Jean-Bertrand Aristide Ousted from Presidency in Military Coup

On September 30, 1991, after his own government, led by Prime Minister René Préval, failed a non-confidence vote by the FNCD-controlled parliament, Aristide attempted to rule alone.

The army performed a coup against him. He was deposed on September 29, 1991, and, in accordance with the requirements of Article 149 of the Haitian Constitution, Superior Court Justice Joseph Nérette was installed as President Provisoire to serve until elections were held within 90 days of Aristide's resignation. These elections were scheduled, but were cancelled (according to Aristide and others, both the coup and the cancellation were the result of American pressure). However, real power was held by army commander Raoul Cédras.

Aristide spent his exile first in Venezuela and then in the United States, working hard to develop international support. A United Nations embargo during Aristide's exile was a strong blow to Haiti's already weak economy.On September 30, 1991, after his own government, led by Prime Minister René Préval, failed a non-confidence vote by the FNCD-controlled parliament, Aristide attempted to rule alone. The army performed a coup against him. He was deposed on September 29, 1991, and, in accordance with the requirements of Article 149 of the Haitian Constitution, Superior Court Justice Joseph Nérette was installed as President Provisoire to serve until elections were held within 90 days of Aristide's resignation. These elections were scheduled, but were cancelled (according to Aristide and others, both the coup and the cancellation were the result of American pressure). However, real power was held by army commander Raoul Cédras.

Aristide spent his exile first in Venezuela and then in the United States, working hard to develop international support. A United Nations embargo during Aristide's exile was a strong blow to Haiti's already weak economy.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected twice to the presidency of Haiti, in 1990 and in 2000, and was forced into exile mid-term both times, in 1991 and 2004. Born into poverty near Port-Salut, Aristide was educated by Catholic priests of the Salesian Order and, after studying in Haiti and abroad in Rome and Israel, was ordained as a priest in 1983. During the '80s Aristide became a national figure as a defender of the poor against the oppressive policies of the ruling Duvalier family. After the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986, Aristide became more involved in politics, survived several assassination attempts and was eventually expelled from the Salesian Order for advocating revolution. With popular support and help from the United States, in 1991 Aristide took office as Haiti's first democratically elected president (elected in December of 1990). After he had served just seven months in office, however, a military coup sent him into exile, first in Venezuela and then in the United States.