On February 29, 2004, the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was taken out of office with a US sponsored military coup, supported by France and Canada.
Several months later, Marc Sanssoucis came to America and had to repeat the fifth grade, due to the four months of school he missed while violence was rampant throughout the country during the time Aristide was in office.
People wanted Aristide out of office, and this resulted in internal conflict in the country.
Sanssoucis remembers the president getting supporters from the young.
“He gave guns to kids 10 to 15 years old,” Sanssocuis said.
They were uprooting the country, shooting and robbing random people, he continued.
Aristide’s supporters were accused of various human rights abuses, including police corruption and attacks on free speech. So, the rebels grouped together as a makeshift army. The people accused Aristide of corruption and they wanted him out. He relied on violence, intimidation, and fraud to maintain power.
All of this violence caused Haiti to be in shambles, and at the tender age of 10, Sanssoucis had to learn how violence could disrupt a country.
“It was terrible because nobody could go to school,” Sanssoucis said. “The country was upside down.”
Sanssoucis said that it was really hard for the students and the teachers to get to school. It was even harder to communicate.
“Right now, everybody has a phone,” Sanssoucis said. “Back then, you couldn’t call the school. It was tough.”
A normal day involved staying in the house, he continued. Curfew was at 6 p.m.
“There were rumors that the Haitians would look for people to kill,” Sanssoucis said. “If you were a student, they would be against you.”
The instability in the region is still going on, as the country has yet to find a president that will be able to bring stability to the country.