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Haiti has long been known for its major export of Haitian migrants in search of a better way of life It is an exodus that goes back several decades however with recent times the numbers have increased dramatically In fact that numbers of Haitians fleeing Haiti in the early 1990s far exceeds the numbers recorded in earlier years Between 1972- 1979 some 8000- 10000 Haitians arrived in the United States Compare this number with the 14443 Haitians interdicted between September 30 1991 January 1 1992 By early 1994 this number totaled over 41000 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti 1994 Economic deprivation has always been the predominant influence for the migrating of Haitians yet in the early 1990s it was a repressive political system that was compelling the mass exodus of Haitians from their homeland Haiti had become a place where military forces had consolidated their rule by ruthlessly suppressing the lands once diverse and civil society that had come about after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship seven years earlier On September 29 1991 the military government headed by Lt General Prosper Avril led a coup d etat and overthrew Haitis first freely elected president Jean- Bertrand Aristide The aim was to return Haiti to the repressed and fearful society of the Duvalier era Under Avrils leadership the human rights situation in Haiti was worse than it had ever been The military executed tortured and illegally arrested countless Haitians There was no limit to what groups were targeted Those who expressed support for ousted President Artistide were particularly harassed and met with violent reprisals by the military The persistence of serious human rights violations that existed suggested an ongoing refusal of the military to relinquish power to an elected civilian government Silencing A People 1993 After the coup d etat thousands upon thousands of Haitians set forth on a long journey with hopes of seeking refuge in the United States
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