Haiti Table of Contents

During the post-Duvalier period, other developments in the media, party organization, labor unions, and professional associations took place. Understanding these changes is essential to understanding Haiti's political environment.

The Tonton Makout Network

The Duvalier dynasty held power longer than any other regime in Haitian history. The duration of the dynasty enabled the thorough entrenchment of Duvalierist institutions and the development of a patronage system. One of the more important of these institutions was the VSN. After the VSN's dissolution, former tonton makout leaders remained at large, and some were politically active throughout the post-Duvalier period. The old makout networks also continued to function within the army. As of 1989, they were the main obstacle to free, fair, and popular elections in Haiti, and thet were the most significant threat to domestic security.

Through the VSN, the Duvalier regime had politicized rural Haiti. The VSN had expanded the president's influence to remote areas, and it had incorporated rural Haiti into a political system once limited almost exclusively to Port-au-Prince. The VSN had assured political control of the hinterlands, but it had given peasants no new voice in the political process. It had created a rural awareness of Port-au-Prince and events there, however, a consciousness of the national political system, and new political aspirations. The VSN had engendered a generalized disrespect for political institutions, and it had heightened expectations of profit from the political system.

Political Parties
The Upper and the Middle Classes
Other Groups

More about the Government and Politics of Haiti.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress