SHORT-TERM PROSPECTS IN HAITI

Created: 6/7/1961

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SHORT-TERM PROSPECTS IN HAITI

THE PROBLEM

To assess the short-term prospects in Haiti, with special reference to the likely consequences for Haiti of the assassination of Dominican dictator Trujillo,

THE ESTIMATE

THE INTERNAL SITUATION AND PROSPECTS

In contrast to the Dominican Republic, where theay assassination ofTrujillo was preceded by months ofuncertainty, and intensified repression, the situation In Haiti has remained essentially static. President Duvaller has now conferred uponew six-year term in off.ee. two years before the old term was due toIn thepnl parliamentary elections, in vhich the voters were called upon to choose among various hand-picked pro-DuvaJierDuvalier placed his own name at the top of the ballot, thereafter asserting that he had been unanimously re-elected. Despite the palpable fraud of this procedure. Duvalier was rcmaugurated onay without protest. In the presence of thousands of peasants brought in from the countryside.1

By the forced retirement of some officers and the reassignment of others, President Duvalier has further ensured his control over the military establishment, the principalof political power in Haiti.1the officer corpshole almost certainly resents his divide-and-rulehe has puL in the key positions men on whom he relies. General Merceron, the army commander, strongly resents theinfluence of Major Raymond, theof the Presidential Guard, but has been unable to curb it.

Underlying opposition to Duvalier will of course continue. The President's arrogation to himselfew six-year term has almost certainly increased the resentment ofstudents, military men, and others of the old mulatto elite, which has lost its power and influence since Duvalier came to power. Small exile groups continue to exist in New York, Caracas, and Havana; inflammatory broadcasts in Creole, directed at students and the peasantry, continue to emanate weekly from Cuba.

Nevertheless, the numerous opposition elements, both In and outside Haiti, stillto lack the strength, vigor, and cohesion

army, which Includes the small ale force USO men) and coast0, but Its ground forces are scattered over the country in small police and constabularyexcept (oran battalion at Port-au-Prince and the Port-au-Prince. The Presidentials an Independent command responsible directly lo Duvalier. In addition, Duvalier directly controlsivilian militia Inivilian "secretn the countryhole.

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to challengean of Duvalier's political skill andour-month strike by students, who had been the most active of Duvalier's critics, collapsed inccording to the Haitiana small group of Cubanexiles were apprehended when they landed in Ute April. Although significant pro-Castro sentiment exists among students and otherCastroism still appears to have had little impact on the peasantry.

An extremely Impoverished country, even by Latin American standards. Haiti has had an unusually poor coflee crop this year, and the dead season is approaching.the population at large will probablylo eke out an existence. In0 US financial and technical programs, which had been partially suspended earlier in that year, were resumed and expanded. The present level of US economicillion for the present US fiscal year) appears sufficient to staveoreign exchange or budgetary crisis. Thus, current economic difficulties do not appear sufficient to cause any significant failing away of Duvalier's support. Preliminary Indica-tions with respect tooffee crop are promising.

In sum, we consider it unlikely that the internal opposition will be able to overthrow the Duvalier government ln the short run. However,year-old Duvalieriabetic and has suffered at least one heart attack,his health appears to have improved in recent months. His departure from theby natural causes oralmost certainly be followedtruggle for power. There is no one leader who could command the quick and widespread support necessary for strongThe military would be likely to seize control of the government, bul probably would not be able to stabilize the situation. Thewould probablyeriod of disorder similar to the nine-month hiatus preceding the Installation of Duvalier. when sixgovernments rose and fell. In such an unstable situation, pro-Castro elements would certainly strive to gain control of HalU.

II. CONSEQUENCES Of 7RUJILlO'S ASSASSINATION

he assassination of Generalissimois unlikely to have any Important direct effect on the Haitian situation. Despite the psychological encouragement Trujillo's death has almost certainly given lo opponents of Duvalier, tt has not changed the presently unfavorable situation confronting them in Haiti.

S If guerrilla operations develop in th*Republic, Ihey might spill over the Haitian frontier, but probably not to such an extent as to involve major clashes or toerious unsettling effect on the position of the Duvalier regime within Haiti. Weit extremely unlikely that either Castro or the presentDominlcan regime wouldmilitary operations in or against Haiti in view of the risks of US or OAS counter-action. Major subversive pressures on Haiti from the Dominican Republic would probably arise only in the event that pro-Castrogained power In the Dominican

he unsettled stale of affairs in theRepublic to his cast, coupled with the presenceevolutionary Cuba to his west, will probably reinforce Duvalier's sense ofon US economic, military, andsupport. At Ihe same time, Duvalier will probably attempt to trade on the notion that the US must support him as the only one capable of providing stable government in Haiti. Castro and his Latin Americanwill almost certainly seek to exploit indications of US support for Duvalier asof US affinity (or dictators At present, with the troubles of the Trujillo dynastyhemisphere attention on the island, such Castro propaganda would probably do some damage to the US position in Latin America.

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