During the Duvalier rule, a young priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide became
a leading voice in the opposition.
When the country finally held elections
in 1990, Aristide dubbed his campaign "Lavalas" or a cleansing flood,
and won 67 percent of the vote.
many Haitians hoped his election would usher in peace and prosperity to the young
democracy, Aristide was ousted a year later in a military coup. The coup, led
by Brig. Gen. Raoul Cedras, led to economic sanctions against the country by both
the United States and the United Nations.
In 1994 U.S. forces arrived in
Haiti to oversee a peaceful transition from military rule to civilian rule. Aristide
returned to power for a short time, but it wasn't until 2000 that he was again
Today, the country of 8 million people is considered
the poorest in North, South and Latin America and has one of the highest rates
of AIDS in the world.
contested legislative elections in 2000, Aristide's opponents have refused to
recognize his party's leadership and have held mass demonstrations in the country's
In the last few months, the violence has escalated
and 69 people have died in clashes with the police since September.
Kristina Nwazota, Online NewsHour