Haitian Opinions of Past and Present Presidents
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Haitian Opinions of Past and Present Presidents

This article reports the general opinions I am finding of three of HaitiÂ’s presidents and discusses their different leadership approaches.

As the presidential elections approach in Haiti, I have been speaking with Haitian immigrants here in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic about past presidents and their hopes for the future president to be elected on November 28, 2010. I found that the viewpoints shared by the average Haitian differed than the viewpoint of the average American point of view. This article reports the general opinions I am discovering regarding three of Haiti’s presidents. 

Françios Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier (Papa Doc and Baby Doc)

Many historical records portray Francois Duvalier, who was Haiti’s president from 1957 to 1971, as a ruthless murderer. The average North American reader would likely assume that the average Haitian would be grateful when such a leader is not in office. However, I am finding that this is not the case. I have spoken with many Haitians who actually testify to feeling a higher sense of security during the reign of Papa Doc and his son Baby Doc who served after his death when compared to the reign of other presidents. The reason for this higher sense of security is the fact that Duvalier placed high priority on training and utilizing a military. Historical records may cause the average North American to understand this as a dangerous or abusive way to maintain power but the Haitians I have talked to have expressed gratitude for the order that the nation experienced during this time with the presence of a strong military. Any injustices that took part during this time seem to be forgiven due to the sense of security that was apparently created. Additionally, it appears as though what is documented as ruthless murders is often understood by Haitians as protection of the order.  

Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Historical records portray Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s leadership approach to be quite contradictory. Aristide held office for three separate terms totaling roughly six years between the years 1991 and 2004. The average North American reader, when learning of Aristide’s advocation of liberation theology which promotes the liberation of the economically, socially, or politically oppressed, could assume that the average Haitian would appreciate this president’s approach. While many do seem to understand that Aristide truly cared for the poor and demonstrated that, I am hearing complaints that his approach left the country in a much more insecure state when compared with the Duvalier reign. His decision to withdraw the military that was active during Duvalier’s reign is commonly viewed as a poor decision that left the country in a state of insecurity. Aristide left the responsibility of maintaining order in the hands of the police which many people testify is not sufficient. Port-au-Prince is known for frequent kidnappings and other extreme acts of violence and abuse. This activity was apparently kept to a minimum when the military was functioning, but grew out of control when the military was removed. Therefore, the general opinion I am understanding regarding Aristide is that while he may have had good intentions, he was unable to execute practical plans to truly protect or develop the nation.

René Préval

René Préval, the current president of Haiti, has served two terms totaling nine years in office between 1996 and the present day. The general opinion of Préval among Haitians I speak with is that he is simply a figure head that occupies the position of president but does not actually do anything. Many Haitians claim that several other presidents have done the same. Preval and other presidents who are not mentioned are often referred to as thieves and said to only be interested in the role as president for the money.

Hopeful Future President

Those I have spoken with hope and pray that the next president of Haiti will make efforts to bring back a skilled and competent military presence in the country in order to create security. Economic development and improved public services are hoped for but it's difficult to make headway when the country is as insecure as it is. Many who are not familiar with Haitian culture and the violence that the country was literally founded on through a French led system of brutal slavery may not understand the manner in which so many members of the population behave when given a certain amount of freedom. Nonetheless, Haitians themselves are quite familiar with this challenge their country faces and have expressed their belief that a trained military composed of Haitians themselves is necessary to restore security. There is a general sense of doubt that UN soldiers or American soldiers can do the job as they lack the language and cultural skills to truly relate to the population and therefore create order. These foreign forces create order on a certain level but true security can only be maintained by working on a deeper level. I also hear many criticisms that the amount of money spent to pay, house, and feed foreign soldiers is a waste and could go toward the development of the country in other ways or pay Haitian soldiers who are in more need of employment.

Polls show that presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat is currently in the lead. Many believe that if elected she will serve in partnership with her husband who has served as a government official since the days of Duvalier but is in a weak physical condition and cannot, therefore, run for president. Many also believe that the couple will take the necessary steps toward bringing in a Haitian military and creating the security that the country lacks.








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Production Printing

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Analog technology

preparation: design, preparation and image processing, image reproduction, making of proof

installation image: imposition and making of proof

execution of print form: mechanical, photochemical, electronic engraving

Digital Technology

preparation: design, preparation and image processing, image reproduction, making of proof

installation image: imposition and making of proof

execution of print form: electronic engraving, CtF, from computer to the substrate, CTP, from computer to the electronic image carrier



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Thermochemical: direct thermal

Electrochemical: spark discharge

Without form

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ink-jet: Continuous, on-demand drop

Thermal Transfer: the wax carrier, sublimation

Electrostatic (digital print): electrographic, electrophotographic, electron beam, magneto

with form

convex: flexographic, typographic, offset

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Binding treatment

print finishing