Talk:2004 Haitian coup d'état

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This article is in serious need of a bit of an introduction. As it is right now, there's a single sentence before it just jumps right in with the timeline, saying something like "The first city captured was . . .". We need to have a description of what the event was, the major players therein, the causes, the results, et cetera before we jump into the nitty-gritty bits of it like that. Something like "The 2004 Haiti rebellion was a conflict fought for several weeks in Haiti during February 2004 that resulted in the premature end of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's second term, and the installment of an interim government led by Gerard Latortue. Rebel groups, allegedly aided by Big Brother and friends yadda yadda yadda; opposition was blah blah blah. Unrest had been growing among x since the Aristide government refused to privatize a, b, and c." And so on. I don't know enough about the issue or about Wikipedia introduction standards to write one myself, but there's got to be someone out there who does.

Kai 06:28, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

I strongly agree with Kai that this article could definitely use a much better, well-developed introduction. Additionally, the article is still somewhat disorganized and in parts is poorly written, with some information being repeated unnecessarily. Just some ideas. Oh, and several parts should be updated to reflect later knowledge (such as "as of April 2004," which uses the present tense right after). I think it would also be nice to mention a current state of affairs, even though the rebellion has been over for some time. --Cromwellt|Talk 02:57, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Move (2006)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

In August, this article was moved to "2004 Haiti coup" (from "2004 Haiti rebellion"), which I just noticed now. I don't believe this is correct. This article covers the full scope of events that occurred in February 2004: first a gang rebellion, then intervention by ex-soldiers into the rebellion, and ultimately an arguable coup as the final act of the drama (although that characterization of it as a coup is disputed by some and it is probably POV to directly assert that). I suggest it be moved back to the original title. Everyking 04:42, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Oppose. — A "rebellion" conducted by external forces and their allied business elites is called a coup. Robotman1974 02:48, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Everyking, you went ahead and moved the page? Where was the consensus for that? -GTBacchus(talk) 20:45, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

A significant length of time had passed. Now I notice it has been moved back. I continue to strongly oppose this. "Rebellion" is a fully accurate and NPOV characterization; "coup" is arguably POV and only applies to the final stage of the events. Everyking 05:42, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Fair use rationale for Image:Brazil Haiti 2005.jpg[edit]

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NPOV title?[edit]

Is "coup d'état" a NPOV term for what went on in 2004? I'm not sure. 19:14, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I've always thought that was inappropriate. For one thing it wasn't a technical coup - there was no military that surrounded the capital and overthrew the government. The incident began with a revolt that progressively took over the northern half of the country and then marched south. Really, more of a civil war.--Bellerophon5685 (talk) 02:38, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Unsoured material moved to talk[edit]

Please add back material that have soures that verify it.Ultramarine 10:02, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Claims of rebels[edit]

The rebellion began with the capture of the country's fourth-largest city, Gonaïves, on February 5, 2004, by a rebel group calling itself the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front. This group changed its name to the National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haïti on February 19.

The rebels and the civilian opposition demanded the resignation of President Aristide, but he emphasized his determination to remain in office until the expiration of his term on February 7, 2006, saying that Haiti should not continue its history of moving from "coup d'état to coup d'état," but should instead move from "elected president to elected president." Aristide's opponents, while accepting in principle that Haïti should have an elected president and a constitutional process, disputed his legitimacy and accused him of ruling undemocratically.

According to the rebels and the civilian opposition, the rebellion is a natural consequence of what they consider Aristide's poor governance and the alleged rigging of the 2000 elections by his Lavalas Family party.

The rebellion was primarily led by former soldiers of the Haitian army, who were responsible for civilian massacres during the early 1990s. Even prior to the widespread violence that engulfed the country, a low-level rebellion was waged by some ex-soldiers in the central part of the country since at least 2003, resulting in several dozen deaths. Furthermore, on February 14, 2004, a number of former soldiers (including the notorious former militia leader Louis-Jodel Chamblain) returned from exile in the Dominican Republic and announced their intention to join the rebels based in Gonaïves.

According to supporters of Aristide's government, the rebellion is a coup attempt by former soldiers of the now-disbanded army (which ruled Haiti from 1991 to 1994) on behalf of the old elite of Haïti, which seeks to put an end to Aristide's populist policies and rule.

The rebels attributed much of their rapid success to Aristide's failure to disarm the army when he disbanded it in 1995; however, they insisted that the popular support they enjoyed was an equally important reason. Haiti's police force of 5,000 proved too small and poorly armed to be effective in resisting the rebel advance, and in some places, such as Cap-Haïtien, the police seemed not have mounted any substantial resistance at all.

