A Glimmer of Hope: Aristide’s Rise to Power (1988–1991)
On September 11, 1988, a young priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide approached the altar in his church of St. Jean Bosco, located in one of Port-au-Prince’s poorest slums. Aristide’s physical appearance was deceptive. He was frail, short, plain looking, balding, and wore eyeglasses so large they covered half his cheeks. His nickname, Titid, seemed more suited for a child than for a leader of national prominence. He was also a black man of rural origin, which placed him squarely in the midst of Haiti’s disenfranchised majority. Aristide’s political appeal stemmed from his political courage and his oratorical skills. He was known as a priest and a radio preacher who dared speak against Bébé Doc before 1986 and against the remnants of the Duvalierist regime after that date. Death threats poured in regularly: the previous Sunday, armed men had attempted to enter the church. But Aristide courageously continued his fight against the Macoute order.
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