Peace Talks: Negotiation between the Haitian Elite and the Chimeres
In February 2004, the first democratically elected president of Haiti was removed and afforded protection by the United States government after a series of civilian non-violent protests led and funded by Haiti's minority economic elite. Aristide was accused of birthing and sustaining the Chimeres, gang leaders residing in Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest ghetto, to support his drug deals and terrorize the elite through kidnappings and looting of their businesses. After Aristide's departure, the United States put in place an interim government and the United Nations introduced peacekeeping troops to Haiti without having identified warring parties and consequently without a peace agreement in place to enforce. The UN presence has served as an extra police force for the elite to maintain and assert power over the poor people by raiding the ghettos to eliminate kidnapping cells.
Recently, members of the Haitian clergy with the aid of foreign facilitators have attempted to renew failed communication between the elite and gang leaders as a result of the proximity of Cite Soleil to the business sector of downtown. The Clergy's goal is to protect the poor from the elite's' ability to wage war against them. The Chimeres have been stripped of their political identity and purpose and their use of violence delegitimized because of the elite's power over media and the international community.
This paper will present, attempt to analyze the current state of the negotiation and evaluate both the obstacles that will arise throughout the process and the benefits that may ensue as a result of the negotiation. Lastly, the paper will propose an alternative framework through which the negotiation process should be conducted and will discuss the need to incorporate other segments of Civil Society and the government in these dialogues.
Keywords: History, Anthropology, Negotiation, Facilitation, Mediation, Class Wars
Master's Student, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University