The centenary of the United States military invasion of Haiti, the start of a 19-year occupation and the first of several US military deployments to the impoverished country, is a prompt for anti-American demonstrations in Port-Au-Prince.
Many Haitians blame Washington for the country's chronic instability and read sinister motives in all US involvement in Haiti.
The United States Government was interested in Haiti as a naval base for decades before the invasion. It stepped up its involvement in 1915 when President Woodrow Wilson sent in the US Marines to restore order and maintain political and economic stability in the Caribbean after the assassination of the Haitian president. The US occupation continued until 1934 and Washington maintained fiscal control until 1947. The United States adopted a hands-off approach during the three decades when the Duvaliers and their Tontons Macoutes militia brutalized the country, but troops returned at intervals in following decades with varied goals.
Some deployments were drug sweeps by elite military units. In 1994 US President Bill Clinton sent troops to Haiti to restore ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power and to head off a potential wave of Haitian refugees. That occupation lasted five years. On Mar 1, 2004, US troops escorted Aristide into exile. His supporters accused the United States of kidnapping their leader.
After the 2010 earthquake, US troops were deployed again as part of the vast humanitarian mission, but their presence caused local suspicion.
Date written/update: 2014-11-10