International Information

International Operation Name: Operation PRINCIPAL

International Mission Name: Operation PRINCIPAL

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Central America

Location: Haiti

Mission Date: 28 February 2004 - 3 March 2004

Mission Mandate: To evacuate Canadian Nationals from Haiti.

Mission/Operation Notes: In late 2003 Haiti held legislative election which were boycotted by the opposition. The boycott caused the failure of the election, and subsequently in January 2004 when the previous legislatures term expired, president Jean Bertrand Aristide ruled a severely divided nation by executive decree.

In early February 2004 heavily armed rebel groups began to stage attacks against police and supporters of President Aristide in various Haitian cities. By the end of the month, the rebels controlled nearly half of Haiti and most of its large cities, with the exception of Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city. Both the United States and France attempted to intervene in the growing crisis by proposing that Aristide share power with the political opposition. But as the proposal was being considered, the armed rebel groups advanced on Port-au-Prince and on February 29 Aristide resigned and was flown to the Central African Republic.

In early February 2004, at the request of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the DND began planning for an operation to assist DFA efforts to evacuate Canadians and other nationals from Haiti. Designated operation PRINCIPAL, it involved four CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 8 Wing in Trenton, and more than 100 CF personnel.

Staging out of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic capital, between Saturday 28 February and Wednesday 3 March 2004 CF aircraft conducted 11 flights transporting about 340 people out of Haiti, of which approximately 200 were Canadian Citizens. The remainder were of different nationalities and included French, American and Dutch citizens. CF aircraft also delivered 50 liters of blood from the Dominican Republic to Haiti on behalf of the Red Cross, delivered five pallets of humanitarian aid supplies, and evacuated one woman who had suffered gunshot wounds.

By Wednesday the 3rd of March, commercial flights had begun flying into Port-au-Prince again and the requirement to evacuate personnel no longer existed. CF personnel were stood down and Operation PRINCIPAL came to an end.


Sgt Frank Hudec, Canadian Forces Combat Camera 

A Canadian Forces (CF) CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft carrying Canadian citizens, departs Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Two Hercules aircraft flew out 46 Canadians and 17 people of other nationalities Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004.

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