Haiti Developments and US Policy Since 1991

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Order Code RL32294 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns Updated June 21, 2007 Maureen Taft-Morales Specialist in Latin American Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Clare M. Ribando Analyst in Latin American Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Co
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  Congressional Research Service    ˜   The Library of Congress  CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Order Code RL32294 Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991and Current Congressional Concerns Updated June 21, 2007 Maureen Taft-MoralesSpecialist in Latin American AffairsForeign Affairs, Defense, and Trade DivisionClare M. RibandoAnalyst in Latin American AffairsForeign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division  Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991and Current Congressional Concerns Summary Following elections that were widely heralded as the first free and fair electionsin Haiti’s then-186-year history, Jean-Bertrand Aristide first became HaitianPresident in February 1991. He was overthrown by a military coup in September1991. For over three years, the military regime resisted international demands thatAristide be restored to office. In September 1994, after a U.S. military interventionhad been launched, the military regime agreed to Aristide’s return, the immediate,unopposed entry of U.S. troops, and the resignation of its leadership. PresidentAristide returned to Haiti in October 1994, under the protection of some 20,000 U.S.troops, and soon disbanded the Haitian army. U.S. aid helped train a professional,civilian police force. Subsequently, critics charged Aristide with politicizing thatforce and engaging in corrupt practices.Elections held under Aristide and his successor, Rene Preval (1996-2000),including the one in which Aristide was reelected in 2000, were marred by allegedirregularities, low voter turnout, and opposition boycotts. Efforts to negotiate aresolution to the electoral dispute frustrated the international community for years.Tension and violence continued throughout Aristide’s second term, culminating inhis departure from office in February 2004, after the opposition repeatedly refusedto negotiate a political solution and armed groups took control of over half thecountry. Aristide claimed that he was still the elected president and that the UnitedStates forced him from office, a charge the Bush Administration denies.An interim government, backed by the Bush Administration, was establishedwith Gerard LaTortue as Prime Minister. The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haitihas tried to improve security conditions, but Haiti, the poorest nation in the WesternHemisphere, remains unstable. Natural disasters have contributed to instability. Afterseveral postponements, presidential elections were held on February 7, 2006, andrunoff legislative elections were held on April 21. The electoral council declaredRene Préval winner after a controversial calculation process. He was inaugurated toa five-year presidential term on May 14. President Préval has outlined two mainmissions for his government: to build institutions and to establish conditions forprivate investment in order to create jobs. Préval enjoys broad support from theinternational donor community, the Bush Administration, and Congress. OnDecember 9, 2006, the 109 th Congress passed a special trade preferences bill for Haiti(the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement/HOPEAct of 2006, Title V, P.L.109-432).Congressional concerns regarding Haiti include fostering democraticdevelopment, stability, and security; the cost and effectiveness of U.S. aid; protectinghuman rights; combating narcotics trafficking; addressing Haitian migration; andalleviating poverty. Bills addressing those concerns have been introduced in the 110 th Congress and include H.Res. 234, H.Res. 241, H.R. 351, H.R. 454, H.R. 522, H.R.750, H.R. 1001, H.R. 1645, S. 222, S. 821, and S. 1348 described in this report.This report will be updated periodically.  Contents Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991..............................1Most Recent Developments......................................1Aristide’s First Term in Office (February-September 1991).............2Restoration of Aristide to Office (October 1994).....................3Completion of Aristide’s First Term (1994-1996), and the FirstPréval Administration (1996-2001)...........................4The 2000 Haitian Elections..................................4Aristide’s Second Term in Office (2001-2004).......................5Aristide’s Departure........................................8The Interim Government (2004-2006)..............................9The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti.......................12The 2006 Elections...........................................14Background to the Elections................................14Results of February 2006 Elections...........................15The Préval Presidency.........................................17Relations with the United States.............................18U.S. Policy and Congressional Concerns...............................19Support of Democracy.........................................19U.S. Assistance to Haiti........................................20Trends in U.S. Aid........................................20Congressional Action and Conditions on Aid...................21Protection of Human Rights and Security Conditions.................25U.S. Arms Transfers and Sales to Haiti............................28Narcotics Trafficking..........................................30Haitian Migration.............................................31Humanitarian Factors..........................................32Environmental Degradation and Rehabilitation......................33Legislation in the 110 th Congress.................................34Legislation in the 109 th Congress.................................35Legislation in the 108 th Congress.................................37Chronology......................................................381991: Aristide’s First Term in Office.............................381991-1994: De Facto Military Regime............................391994-1996: Completion of Aristide’s First Term....................391996-2001: The Préval Administration...........................392001-2004: Aristide’s Second Term in Office......................402004-2006: The Interim Government.............................412004-2006: The Préval Government..............................42 List of Tables Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Haiti, FY1990-FY2008......................24Table 2. DOD Incremental Costs of U.S. International Peace andSecurity Commitments, FY1992-FY1996..........................25  1 Sources for historical background include CRS Report 95-602,  Haiti: Efforts to RestorePresident Aristide, 1991-1994 ; and CRS Report 93-931,  Haiti: Background to the 1991Overthrow of President Aristide , both by Maureen Taft-Morales. Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since1991 and Current Congressional Concerns Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 1 Most Recent Developments On May 7, 2007, President Préval began his first official visit to the UnitedStates. President Bush praised Préval for his efforts to improve economic conditionsand establish the rule of law in Haiti, and Préval responded by saying that hisgovernment seeks increased U.S. investment in Haiti. President Bush’s remarksechoed the March 13 testimony of Adolfo Franco, then-Assistant Administrator forthe Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID) before the House Committee of Foreign Affairs’Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere at a hearing on Haiti. Franco asserted thatthe Préval government’s “willingness to undertake reforms has caught the attentionof the international donor community” and that there is a “window of opportunity toreverse the cycle of violence and instability.” He also stated that the United States “iscommitted to help the Haitian people during this critical time.”There is also bipartisan support in Congress for the Préval government. OnDecember 9, 2006, the 109 th Congress passed a special trade preferences bill forHaiti. The Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement(HOPE) Act of 2006 (H.R. 6142) was incorporated into the Tax Relief and HealthCare Act of 2006 as Title V (P.L. 109-432). Supporters said the bill could generate40,000 jobs in Haiti.Many analysts maintain that President Préval should seek to harness the broadsupport he is currently receiving from the U.S. government and the rest of theinternational donor community to improve security and economic conditions in Haiti.In addition, recently released U.S. government reports highlight other challenges theHaitian government faces in combating narcotics and improving its human rightsrecord. On March 1, 2007, the State Department released its 2007  International Narcotics Control Strategy Report  (INCSR), which maintained that Haiti is a majortransit country for cocaine from South America because of its weak institutions,pervasive corruption, and dysfunctional police and judicial systems. The U.S. JointInteragency Task Force South found that the number of drug smuggling flights fromVenezuela to Haiti and the Dominican Republic increased by 167% from 2005 to2006, with one third of those flights landing in Haitian territory. On March 6, 2007,
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