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Notes from the Last Testament, by veteran reporter Michael Deibert, is a riveting narrative account of the events leading up to and including the overthrow of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A fearless correspondent and a meticulous researcher, Deibert traces the rupturing of the social-democratic coalition that originally brought Aristide to power and that had been the fruit of years of opposition to the dictatorships and military juntas. From chaotic scenes of frenzied mayhem on the streets of the bidonvilles of Port-au-Prince with their armed gangs and burning intersections to heated debates in the halls of power, these dramatic events throw into stark relief the obstacles facing the world’s nascent democracies, the trend of first world military intervention in third world affairs, and the dual legacies of slavery and colonialism.
In a remarkable and deeply humane synthesis of on-the-ground perspectives and exhaustive research, Deibert sets vivid personal testimonies alongside an analysis of the country’s rich history that reaches back to Haiti’s first days as a colony, to the time of the rebellion led by the former slave Toussaint Louverture, and extends to the present, ultimately exploring how Aristide, once a beacon of populism and democratic aspirations, came to embody brutality and misrule in the tradition of his predecessors. Along the way, Deibert introduces us to the real heroes of the Hatian people’s struggle for a just and independent society free from violence and corruption.