Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide during a an election campaign meeting in Port-au-Prince (AP)

He was hailed as a savior, a messiah and a champion of the poor who would deliver Haiti from those who wish to harm her. 

But Jean Bertrand Aristide went from leading a populist movement to being the first democratically elected president in Haiti to now living a life in near anonymity at his home in Tabarre, a Port-au-Prince suburb. 

Friday, September 30th marked the 31st anniversary of the bloody coup d’état that sent the former Catholic priest to exile in the United States. It was a day that was celebrated not only because of Aristide’s popularity but because the world’s attention had turned toward Haiti. Eventually, it would take 20,000 U.S. soldiers  to “restore democracy” in Haiti.

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Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer-prize winning, multimedia and entrepreneurial journalist. In 1999, he left the New York Times to launch the Haitian Times, a New York-based English-language publication serving the Haitian Diaspora. He is also the co-founder of the City University Graduate School of Journalism‘s Center for Community and Ethnic Media and a senior producer at CUNY TV.