|Who is it?||Former President of Haiti|
|Birth Day||July 15, 1953|
|Birth Place||Port-Salut, Haiti, Haitians|
|Age||67 YEARS OLD|
|Prime Minister||Jean Marie Chérestal Yvon Neptune|
|Preceded by||René Préval|
|Succeeded by||Boniface Alexandre|
|Political party||Lavala Political Organization (1991-1996) Fanmi Lavalas (1996-present)|
|Spouse(s)||Mildred Trouillot (1996-present)|
|Alma mater||Collège Notre-Dame State University of Haiti University of South Africa|
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was born into poverty in Port-Salut, Sud on 15 July 1953. His father died three months after Aristide was born, and he later moved to Port-au-Prince with his mother. At age five, Aristide started school with Priests of the Salesian order. He was educated at the Collège Notre-Dame in Cap-Haïtien, graduating with honors in 1974. He then took a course of novitiate studies in La Vega, Dominican Republic, before returning to Haiti to study philosophy at the Grand Séminaire Notre Dame and psychology at the State University of Haiti. After completing his post-graduate studies in 1979, Aristide travelled in Europe, studying in Italy, Greece,  and in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala at the Cremisan Monastery. He returned to Haiti in 1982 for his ordination as a Salesian priest, and was appointed curate of a small parish in Port-au-Prince.
Between 1957 and 1986, Haiti was ruled by the family dictatorships of François "Papa Doc" and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. The misery endured by Haiti's poor made a deep impression on Aristide himself, and he became an outspoken critic of Duvalierism. Nor did he spare the hierarchy of the country's church, since a 1966 Vatican Concordat granted Duvalier one-time power to appoint Haiti's bishops. An exponent of liberation theology, Aristide denounced Duvalier's regime in one of his earliest sermons. This did not go unnoticed by the regime's top echelons. Under pressure, the provincial delegate of the Salesian Order sent Aristide into three years of exile in Montreal. By 1985, as popular opposition to Duvalier's regime grew, Aristide was back preaching in Haiti. His Easter Week sermon, "A call to holiness", delivered at the cathedral of Port-au-Prince and later broadcast throughout Haiti, proclaimed: "The path of those Haitians who reject the regime is the path of righteousness and love."
Following the violence at the aborted national election of 1987, the 1990 election was approached with caution. Aristide announced his candidacy for the presidency. Following a six-week campaign, during which he dubbed his followers the "Front National pour le Changement et la Démocratie" (National Front for Change and Democracy, or FNCD), Aristide was elected President in 1990 with 67% of the vote in what is generally recognized as the first honest election in Haitian history. However, just eight months into his presidency he was overthrown by a bloody military coup. He broke from FNCD and created the Struggling People's Organization (OPL, Organisation Politique "Lavalas") – "the flood" or "torrent" in Kréyòl.
Subsequently, Salesian officials ordered Aristide to leave Haiti, but tens of thousands of Haitians protested, blocking his access to the airport. In December 1988, Aristide was expelled from his Salesian order. A statement prepared by the Salesians called the priest's political activities an "incitement to hatred and violence", out of line with his role as a clergyman. Aristide appealed the decision, saying: "The crime of which I stand accused is the crime of preaching food for all men and women." In a January 1988 interview, he said "The solution is revolution, first in the spirit of the Gospel; Jesus could not accept people going hungry. It is a conflict between classes, rich and poor. My role is to preach and organize...." In 1994, Aristide left priesthood, ending years of tension with the church over his criticism of its hierarchy and his espousal of liberation theology. The following year, Aristide married Mildred Trouillot, with whom he had two daughters.
During successive Lavalas administrations, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and René Préval built 195 new primary schools and 104 secondary schools. Prior to Aristide's election in 1990, there were just 34 secondary schools nationwide. Lavalas also provided thousands of scholarships so that children could afford to attend church/private schools. Between 2001 and 2004, the percentage of children enrolled in primary school education rose to 72%, and an estimated 300,000 adults took part in Lavalas sponsored adult literacy campaigns. This helped the adult literacy rate rise from 35% to 55%.
Videos surfaced showing a portion of a speech by Aristide on 27 August 1991, which took place just after army and death squad members attempted to assassinate him, where he says "Don't hesitate to give him what he deserves. What a beautiful tool! What a beautiful instrument! What a beautiful piece of equipment! It's beautiful, yes it's beautiful, it's cute, it's pretty, it has a good smell, wherever you go you want to inhale it." Critics allege that he was endorsing the practice of "necklacing" opposition Activists – placing a gasoline-soaked tire around a person's neck and setting the tire ablaze – others argue he was actually speaking about people using the constitution to empower themselves. Earlier in the speech he is quoted as saying "Your tool in hand, your instrument in hand, your constitution in hand! Don't hesitate to give him what he deserves. Your equipment in hand, your trowel in hand, your pencil in hand, your Constitution in hand, don't hesitate to give him what he deserves."
