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FAU Lecture Addresses Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti

BOCA RATON, FL (September 10, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will present the lecture “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti” on Thursday, September 27 at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building, room 101, Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be presented by Jeb Sprague, a sociologist/author from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

In his book by the same name, Sprague investigates the dangerous world of right-wing paramilitarism in Haiti and its role in undermining the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people. Sprague focuses on the period beginning in 1990 with the rise of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the right-wing movements that succeeded in driving him from power. Over the ensuing two decades, paramilitary violence was largely directed against the poor and supporters of Aristide’s Lavalas movement, taking the lives of thousands of Haitians. Sprague seeks to understand how this occurred, and traces connections between paramilitaries and their elite financial and political backers not only in Haiti but also in the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Spraque spent years doing research for this book, which draws on more than 50 interviews and more than 11,000 documents secured through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. His research is a reminder of how democratic struggles in poor countries are often met with extreme violence organized at the behest of those with money.

Sprague is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received a Project Censored Award in 2008 for an article coauthored with Haitian journalist Wadner Pierre from Port-au-Prince, and has written for many publications including the Inter Press Service, TeleSUR, Al Jazeera, Z Magazine, NACLA, Haiti Liberté, and Haiti Progrès.

For more information about the lecture or about the Peace Studies Program at FAU, contact Doug McGetchin, director of FAU Peace Studies, at or 561-799-8226. A map of the FAU campus can be found at


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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