This article analyzes the shifts in the balance of power between Aristide and the Haitian dominant and middle classes and the foreign powers (the United States, France, and Canada) during the two periods of Aristide's presidency (1991/1994-1996, and 2001-2004). In the first period, an energized popular movement led Aristide to power with significant support among progressive sectors of the middle class and signaled a potential realignment of forces that the Haitian bourgeoisie and its foreign backers believed threatened their interests. The coup d'état of September 1991 was the dominant class's response to that perceived threat. The article considers the role of Aristide's erratic behavior in justify the coup d'état that would have happened in any case. In the second period, the popular movement was divided and weak, the progressive middle class parties broke with him to form an alliance with the bourgeoisie and the foreign troika. The article assesses the role of corruption and violence by Aristide and his Lavalas Family party in his second overthrow.

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