How Did President Clinton React When Military Leaders in Haiti Overthrew President Aristide

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

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How did President Clinton react when military leaders in Haiti overthrew President Aristide? Well, Clinton launched a two-prong strategy to help recover democracy in Haiti.

The U.S US government found itself entangled in Haiti’s Political crisis as a result of the massive Haitian immigration to the U.S US, as the citizens attempted to flee from their home country.

More involvement between President Bill Clinton and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide followed, all in an effort to restore and uphold democracy in Haiti.

President Clinton’s Response to the Crisis in Haiti


The president’s term is remembered today for the Bill Clinton domestic policy on education, social welfare, healthcare, and more.

One of President Clinton’s domestic goals was to address these areas. But another noteworthy aspect of his presidency was the Operation Restore and Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

For context, the crisis was triggered by the overthrow of president Aristide. He was overthrown by a coup-d’etat staged by the opposition composed of businessmen and military forces who did not agree with the principles of democracy.

The coup-d’etat successfully forced Aristide into exile, and put into place a military dictatorship style of governing headed by Army General Cédras.

During the Haiti coup, the military rule proved brutal and violent, that the citizens started fleeing to neighboring nations and even braved open waters in order to seek safety in countries like the United States.

Following US foreign policy, the refugees were intercepted at sea and were repatriated. This also began the US involvement in Haiti’s political turmoil.

United States intervention in Haiti began with Clinton inviting Aristide to the White House, where the former committed to supporting the latter’s efforts to regain his presidency and, consequently, regain democracy in Haiti.

Clinton started meeting with Army General Cédras in order to negotiate and arrange Aristide’s return to Haiti. However, domestic terrorism heightened and unrest intensified, thus disrupting Atistide’s supposed return to Haiti.

The intensity of violence in Haiti and the rising cases of human rights violations, led to the United Nations authorizing the US to begin military intervention. As mentioned, President Clinton’s response to Aristide’s overthrow was his launch of a two-prong strategy, one that involved:

  1. Deploying military forces to help execute Aristide’s return to presidency (by threatening Haiti’s military dictators that the US will invade if met with hostility)
  2. Forming a diplomatic team to function as intermediaries.

Clinton’s actions were successful; Aristide was restored to the presidency and Army General Cédras left for exile. Aristide completed his remaining term and was once again elected for presidency, later in 2001.


The answer to the question “How did President Clinton react when military leaders in Haiti overthrew President Aristide?” is a narrative of Haiti’s democratic struggle, and the success of Clinton’s two-prong strategy. The aftermath of Clinton’s involvement, however, was followed by numerous controversies.

These controversies led to the public questioning president clinton’s stand on haiti; whether or not he was merely making money off of Haiti-intended financial donations, or if he had legitimate intentions of championing progress for the country.

Anyway, these topics require discussions of their own. In the meantime, hopefully this article provided you with helpful information.

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