Elie Lescot Ruled by Force and Intimidation

Elie Lescot became Haiti's 31st president in 1941. Born into the mulatto elite class, Lescot began his political career after the death of his wife. He served in the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament's lower house, later becoming a political appointee under presidents Borno and Vincent.


His position as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic (DR) led him to become an ally of DR President Trujillo. Trujillo's political capital helped Lescot win the presidency, despite the Chamber of Deputies opposition of him.

Elie Lescot immediately wielded power by installing himself as Commander of the Military Guard and populating government posts with Caucasian and mulatto elites. Haiti's majority black populace detested him for his prejudice.

Elie Lescot took advantage of the events of World War II to form a dictatorship. He ignored Haiti's Constitution and persuaded Parliament to cede to him absolute authority over government functions.

To bring more revenue into Haiti, he partnered with the U.S. to produce rubber-plant crops. The program failed, displacing thousands of rural farmers from their land. Lescot pleaded with the Rubber Development Corporation (RDC) to phase out its program so he could delay rising unemployment and salvage his reputation. RDC refused to comply.

Pressured, Lescot requested the U.S. to suspend repayment of outstanding debts. He was turned down. His alliance with Trujillo fell apart, but Elie Lescot maintained power through his Military Guard's brute-force actions.

Eventually, opposition forces grew and consolidated its attacks on Lescot's government. Believing he and his cabinet were at risk, he immediately left the country in 1946.

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Read more: president, Military, Coup D'Etat, Dominican Republic, Black Vs Mulato, Elite Class, Mulato, elite, Haitian President, constitution, Dictator, Elie Lescot, Dictatorship, Rafael Trujillo, Rubber, People

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