Haiti Table of Contents
Budgetary irregularities have impeded assessments of Haiti's expenditures on national defense and the police forces. Throughout much of the Duvalier era, significant portions of the nation's security budget either went unrecorded or disappeared in a maze of interdepartmental transfers directed by officials in the Presidential Palace. Therefore, it was difficult to judge how these payments affected Haiti's economy. Defense expenditures that were recorded were generally modest. Moreover, because of Haiti's convoluted politics, it is impossible to determine whether the money allocated for defense ever benefited the nation's army or police force. Undetermined amounts were undoubtedly siphoned off by corrupt individuals.
Haiti's defense expenditures grew slowly in the 1970s and the 1980s. Some efforts in the late 1970s to modernize the military, especially the air corps, coupled with the Duvalier regime's growing sense of insecurity led to increased expenditures. After that period, however, military spending remained constant at about US$30 million a year. Between 1975 and 1985, military spending averaged about 8 percent of government expenditures, or between 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent of the gross national product (GNP--see Glossary; table 13, Appendix A).
In the twentieth century, the United States has been the primary source of foreign military support in terms of matériel and financing. Moderate levels of military expenditure and a marginal amount of foreign influence on Haiti's national security reflected the deinstitutionalization of the Haitian armed forces that took place after the 1950s.
The United States occupation resulted in a technically competent and logistically well-equipped Haitian military that was really a national constabulary. United States military missions to Haiti during World War II, the 1950s, and the early 1960s helped to maintain links between the two countries; and, despite François Duvalier's displeasure with United States efforts to modernize the Haitian armed forces, he agreed to several purchases of military equipment and services from Washington. Between 1964 and 1970, these purchases included a number of aging aircraft, the overhaul of all five Haitian F-51s, a mix of small arms, and a number of patrol boats. By the early 1970s, the newly created Leopard Corps had become the focus of procurement efforts, and Washington openly approved private arms sales and training programs. Overall, between 1950 and 1977 the United States provided an estimated US$3.4 million in military aid and training for 610 Haitian students in the United States.
During the late 1970s, Haiti acquired small arms from other countries. The aircraft were never put to use because of chronic training deficiencies and maintenance problems; still, when the regime encountered difficulties in the early to mid-1980s, it grounded much of the Air Corps and removed its ordnance to prevent bombing runs on the Presidential Palace.
In the 1980s, the United States intermittently provided aid and assistance in support of Haitian security needs through credits or commercial military sales, a Military Assistance Program (MAP), and an International Military Education and Training Program (IMET). Commercial sales of military goods, primarily crowd-control equipment, increased substantially in the last two years of Jean-Claude Duvalier's regime; they amounted to US$3.2 million in 1985. Earlier in the 1980s, the United States had sustained a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) financing program for Haiti that amounted to about US$300,000 a year. Expenditures on the IMET program ranged from US$150,000 to US$250,000 a year. About 200 Haitian students benefited from the IMET from 1980 to 1985.
Military assistance from the United States came to a halt when the elections of 1987 failed. The United States also cut off resources to upgrade the nation's justice and police system, although some funding for narcotics-control efforts continued. In 1989 only an IMET training program was likely to receive funding from the United States. Washington was also considering, however, some support for efforts to disarm Duvalierist forces.
Data as of December 1989
Haiti Table of Contents