Sunday, February 29, 2004

Chronology: Haiti's Turbulent Times

LONDON, Feb 29 -- Here is a chronology of recent events in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, which President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled on Sunday in the face of armed rebellion and mounting international pressure:

April 21, 1971 -- Dr Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier dies and is replaced by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) as president for life.

Feb 7, 1986 -- Duvalier forced into exile by an uprising, ending 29-year family dictatorship. Army chief Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy is named to oversee two-year transition to democracy.

Nov 29, 1987 -- Gunmen linked to Duvalier government and the army halt civilian-run elections, killing at least 34.

Jan 17, 1988 -- Political scientist Leslie Manigat elected president in army-run elections. Manigat overthrown by Namphy three days later.

Sept 17, 1988 -- Namphy overthrown by Presidential Guard, replaced by Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril, a former Duvalier aide who promises elections and civilian rule.

March 10, 1990 -- Avril resigns. Supreme Court Justice Ertha Trouillot sworn in as acting president on March 13.

Dec 16, 1990 -- Populist priest Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide is landslide winner in presidential elections, Haiti's first free and peaceful polls.

Sept 30, 1991 -- Aristide overthrown by the military.

Oct 8, 1991 -- Military installs Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nerette as provisional president.

July 3, 1993 -- Aristide and military coup leader, Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, sign U.N.-brokered agreement in New York. Pact calls for Aristide to return, Cedras to resign.

September 1994 -- About 20,000 U.S. troops arrive in Haiti to restore democracy.

Oct 15, 1994 -- Aristide returns to office as president.

March 31, 1995 -- U.N. peacekeeping force replaces multinational troops.

Dec 17, 1995 -- Former Prime Minister Rene Preval, from Aristide's Lavalas party, is overwhelmingly elected president to replace Aristide.

Nov 30, 1997 -- U.N. peacekeeping force ends armed mission.

May 21, 2000 -- Haiti holds parliamentary and local elections after numerous postponements.

Nov 25, 2000 - Haiti holds presidential election, boycotted by main opposition parties because of dispute over parliamentary elections. Aristide wins overwhelmingly.

- Haiti's political opposition proclaims a provisional government. The 15-party opposition alliance Democratic Convergence chooses Gerard Gourgue as "parallel president."

Feb 7, 2001 - Aristide succeeds Preval.

Dec 17, 2001 - Gunmen storm Haiti's National Palace in apparent coup attempt foiled after shoot-out with security forces.

Dec 18, 2003 - Reversing earlier government resistance, Aristide endorses a Roman Catholic Church proposal for halting the nation's descent into political violence.

Jan 11, 2004 - Thousands march against Aristide, at odds with opponents over the 2000 elections.

Feb 8 - Armed revolt spreads to more cities in Haiti.

Feb 13 - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell warns Haiti's opposition against ousting Aristide.

Feb 18 - Right-wing militia leader Louis Jodel Chamblain arrives in Haiti from his exile to reinforce revolt.

Feb 19 - The U.S. says it is open to Aristide stepping down, acknowledging his departure could be a way out of crisis.

Feb 23 - The U.S. sends about 50 Marines to Haiti to protect U.S. facilities and presses opposition politicians to accept a power-sharing plan.

Feb 24 - Rebels reject a proposed power-sharing deal.

Feb 27 - A group of rebels called the "Assaillants" (Attackers) take control of the town of Mirebalais which sits at a junction with access to the capital.

Feb 28 - The White House blames Aristide for the revolt he is facing and calls on him to leave power.

Feb 29 - Aristide leaves Haiti. In Washington, a senior U.S. official says his resignation is in Haiti's best interests.

© 2004 Reuters