The Haitian Invasion of the United States: Haitian Boat People (October 1991–October 1993)
The 1991 coup marked a sharp upsurge in the number of boat people leaving Haiti. Although their plight received intense media coverage in the United States, hard information about boat people was difficult to come by. The emigrants intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard told harrowing stories of oppression on land and ordeal at sea, but the immigration officials who interviewed them claimed that these were elaborate fabrications designed to gain refugee status. Little reliable information was coming from the military junta either, with Prime Minister Honorat asserting quite implausibly that there were no human rights violations in Haiti and thus no cause for a Haitian exodus. As for the refugees whose boat capsized at sea—half of all those who left, according to U.S. authorities—they left behind no testimony of who they were, why they left, and what they hoped to achieve. Their story will never be told.
KeywordsCoast Guard Paradise Lost Military Junta Refugee Policy Refugee Crisis
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