Aristide from taking office, declared himself provisional president. Next morning, loyalist forces recaptured the palace, set Trouillot free (her travel was later restricted) and imprisoned Lafontant and his men. Meanwhile, thousands swarmed the streets, burning barricades and blocking access to the airport. Lafontant's headquarters was destroyed and many of his know and suspected supporters hacked to death. Also gutted were the archbishop's residence and the region's oldest cathedral. At least 75 people were killed and 150 injured. On January 27, rumors that Lafontant (subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment) had escaped from prison led to violent protests, including attacks on two police stations, and 17 deaths in Port-au-Prince, the capital...

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