Another component of the rebellion were the armed gangs which have frequently been a source of violence in Haiti in recent years. The most prominent of these gangs, the "Cannibal Army," long acted as Aristide's primary support base in the city of Gonaïves before turning against him in recent years. This gang, which went on to become one of the main elements of the National Revolutionary Front, claimed the weaponry it used to fight the government during the rebellion was given to it by Aristide at a time when it still supported him; allegedly, the main purpose of this was to intimidate the opposition during the 2000 elections. The government, however, said that the rebels possessed firepower far greater than that of the Haïtian police, and that the weaponry must therefore have a foreign origin.

To a large extent, Haitian politics has been defined by such gangs for the last decade. While it was an anti-Aristide gang that initiated the rebellion in Gonaïves, pro-Aristide gangs fought back on behalf of the president. Gangs on both sides have been accused of grim atrocities, such as executing supporters of the other side and setting fire to their homes.

According to many supporters of Aristide, the country's civilian opposition acted as a fifth column in support of the rebels. The opposition denied this, but many of its members acknowledged their support for the rebel cause, and stated that they share with the rebels the common goal of Aristide's ouster: according to them, they disagreed with the rebels only on the question of employing violent rebellion to that end.


Beginning in Gonaïves with the capture of that city's police station on February 5, the rebellion quickly spread to the nearby port city of Saint-Marc. 150 policemen unsuccessfully attempted to retake Gonaïves on February 8, losing between three and 14 officers in the battle. Saint-Marc was, however, recaptured by police and pro-Aristide militants by February 10, although sporadic fighting continued in the area. Apparently in cooperation with the rebels in these northern and central cities, the south-western city of Grand-Goave was taken by rebels at around the same time, but it too was recaptured by police shortly thereafter.

In the following days, the rebels pursued a strategy of advancing toward the country's second-largest city, Cap-Haïtien, and the town of Dondon, just south of Cap-Haïtien, changed hands several times in the fighting. Furthermore, some of the rebels reached the Dominican border, blocking the main road between the two countries and enabling the aforementioned exiled former soldiers to cross into Haïti. By February 17, the rebel forces had captured the central town of Hinche, near the Dominican Republic border.

On February 19, rebel leader Buteur Metayer declared himself president of the areas under his control, with former Cap-Haïtien police chief Guy Philippe as commander of the rebel army. On February 22, the rebels captured Cap-Haïtien with surprisingly little bloodshed; the city's police had already made clear their reluctance to fight, and the well-armed and trained rebels had little difficulty sweeping aside the resistance of the city's pro-Aristide militants. On February 24, the rebels followed this success with the capture of the northwestern city of Port-de-Paix and with the capture of Tortue Island, off the northern coast, the next day. These gains effectively ended government control in northern Haïti.

On February 26, a new band of rebels captured the country's third-largest city, Les Cayes, in the southwest. More rebel successes followed, as they captured the strategic crossroads of Mirebalais, 30 miles from the country's capital, Port-au-Prince. Many foreigners were evacuated from Haïti in anticipation of an assault on Port-au-Prince, but an estimated 20,000 U.S. citizens remained in Haïti as of the end of February.

International mediators led by the United States proposed a peace plan on February 20 which would have allowed Aristide to serve out his term but with substantially reduced powers, a prime minister from the civilian opposition, and fresh legislative elections. It was virtually the same plan Aristide had agreed to weeks earlier with Caricom. In a news conference the next day, Aristide agreed to the plan.

The plan, however, was rejected by the opposition, which continued to demand the president's resignation. France blamed Aristide for the violence and suggested that he should leave office in favor of a transitional government; however, many governments in the region were more supportive of Aristide, alarmed at the precedent that would be set by the overthrow of a democratically elected leader by armed rebels.

The United States, which intervened in Haiti in 1994 to restore Aristide to power, publicly adopted an ambiguous stance on the issue. While condemning the rebellion and claiming that it did not support the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders, it also pointedly blamed Aristide for contributing to the violence and has suggested that an end to the crisis might require Aristide's absence from the political scene.[citation needed] For its part, the Haïtian government accused the U.S. of supporting the rebels and planning Aristide's ouster.

Some American politicians strongly criticized the Bush's administration's stance on Haiti, on the grounds that it was failing to take a moral stand in defense of Haïtian democracy. On February 25, for instance, U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown called the Bush Administration's non-intervention in Haïti racist.

President Bush refused to soften U.S. policy on Haïtian refugees. During the week ending February 27, the United States Coast Guard repatriated 867 refugees.