A campaign of terror against Aristide supporters was started by Emmanuel Constant after Aristide was forced out. In 1993, Constant, who had been on the CIA's payroll as an informant since 1992, organized the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (FRAPH), which targeted and killed Aristide supporters.
Although there were accusations of human rights abuses, the OAS/UN International Civilian Mission in Haiti, known by the French acronym MICIVIH, found that the human rights situation in Haiti improved dramatically following Aristide's return to power in 1994. Amnesty International reported that, after Aristide's departure in 2004, Haiti was "descending into a severe humanitarian and human rights crisis". BBC correspondents say Mr Aristide is seen as a champion of the poor, and remains popular with many in Haiti. Aristide continues to be among the most important political figures in the country, and is considered by many to be the only really popular, democratically elected leader Haiti has ever had. Yet his second administration was targeted for destabilization and is remembered as a time of great difficulty of many.
In late 1996, Aristide broke from the OPL over what he called its "distance from the people" and created a new political party, the Fanmi Lavalas. The OPL, holding the majority in the Sénat and the Chambre des Députés, renamed itself the Organisation du Peuple en Lutte, maintaining the OPL acronym.
In addition to numerous educational advances, Aristide and Lavalas embarked on an ambitious plan to develop the public primary health care system with Cuban assistance. Since the devastation unleashed by Hurricane Georges in 1998, Cuba entered a humanitarian agreement with Haiti whereby Haitian doctors would be trained in Cuba, and Cuban doctors would work in rural areas. At the time of 2010 Haiti earthquake, 573 doctors had been trained in Cuba.
In 2000 Aristide published The Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization, which accused the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund of working on behalf of the world's wealthiest nations rather than in the interest of genuine international development. Aristide called for "a culture of global solidarity" to eliminate poverty as an alternative to the globalization represented by neocolonialism and neoliberalism.
A June 2005 cable states: "the GOB (Government of Brazil) officials made clear continued Brazilian resolve to keep Aristide from returning to the country or exerting political influence. The GOB had been encouraged by recent South African Government commitments to Brazil that the GSA (Government of South Africa) would not allow Aristide to use his exile there to undertake political efforts."
After René Préval, a former ally of Aristide, was elected President of Haiti in 2006, he said it would be possible for Aristide to return to Haiti.
Since the election, some high-ranking members of Lavalas have been targets for violence. Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, a leading human rights organizer in Haiti and a member of Lavalas, disappeared in August 2007. His whereabouts remain unknown and a news article states: "Like many protesters, he [Wilson Mesilien, coordinator of the pro-Aristide 30 September Foundation] wore a T-shirt demanding the return of foundation leader Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, a human rights Activist and critic of both U.N. and U.S. involvement in Haiti who disappeared in August."
Fall of 2008: On Preval's fear Aristide would return to Haiti via Venezuela
On 16 December 2009, several thousand protesters marched through Port-au-Prince calling for Aristide's return to Haiti, and protesting the exclusion of Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party from upcoming elections.
On 7 November 2010, in an exclusive interview (the last given before his return to Haiti) with independent reporter Nicolas Rossier in Eurasia Review and the Huffington Post, Aristide declared that the 2010 elections were not inclusive of his party Fanmi Lavalas and therefore not fair and free. He also confirmed his wishes to go back to Haiti but that he was not allowed to travel out of South Africa.
In February 2011, Aristide announced "I will return to Haiti" within days of the ruling Haitian government removing impediments to him receiving his Haitian passport. On 17 March 2011, Aristide departed for Haiti from his exile in South Africa. U.S. President Barack Obama had asked South African President Jacob Zuma to delay Aristide's departure to prevent him from returning to Haiti before a presidential run-off election scheduled for Sunday. Aristide's party was barred from participating in the election, and the U.S. fear his return could be "destabilizing". On Friday, 18 March 2011, he and his spouse arrived at Port-au-Prince Airport, and was greeted by thousands of supporters. He told the crowd waiting at the airport: "The exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas is the exclusion of the Haitian people. In 1804, the Haitian revolution marked the end of slavery. Today, may the Haitian people end exiles and coups d’État, while peacefully moving from social exclusion to inclusion."
Since Aristide returned to Haiti, he has abstained from political involvement. However, on 12 September 2014, Aristide was ordered under house arrest by Judge Lamarre Belzaire while under a corruption investigation. Aristide's lawyers and supporters of Fanmi Lavalas questioned the legality of the judge's order under Haitian law as well as the judge's impartiality.
At Mulet’s request, UN secretary general Kofi Annan urged South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki "to ensure that Aristide remained in South Africa".