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Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Once the most lucrative European colony in the Caribbean, Haiti has long been one of the most divided and impoverished countries in the world. In the late 1980s a remarkable popular mobilization known as Lavalas, or “the flood,” sought to liberate the island from decades of US-backed dictatorial rule. After winning a landslide election victory, in 1991 the Lavalas governme ...more
Paperback, 482 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by Verso (first published April 7th 2007)
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Randall Wallace
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The declaration of Haitian independence (in 1803) thereby dealt the myth of white supremacy a mortal and thus unforgivable blow. Arguably, there is no single event in the whole of modern history whose implications were more threatening to the dominant global order of things.” It became the inspiration for the Latin American and African liberation movements. Of the three great Revolutions of the late Eighteenth Century (US, France, Haiti), only the Haitian Revolution was really about equality fo ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing

Review of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment

by Ben Terrall / April 5th, 2008

Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment
by Peter Hallward
Paperback: 488 pages
Publisher: Verso (April 7, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1844671062
ISBN-13: 978-1844671069

Of all the illegal and dishonest misadventures that the Bush Administration got away with, the least criticized of all might be the 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s
Mark Hebden
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, politics
There is a political party in Haiti called Fanmi Lavalas, roughly translated in to English as Waterfall Family, this is the Flood of the title of this book, the flood is the people. The damming is the attempt by the international community to stop the people having their day. I consider myself sceptical of developed nations interventions in third and developing world countries, and yet as I read this book by Peter Hallward even I was shocked at the lengths the US and France Mainly, but others as ...more
Eric Phetteplace
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prose
As a disclaimer, I didn't finish this book nor will I return to it anytime soon, but what I read really impressed me. Hallward is amazingly thorough in his research and the mess of details really piles up to paint a disturbing picture of how the US and other international entities have disrupted Haitian politics in an effort to keep it a deregulated source of cheap labor and new markets. If anything, the book was too full of details, grinding through each minor step of history where many could h ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really amazing book - really puts together a ton of history and research to make a compelling case that basically anti-Aristide "grassroots movements" actually just represent the latest incarnation of Western neo-colonialism in Haiti. It's also fascinating how many parallels there are between Aristide in Haiti and Chavez in Venezuela (for example the concerted efforts of the media, funded by USAID et al., to demonize the leader as a demented psychopath). Like George Ciccariello-Maher's "We Cre ...more
May 07, 2008 added it
Shelves: reviews
Four years ago this month, Canada supported a discreditable act of regime-change in Haiti -- a chain of events that ended with the removal of a legitimate head of state. It's a useful incident to remember as politicians and military men put on their most earnest faces to justify Canadians dying for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan.

Here is what's happening in that re-configured Haiti today:

read more ...
David Clayton
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anyone interested in understanding the meaning of international aid should read this book. A real horror story about the unseen underside of consumer culture and the sickening lengths that global power will go to in order to preserve the status quo.
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, haiti
Hallward does an excellent job of explaining the complexities of Haitian history and politics over the past 50 years. He succeeds in presenting a unbiased account of Aristides rise to power - not an easy feat in a country where politics are polarised between the masses on the one hand and the small elite along with their US and French masters on the other. For a definitive understanding of Haiti over the past 50 years this book is it.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Really good, readable explanation of the conflict in Haiti that illuminates key strategies of the US in dealing with the global south and the intrinsic politics of capital.
Sep 11, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: américa-central
Un detallado relato de la «contención democrática» de la política radical en Haití: «Las trilladas tácticas de “fomento de la democracia” nunca se han aplicado con efectos más devastadores que en Haití entre 2000 y 2004». No se puede pasar por alto la ironía del hecho de que el nombre del movimiento político emancipatorio que sufrió esta presión internacional sea Lavalas, «inundación» en creole, el desbordamiento de los expropiados que inunda las comunidades valladas. Por eso resulta tan apropia ...more
Priscilla Previl
May 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: haiti
Unfortunately this book falls helplessly short of reality, serving as several hundred pages of pro-Aristide propaganda rather than an objective and accurate account of what really went on under Aristide. We get that Hallward is a liberal and that he blames the U.S. for Haiti's problems. We get that Hallward is a disciple of Aristide in the example of Paul Farmer. What we do not get is a balanced perspective. We get conspiracy theories based remnant of truth, and assertions made without ground. W ...more
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating critique. The 2010 edition contains an Afterword commenting on the post-earthquake situation.
I was troubled by the amount of grammatical errors that made it into the book. It was fewer than ten, but enough to be unprofessional. Didn't detract from the work as a whole, though, which was incredibly well-researched.
Kari Gang
May 11, 2010 rated it liked it
A slanted view of recent Haitian politics. Pro Aristide. Enjoyed learning more about government difficulties in this country that is essentially a model for modern slavery. The time is ripe, after the earthquake and with money flooding in, to make some changes. Haiti recognizes this and I'm hoping for the best.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hallward might not be a good philosopher as he wants us to believe but he is one of the best political minds. Wholeheartedly recommended!
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