Other evidence of coup d'état[edit]

Other potential indications of the United States, France and Canada influencing the coup d'etat include the fact that at the same time the diplomatic mission was trying to bring Aristide back to the Caribbean, U.S. officials including National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell gave statements that indicated clearly that the U.S. did not welcome Aristide in the 'western hemisphere'[source needed]. Not only did the United States not support the elected president of Haiti back into power but USAID and CIDA had been actively funding the interim government and helping it to prepare for elections in the fall of 2005/early 2006. USAID, CIDA, and the NED also heavily funded the political opposition throughout the Aristide Administration- the same opposition who supported the embargo which starved the Haitian government of 35% of its national budget.[citation needed]


Lavalas supporters view the rebellion as an antidemocratic attempt to control the Haitian economy. Since the rebellion, Lavalas supporters have engaged in large protests demanding Aristide's return.

Lavalas says it cannot field any candidates due to political violence. It has been suggested that the U.S., France and Canada are glad to see Lavalas excluded because they want the interim government to be perceived as legitimate, but do not want Lavalas to control the Haïtian parliament — which many argue would be very likely in a free and fair election.

World Bank Interim Cooperation Framework[edit]

Aristide has said in an interview with Naomi Klein that the main motivation for the foreign support of his overthrow was privatization. Specifically, Aristide has suggested that his refusal to sell state-owned enterprises, such as phones and electricity, resulted in a decision to have him removed. There is some evidence for this assertion, as the World Bank's Interim Cooperation Framework has stated:

"…in key sectors of the economy such as telecommunications, energy, potable water, ports and airports… management contracts will be prepared in those cases where private sector participation is deemed appropriate…"

It is particularly relevant to the coup d'etat that one of the first actions of Aristide's second term was the disbanding of Haïtian military which ruled Haiti from 1991 to 1994 on behalf of the old elite of Haiti and was extremely corrupt and authoritarian. This measure received incredible popular support from a civilian population who had suffered under several military coups. Interestingly, this measure was immediately reverted by the interim government put in power by the coup, which seeks to put an end to Aristide's populist policies and rule.


Following the departure of Aristide, the rebels entered Port-au-Prince, declaring their intent to protect Alexandre and the people from pro-Aristide militants, popularly known in the government controlled media as "chimères". In the days since, they have sent mixed messages about their intentions: rebel leader Guy Philippe first declared himself the "chief" of a new Haïtian military and vowed to arrest the pro-Aristide prime minister, Yvon Neptune, but then promised to disarm his forces. On March 3, at least three people were killed in a battle between rebels and pro-Aristide militants. Supporters of Aristide have vowed to continue pressing their demands for his return, and on March 7, 6 people were reported killed at an anti-Aristide rally.

The death toll from the conflict is believed to have been at least 300. Prime Minister Neptune has estimated that the cost of the rebellion from fighting and looting amounts to about U.S. $300 million.

After two weeks in the Central African Republic, Aristide departed for Jamaica and arrived there on March 15. The visit was ostensibly for the purpose of enabling him to see his young daughters, but the transitional Haitian government claimed that the visit could destabilize Haiti further by encouraging Aristide's supporters and announced it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Jamaica in protest. In response, Jamaica announced that it would not recognize the new Haïtian government.

The argument is that the governments of the United States, France and Canada were interested in the removal of Aristide from power because of his populist tendencies. For example, in 2003, Canada hosted a meeting of Haïtian opposition leaders called the Ottawa Initiative which concluded that "Aristide must go". At the same time, the United States, France and Canada were funding the rebel groups, via opposition NGOs and the International Republican Institute, and provided the necessary military and logistic support for the rebellion. Rebel leader Guy Philippe has been trained by U.S. forces and had been on the CIA payroll. Other prominent rebel figures had also been previously trained by the U.S. despite their participation in previous rebellions and terrorist acts with some living in the U.S.

U.S. authorities claim that the pressure Foley placed on Aristide to resign was initially diplomatic but once that failed, the delaying of the arrival of extra bodyguards and dismissal of the current agents would have meant a death sentence to the President. Aristide and his wife along with this former security team was taken to a U.S. aircraft and not informed of their destination until several hours later. They were not allowed to look out the planes windows and were told that they would be harbored in the country to the Central African Republic. Aristide was kept under strict military surveillance and could not communicate freely for days. The United States government denies these allegations.

more of a rebellion than a coup d etat.[edit]

The history as reported is more of a armed rebellion than coup d etat, [A coup d'état (pronounced /ku de'ta/), or simply coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, often through illegal means by a part of the state establishment] take from the artical on coups in wikipedia. If the west was involved it would be more accurate to call it an intervention. I believe coup is being used because it is a loaded word to make a political statement. Wikipedia should be about facts not politics.(Lproth 08:56, 16 October 2007 (UTC))

