President Cincinnatus Leconte Anti-Syrian Stance Ends His Life

Michel Cincinnatus Leconte, descendent of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first head of state of the new Republic of Haiti, assumed the office of the presidency, backed by Parliament in August 1911. Prior to his ascendency, Leconte had been appointed Minister of the Interior by President Pierre Nord Alexis, but was pressured to flee to Jamaica when a coup ran Alexis out of office in 1908. François Antoine Simon then held the office.


By 1911 Cincinnatus Leconte returned, amassing an army to remove Simon from office by force. He was successful, arriving in Port-au-Prince a hero. In gratitude, Parliament ushered him into office, with an unprecedented seven-year term.

Leconte was a reformist, who made significant improvements in Haiti's infrastructure, among them street paving, teacher wage increases, extension of telephone service, and partial disbandment of the national army. Although the U.S. considered his government the most competent and incorruptible in four decades, his attitude regarding Syrians was harshly prejudicial.

Making good on a campaign promise, he re-instated a1903 clause in the Constitution, decreasing the immigration quota and putting legal restraints on businesses. This oppressed the Syrian merchant class and obstructed Syrian immigration as much as possible. Cincinnatus Leconte suffered the consequences as a result of this course of action. Not long after his crack-down on Syrian commercial interests and opportunities, he was--according to the official version of events--accidentally killed in a bomb explosion at the National Palace. But nationals say it was an assassination in disguise.

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Read more: Haiti National Palace, immigration, corruption, National Palace, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Syrian Immigration, Cincinnatus Leconte, Noirism, Government

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