History of troubled ties between Haiti and the US





When US President Barack Obama announced that one of the biggest relief efforts in US history would be heading for Haiti, he highlighted the close ties between the two nations.

"With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are our neighbours in the Americas and here at home," he said....

Both countries were born out of a struggle against European colonisers.

The US declared independence from Britain in 1776 - the first to do so in the Western Hemisphere - followed by Haiti, which broke away from France in 1804.

But there the similarities end. While the American War of Independence was driven by a white elite unwilling to continue paying taxes to its colonial masters, the Haitian revolution was led by a freed slave, Toussaint Louverture....

Between 1888 and 1915, no Haitian president completed his seven-year term.

Ten were killed or overthrown, including seven in the four years to the US invasion of 1915. Only one died of natural causes....

The assassination of the Haitian president a year later finally prompted President Wilson to invade Haiti with the aim of protecting US assets and preventing the further strengthening of German influence in the region.

After failing to make the new Haitian legislature adopt a constitution which would allow foreign land ownership, the Wilson administration forced the legislature to dissolve in 1917. It would not meet again until 1929.

The US finally withdrew from Haiti in 1934 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's "Good Neighbour Policy", which stressed co-operation and trade over military force to maintain stability in the Americas....

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