Agree. If no objections I will change the title shortly.Ultramarine 12:01, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Glad to see it's been changed back. A coup is a coup, plain and simple -- there were certainly additional ingredients to this, such as the sheer degree of overt foreign pressure (ultimately involving military intervention) in favor of coup forces. But at the end of the day, it is a coup and as such differs little from other coups in the past (elite/paramilitary opposition to elected government, covert foreign involvement, civilian-elected government being strongly overarmed by an unelected paramilitary/military force, etc). "Coup" is not "a loaded word to make a political statement," it is an actual term with a definition and that's why it's used in the title of countless other Wikipedia articles about similar coups. (talk) 02:28, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Deterioration of article[edit]

I've reverted this article back to the way it existed in April, because a huge amount of content was removed in the meantime. The content outlining the course of the rebellion itself was written by myself, based on press reports, while the rebellion was ongoing in February 2004; at that time Wikipedia as a whole was very weak on referencing and I didn't think to add citations. I don't know if the content was removed for lack of citations or some other reason, but the content can all be verified and, while it absolutely should be referenced, that's no excuse to remove all the content. If anything in particular is disputed, feel free to remove and discuss the point here, or better yet, find the press report that the info came from in the first place and cite it. Everyking (talk) 03:15, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

More information added to first sentence[edit]

The 2004 Haiti rebellion was a regime overthrow following Haitian conflicts spanning several weeks of February 2004 and concerning the legitimacy of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's presidency.

Consensus has been expressed on the discussion page regarding all of these pieces of information. Anyone have a problem with the mention of the Aristide legitimacy conflict as such?

Bleedingcherub (talk) 21:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


If people want to say that the Bush administration was responsible for the 2004 Haiti rebellion they owe readers a concrete explanation for it. Right now, motives are only vaguely referenced with the use of some extreme left-wing publications. Oh yeah, and if there is so much "extensive documentation" of U.S. involvement why is pretty much zero evidence presented. (talk) 01:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

I have seen television interviews of several persons who were eyewitnesses. Persons who have credible backgrounds and most were in positions of responsibility and trust, and all had very clear memories, very much in agreement on details and their general impressions. I wish I had the time and energy available to lead anyone who is interested by the hand to videos of persons who were there talking about what happened to various interviewers, but that amount of tedious research is beyond my physical abilities now. U.S. military attacked Aristide and his family and staff in his home and kidnapped them at gunpoint and flew them into exile. Nobody has ever mentioned an witness who was there who has a different version of events, except that the Bush White House claims that our troops have a different version of events even though they cannot produce any of these troops nor statements from them. Your "zero evidence presented" is incorrect. Much was presented in this article, but was then deleted wholesale with no explanation by past wikipedia users. As for whether the Bush administration was responsible or not, either U.S. Marines and Air Force went rogue for no apparent reason and decided to fly to Haiti to kidnap its president, or the Bush White House ordered them there. It is NPOV to attack the credibility of apparently all publications who credit the Bush White House with the act by labeling any publication that disagrees with you as "left wing". The editorial policies or political beliefs of publications to the left of the original poster on the political spectrum are not the criterium for judging the reliability of the journalism they publish. Just as, for instance, the right-wing opinions (widely acknowledged) of The Wall Street Journal do not in any way detract from the very high standard of journalism and reliability they have maintained for many decades, nor do the beliefs of the publishers at The Christian Science Monitor in any way color or detract from the extremely high level of journalism practiced there, although one could make an analagous attack on their credibility as being "Christian" or "religious propaganda". NPOV, accuracy, and completeness are the standards wikipedia prizes most. Labeling someone as left wing or right wing and dismissing any information coming from them as insignificant or unreliable is simply an ad hominem attack. In further response to your implications that there is "zero evidence" of U.S. involvement, the evidence that the Bush White House committed the act of ordering the U.S. military to force Aristide onto a plane at gunpoint is speculative only in the sense that it is speculative to say it rained last night when you wake in the morning and see that it rained last night. You didn't see the rain falling yourself, so you are forced to "speculate" that it did so. (1) Every eyewitness to the event that has ever spoken up (all the occupants and guards at Aristide's house that night) are in agreement that he was forced out at gunpoint, by U.S. Marines. There have been no statements from anyone who was there that remotely contradicts this. Clearly, it happened. (2) If the Bush White House didn't order it, then the only other explanation would be that someone lower in the U.S. military chain of command ordered it, or a very large conspiracy of the uniformed U.S. military participants acted in concert and very much in violation of U.S. laws and the UCMJ by doing so. If that were the case, do you have any doubt that Bush and especially Cheney would go after anyone in the chain of command who would invade another country and kidnap its democratically elected president and thus commit a violation of various U.S. laws and U.S. treaties? To make a joke, whoever ordered such a thing would be lucky if their punishment was only being shot in the face by Cheney. Hey, shooting in the face is for his friends. I would like to add one small editorial opinion: I remain extremely proud of my service in the U.S. Marine Corps, but sometimes it is difficult to stay proud when some of us have lent themselves to being used by Presidents who abuse their own positions of authority. We are supposed to refuse all unlawful orders, not pick and choose which orders agree with our own personal political beliefs.-- (talk) 00:32, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

