Graduation Year

2016

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

History

Major

History – Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Jody Pavilack

Faculty Mentor Department

History

Keywords

Haiti, Operation Uphold Democracy, U.S.- Latin American Relations, U.S. foreign policy, Aristide

Subject Categories

American Politics | Diplomatic History | International Relations | Latin American History | Latin American Studies | Political History | United States History

Abstract

In 1990, Haitian citizens overwhelmingly voted Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the nation’s first democratically elected president. The following September, Raoul Cédras and other Haitian military officials overthrew President Aristide and forced him from the country. For several years following the coup, the United States, United Nations, and Organization of American States answered Aristide’s pleas for help by hosting several negotiation talks and implementing several economic sanctions on Haiti. Sanctions continued until 1994 when President William Clinton called for the United States-led invasion into Haiti to forcefully remove the military regime. This invasion is particularly interesting for two reasons. President Clinton decided to take action to reestablish democracy and stop the human rights violations in Haiti in September of 1994, only months after neglecting the hundreds of thousands of people killed in the Rwandan Genocide. And secondly, previous to the invasion, the United States government emphasized the importance of peaceful negotiations and nonviolent sanctions. What drove Clinton to suddenly approve of a potentially violent invasion? By analyzing scholarly works on Operation Uphold Democracy, updates from President Clinton’s office, and U.S. Congressional and United Nations documents, this paper weaves together the primary factors that pushed the United States to invade Haiti after years of peaceful negotiations. The paper ultimately finds that the United States’ foreign policy largely depended on the negative feedback that President Clinton received from congressmen about mounting human rights violations in Haiti as well as the exhaustion of diplomatic negotiations with Raoul Cédras.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

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© Copyright 2016 Sydney M. Stivers and Sydney Stivers