Contrary_Destinies“Provides a wealth of information about the nature of American occupations in Haiti that can be useful to Latin American historians and political scientists interested in international relations between the United States and other countries in the region.”–Leslie G. Desmangles, author of The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti

“Unpacks the cultural, political, and economic impact of U.S. occupation, and by extension, American imperialism in Haiti.”–Quito Swan, author of Black Power in Bermuda: The Struggle for Decolonization

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In 1915, United States Marines arrived in Haiti to safeguard lives and property from the political instability of the time. While there, the Marine Corps controlled everything from finance to education, from health care to public works and built an army, “La Garde d’Haiti,” to maintain the changes it implemented. Ultimately, the decisions made by the United States about and for Haiti have indelibly shaped the development of what is generally considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Contrary Destinies presents the story of the one hundred year relationship between the two countries. Leon Pamphile chronicles the internal, external, and natural forces that have shaped Haiti as it is today, striking a balance between the realities faced by the people on the island and the global and transnational contexts that affect their lives. He examines how American policies towards the Caribbean nation–during the Cold War and later as the United States became the sole world superpower–and the legacies of the occupation contributed to the gradual erosion of Haitian independence, culminating in a second occupation and the current United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Leon D. Pamphile is founder and executive director of the Functional Literacy Ministry of Haiti. He is the author of Haitians and African Americans: A Heritage of Tragedy and Hope. 

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