US House of Representatives record - Noriega statement on plane flight[edit] states that "Most of Aristide’s claims, initially disputed by US officials from Noriega to Donald Rumsfeld, are now acknowledged to be true. His enemies’ claims that Aristide met with officials in Antigua – Aristide said they were not allowed to move from their seats – were undermined by reports from Antigua itself. Noriega acknowledged during a House hearing that Aristide did not know of his destination until less than an hour before landing in the Central African Republic."

If someone wants to spend some time looking through the Congressional Record of the United States House of Representatives, then the testimony by Roger Noriega where he states that Aristide only knew his destination less than an hour before landing in CAR should presumably be there. A direct link to the Congressional Record would be best for this. Farmer claims it was in a "House hearing", so this should be quite verifiable from the obvious online source. Boud (talk) 20:03, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps it could be clarified in the article as to why would US participate in the coup of a man that they themselves made sure came back to power for over a decade.--RossF18 (talk) 20:15, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

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Reverting name change[edit]

I noticed that, despite the lack of consensus (here), someone has taken the matter into their own hands and has changed the article name to "2004 Haitian rebellion". As this name is not only the result of an undiscussed move, but also is not an accurate reflection of the content of the article (the article itself starts with the words: "(...) was a coup d'etat"), I have changed the article name back to 2004 Haitian coup d'état. - TaalVerbeteraar (talk) 22:10, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

"Rebellion" was the original name and there was never any consensus to change it in the first place. The old title described the events more accurately and neutrally. "Coup d'état" could arguably be applied to the last act of the rebellion, when Aristide was forced out of office and into exile, but that account of events was not accepted by everyone. "Rebellion" covers the whole event quite accurately. Everyking (talk) 17:35, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Describing the coup as the climax of a rebellion is one way of looking at it; another way is to look upon the 'rebellion' as a mere lead-up to the coup. This article does the latter and has some quite good references to justify that approach. I wouldn't exactly say that naming the article 2004 Haitian rebellion would be more neutral. Such a name plays down the notion of a coup d'état and that is POV in itself. - TaalVerbeteraar (talk) 15:24, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Even if we accepted that approach, the notion that the ouster of Aristide was a coup was very hotly contested. While I personally think it's fair to describe what happened as a coup, I don't really think it's NPOV to say so. Everyking (talk) 21:48, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I understand your reasoning regarding the NPOV-ness — or lack thereof — of the current name, but I don't agree that "rebellion" would be more neutral. Calling this a rebellion means not calling it a coup d'état, and that is POV in itself. - TaalVerbeteraar (talk) 20:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Events Prior to 2004[edit]

Can someone who knows more about the context of the factors leading to the conflict add something to the "Washington, Aristide,..." section? Particularly in the first section that mentions "Washington negotiators"? It is not clear at all who these negotiators are, who they're negotiating with, or what they're negotiating for, or for what purpose, or what their other demands were. This just seems like a random fact with no context the way the article is currently composed. Dcb2124 (talk) 19:11, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes -- Roger Noriega, first and foremost, was a primary "negotiator" from the US (representing the primary US government opinion in favor of removal of the elected Aristide government) with Maxine Waters playing a very different role as a US "negotiator" (in favor of keeping the elected Aristide government in place). They both traveled to Haiti, as did another US official (with Noriega) and an official from France -- I forget both of their names but can look it up. I'll add some context to this section -- I have several good books and articles on the subject that I can cite. (talk) 02:31, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

division of "Belligerents" box is misleading[edit]

Why is "National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haïti" listed as a separate belligerent from "United States" et al? IRI funding records clearly demonstrate that they were on the same side. Needless to say, they worked towards the same purpose and worked together in the relentless pressure applied on the Aristide government. As is, the article confusingly implies that there were 3 primary belligerent groups -- the government of Haiti, the paramilitaries (National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haïti), and the US and related UN forces. That is confusing because it should be clear that there were only two sides to this conflict, not 3. I propose that the two latter groups be merged. (talk) 02:24, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

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