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U.S. Occupation of Haiti (1915).

Pictorial Preparation & Narration by Frankie Morone.
Some of these pictures were taken by a U.S. Marine named: Raymond. Apparently he was a freelance photographer and he developed his own films.One can notice his name on the negative of his pictures.

Following the instability and the brutal murder of President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, the U.S. intervened in Haiti in 1915, with a huge armed force to restore order. Many American officials then believed that the U.S. was going to help in the peaceful governance of the country because Haitians were unable to govern themselves. One more reason was to protect the lives and properties of Americans and foreigners living there. The U.S. was also concerned by the possible involvement of Germany, France or England over Haiti.

By 1916, Haiti was a protectorate of the U.S. Once there, the Americans changed the Constitution that forbade foreigners to own land in Haiti. With this clause, much of the land were either sold or given to Americans. Furthermore, elections now became fraudulent. Dartignave was litterally hand picked by Caperton over Dr. R. Bobo and J.N. Leger. The Haitian Senate was dissolved, treaties were passed by force, martial law was declared and the press was censored. Once there, the Americans controlled everything except education and the judicial system.

The Marines came to Haiti in 1915 with preconceived ideas about the country’s capacity for self-government. In addition, there were many racial misconceptions towards Haiti. Once there, Admiral Caperton ruled by coercion and physical intimidation. Haitians were barred from the higher offices in the administration, which were taken by Americans.

Haitians were determined to keep their independence. They were very protective over their sovereignty. Rebels called “Cacaos” by the Americans vehemently tried to resist American control of Haiti. Some sources suggest that close to 3000 Haitians were killed defending their nation against the occupants.

However by 1934, Stenio Vincent had one dream in mind: the inoccupation of Haiti. He succeeded in achieving that goal. The U.S. left thinking they had implemented peace and security in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Beneath the surface lied resentment against the American occupation. As Dantes Bellgarde puts it, “Haiti does not have peace. Peace, real peace is not material order imposed by the force of bayonets.”
Haiti’s subsequent governments (Lescot, Estimé) fell under protest by the masses .Then the army intervened and put a new president. That culminated into the Duvalier’s lengthy dictatorship. After his reign, the following leaders were quite unsuccessful, for they were violently overthrown, resigned or forced into exile. Today, Haiti is in total chaos.

This presidential parade Haiti is witnessing is clear evidence that the occupation failed to teach and give Haiti the tools to maintain a democracy. Instead it championed military might, formed dictators and ultimately reinforced the idea that power comes from the hand holding a gun.

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Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, (Feb-July 1915)

(Courtoisie & Narration by Frankie Morone)
His murder did in part caused the US invasion.

Jean Vilburn Guillaume Sam had a personal ambition to be President of Haiti. He was the one who had helped Cincinnati's Leconte win the presidency a few years earlier. Son of a the former president Tiresias Simon Sam, he took the oath of office on March 1915.

Before he became president, General Sam was in the North (Cap Haitien) where he had proclaimed himself "chief of the disaffected". With an army of about 1000 men, he began to march towards Port-au-Prince. The opposition finally rallied with him. By Febrruary 25, 1915 he reached P- au- P. escorted by 300 mounted troops and an army of 3000.

At that time, national elections as we know it did not exist in Haiti. Elections were simply a continuation of military system under which the country is governed. In order to consolidate his power, the new president began to arrest potential and perceived, sometimes imaginary political opponents and/or their family members. By the end of April there were at least 200 of Haiti's most privileged people in the PENITENCIER NATIONAL. All of them were arrested without a warrant and no evidence that they were conspiring against the government. The chief of police CHARLES OSCAR ETIENNE had received an ordinance from his boss (Vilbrun G .Sam) that he should kill all the prisoners if any one tried to overthrow the regime.

On the morning of July 27th 1915, before dawn someone shot Sam in the leg. Panicking he crossed over to the French Embassy next to the Palais National. As soon as the news of the shooting reached ETIENNE, he orderered the massacre of all political prisoners. The Haitian people were outraged and killed him by setting his body on fire. By 6:00 PM the people were in front of the French embassy requesting Sam's release.

The following day, after the funeral of the political prisoners, people entered the embassy, took Vilbrun G. Sam and killed him, and dismembered his body. The crowd paraded the streets of the capital with portions of his body. On the same night THE MARINES landed in Port-au-Prince to protect American and foreign interests.

Uploaded: May 02, 2006
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