Gratitude is the Heart’s (Short-Term) Memory: The Second Aristide Presidency (October 1994–February 1996)
On October 15, a few days after Cédras left for exile in Panama, Aristide, his entourage, and a host of U.S. officials boarded three planes at Andrews Air Force Base and took off for Port-au-Prince (figure 9.1). The flight was a joyous one. Aristide had not seen Haiti for 1,111 days; he was about to become the first president in Haitian history to be ousted and then restored to power. Aristide was technically serving the remainder of the five-year presidential term he had begun in 1991, but the hiatus had been so long and the post-1994 environment was so different that his return amounted in practice to a second presidency. In Port-au-Prince, the mood was delirious. Aristide’s popularity was higher than ever despite years of embargo and repression. His supporters picked up the mounds of garbage lining the streets, swept the dust away, and covered the dilapidated presidential palace with a fresh coat of paint. Murals—Haitians’ favorite form of political commentary—proudly showed an Aristide-headed rooster sitting on an egg. In Haiti’s colorful political imagery, the egg-and-rooster metaphor was an oblique reference to the rooster symbol that had been Aristide’s in the 1990 elections and to the proverb “a laid egg cannot be placed back in the hen” that Cédras liked to quote to explain that Aristide’s overthrow was irrevocable.
KeywordsFree Trade Physical Punishment Tariff Reduction Legislative Election Paradise Lost
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