"Since the virtual withdrawal of U.S. troops and the inauguration of Rene Preval as President in February 1996, Congress has been concerned that U.S. assistance to Haiti be effective, that Haitian leaders pursue democratic reforms, including the holding of free and fair elections, adopt sound economic policies, improve security conditions in Haiti, and fully investigate reported human rights abuses. Concern over political stability increased with President Preval's controversial dissolution of the Haitian Parliament in January 1999, and his rule by decree after that. This followed an election dispute that had remained unresolved since April 1997 and the lack of a fully functioning government since the resignation of Prime Minister Rosny Smarth on June 9, 1997. This political paralysis has also contributed to economic stagnation, preventing major reforms from being finalized, and impeding access to over $500 million in international assistance. The Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY2002 would prohibit assistance to Haiti except through regular notification procedures; no other conditions on aid to Haiti are in the current bill. It would also allow Haiti to purchase defense articles and services for the Haitian Coast Guard. FY2000 assistance to Haiti was $82 million; the estimate for FY2001 is $76 million; the request for FY2002 is $55 million."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB96019