Republic of Haiti
The Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti) occupies the western part of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Originally inhabited by the Taino people, the indigenous population was decimated in the decades following the landing of Christopher Columbus, and the island was eventually claimed as Spanish territory, where it was a major destination for slaves who labored in the sugar, coffee and indigo fields. The Treaty of Ryswick (1697) split the island in two, granting French ownership to the region later known as Haiti, and Spanish ownership to what eventually became the Dominican Republic. Beginning in 1791 a revolt led by slaves and free people of color marked the early stages of an instability that would characterize Haitian government for more than two centuries. Declaring independence in 1804, the new nation was named Ayiti (Haiti) from the native Taino-Arawak and Fon dialect of West Africa, and it became the destination of a mass exodus of free people of color, French Creoles, slaves and others from around the world. Yet the government established under the slave revolt would be broken shortly after it was established (1806) and the region divided into a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south. The nation was not reunited until 1821, when President Jean Pierre Boyer not only extended his control over the north but militarily seized the recently freed Dominican part of the island as well (which it would retain until 1842).
Over the course of its history, Haiti has endured 32 coups d'etat which have cost tens of thousands of lives and greatly hampered the nation's economic growth. The United States intervened militarily twice (in 1915 and 1934), but did nothing to prevent Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo from ordering the murder of as many as 20,000 Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border in 1937.
The period of Haitian history from 1957 to 1986 was dominated by the hereditary dictatorship of the Duvalier family. Although hugely popular with the black population, Dr. François "Papa Doc" Duvalier (1957-71) and members of his Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (MVSN) (Tonton Macoutes) established a legacy of arrest, torture and the brutal executions of all their political opponents. His son, Jean-Claude "Bébé Doc" Duvalier, continued the tradition but was forced into exile in 1986. The 1990s were then marked by another coup d'etat and establishment of a military government, which in 1994 was removed both by political and military intervention led by the United States. A ten year period of relative stability ensued, but a rebellion in 2004 again tumbled the nation into unrest. In order to restore stability, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has remained in the country to this day.
The Forces Armées d'Haïti or FAd'H consisted of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and a small Gendarmerie. After years of military interference in politics, including dozens of military coups, Haiti disbanded its military in 1995. The security of the nation was handled by solely by the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Coast Guard until 2013, when the nation began action to reform its Armed Forces.
Camouflage Patterns of the Haiti
- During the last couple of decades of its existence, the Haitian Army wore US m81 woodland pattern camouflage uniforms. Dissident groups can still be found wearing some of the old uniforms.
- Special units (SWAT) of the Haitian Police have been issued US tricolor desert camouflage uniforms in some numbers from around 2004 onwards.
- The Groupe d'Intervention of the Haitian National Police wear a dark grey camouflage pattern that uses the same drawings as the m81 woodland pattern.
- National Police trainees have been documented wearing an urban or grey tiger stripe pattern uniform.
- Although still in its infancy in 2014, the fledgling Armed Forces of Haiti have been observed wearing a copy of the USMC MARPAT camouflage design with slightly more green colorway. The pattern is similar to that of Ecuador, and may in fact be supplied by the same source.
- Falling under the jurisdiction of the Police Nationale d'Haiti, the Corps d'Intervention et de Maintien de l'Ordre (CIMO) is an anti-riot type unit that wears a pixelated camouflage pattern heavily influenced by the USMC desert MARPAT design.
- Additional units of the Police Nationale wear a copy of ATACS arid, as seen below.