U.S. Naval Mission to Haiti, 1959-1963
U.S. Marines have been sent to Haiti many times since 1800, including as recently as 1995, but one of the most intriguing operations has—until now—been the least known. The 1959-63 mission exposed America's Cold War domino theory to the quagmire of Third World political tyranny. This revealing firsthand account of the operation is a tale of good intentions gone bad. Charles Williamson offers a captivating and instructive look back at America stumbling toward costly foreign adventures and policies that continue to challenge the nation today.
Here for the first time is the full story of a mission, which included the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, that quickly became embroiled in Haiti's mystifying brew of intrigue, conspiracy, secret cabals, coups, and double-cross. All of this was linked to President "Papa Doc" Duvalier's manipulation of his country and people—and the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. An original member of the mission, the author consulted surviving records and interviewed American and Haitian participants to finally uncover the truth about such provocative stories as U.S. Marines fighting Castro-led Cuban invasion forces and covertly supporting military coup attempts. Williamson also presents previously unreported accounts of American men and women risking their lives to help Haitians being hunted and murdered by Duvalier's Tonton Macoute death squads.
By so effectively portraying the human costs of one of America's first foreign policy failures of the Cold War, Williamson has given us a timely and very readable warning about future uses of the military in operations short of war.