/hay"tee/, n.
1. Formerly, Hayti. a republic in the West Indies occupying the W part of the island of Hispaniola. 6,611,407; 10,714 sq. mi. (27,750 sq. km). Cap.: Port-au-Prince.
2. Also, Hayti. a former name of Hispaniola.

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Introduction Haiti
Background: One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. Over three decades of dictatorship followed by military rule ended in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE was elected president. Most of his term was usurped by a military takeover, but he was able to return to office in 1994 and oversee the installation of a close associate to the presidency in 1996. ARISTIDE won a second term as president in 2000, and took office early in 2001. However, a political crisis stemming from fraudulent legislative elections in 2000 has not yet been resolved. Geography Haiti -
Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
Geographic coordinates: 19 00 N, 72 25 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 27,750 sq km land: 27,560 sq km water: 190 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 360 km border countries: Dominican Republic 360 km
Coastline: 1,771 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: to depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
Natural resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 20.32% permanent crops: 12.7% other: 66.98% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 750 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts Environment - current issues: extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one- third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic) People Haiti
Population: 7,063,722 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 39.5% (male 1,414,052; female 1,377,693) 15-64 years: 56.3% (male 1,924,867; female 2,049,952) 65 years and over: 4.2% (male 142,657; female 154,501) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.42% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 31.42 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 14.88 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/ female total population: 0.97 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 93.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.55 years female: 51.29 years (2002 est.) male: 47.88 years
Total fertility rate: 4.3 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 5.17% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 210,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 23,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Haitian(s) adjective: Haitian
Ethnic groups: black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982) note: roughly half of the population also practices Voodoo
Languages: French (official), Creole (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 45% male: 48% female: 42.2% (1995 est.) Government Haiti
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Haiti conventional short form: Haiti local short form: Haiti local long form: Republique d'Haiti
Government type: elected government
Capital: Port-au-Prince Administrative divisions: 9 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand 'Anse, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est
Independence: 1 January 1804 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1804)
Constitution: approved March 1987; suspended June 1988, with most articles reinstated March 1989; in October 1991, government claimed to be observing the constitution; return to constitutional rule, October 1994
Legal system: based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jean- Bertrand ARISTIDE (since 7 February 2001) head of government: Prime Minister Yvon NEPTUNE (since 4 March 2002); note - former Prime Minister CHERESTAL resigned in January 2002 cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 November 2000 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly election results: Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE elected president; percent of vote - Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE 92%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (27 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (83 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: Senate - last held for two-thirds of seats 21 May 2000, with runoffs on 9 July boycotted by the opposition; seven seats still disputed; election for remaining one-third held on 26 November 2000 (next to be held NA 2002); Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 May 2000, with runoffs on 30 July boycotted by the opposition; one vacant seat rerun 26 November 2000 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FL 26, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FL 73, MOCHRENA 3, PLB 2, OPL 1, vacant 1, other minor parties and independents 3
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation Political parties and leaders: Alliance for the Liberation and Advancement of Haiti or ALAH [Reynold GEORGES]; Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Leslie MANIGAT]; Convergence (opposition coalition composed of ESPACE, OPL, and MOCHRENA) [Gerard PIERRE-CHARLES, Evans PAUL, Luc MESADIEU, Victor BENOIT]; Democratic Consultation Group coalition or ESPACE [Evans PAUL, Victor Benoit] composed of the following parties: National Congress of Democratic Movements or KONAKOM, National Progressive Revolutionary Party or PANPRA, Generation 2004, and Haiti Can; Haitian Christian Democratic Party or PDCH [Marie-France CLAUDE]; Haitian Democratic Party or PADEM [Clark PARENT]; Lavalas Family or FL [Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE]; Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert DE RONCERAY]; Movement for National Reconstruction or MRN [Rene THEODORE]; Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti or MIDH [Marc BAZIN]; Movement for the Organization of the Country or MOP [Gesner COMEAU and Jean MOLIERE]; National Cooperative Action Movement or MKN [Volrick Remy JOSEPH]; National Front for Change and Democracy or FNCD [Evans PAUL and Turneb DELPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Open the Gate or PLB [Renaud BERNARDIN]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Gerard PIERRE-CHARLES] Political pressure groups and Autonomous Haitian Workers or CATH;
leaders: Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Roman Catholic Church International organization ACCT, ACP, Caricom, CCC, ECLAC, FAO,
participation: G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Louis Harold JOSEPH consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) FAX: [1] (202) 745-7215 telephone: [1] (202) 332-4090 chancery: 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Brian
US: Dean CURRAN embassy: 5 Harry S Truman Boulevard, Port-au-Prince mailing address: P. O. Box 1761, Port-au-Prince telephone: [509] 222-0354, 222-0269, 222-0200, 223-0327 FAX: [509] 23-1641
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength) Economy Haiti -
Economy - overview: About 80% of the population lives in abject poverty. Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and employs about two-thirds of the economically active work force. The country has experienced little job creation since the former President PREVAL took office in February 1996, although the informal economy is growing. Following legislative elections in May 2000, fraught with irregularities, international donors - including the US and EU - suspended almost all aid to Haiti. The economy shrank an estimated 1.2% in 2001, and the contraction will likely intensify in 2002 unless a political agreement with donors is reached and aid restored.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $12 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -1.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 30% industry: 20% services: 50% (2001 est.) Population below poverty line: 80% (1998 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 3.6 million (1995) note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2001) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%, services 25%, industry 9%
Unemployment rate: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two- thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs (2001)
Budget: revenues: $273 million expenditures: $361 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 est.)
Industries: sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, light assembly industries based on imported parts Industrial production growth rate: 0.6% (1997 est.) Electricity - production: 522 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 68.97% hydro: 31.03% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 485.46 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
Exports: $326.6 million (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: manufactures, coffee, oils, cocoa
Exports - partners: US 90%, EU 6% (2000)
Imports: $977.5 million (c.i.f., 2001)
Imports - commodities: food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Imports - partners: US 60%, EU 10.5%, Dominican Republic 3.7% (2000)
Debt - external: $1.2 billion (1999) Economic aid - recipient: $730.6 million (1995)
Currency: gourde (HTG)
Currency code: HTG
Exchange rates: gourdes per US dollar - 26.674 (January 2002), 26.339 (2001), 22.524 (2000), 17.965 (1999), 16.505 (1998), 17.311 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September Communications Haiti Telephones - main lines in use: 60,000 (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 0 (1995)
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay trunk service international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 41, FM 26, shortwave 0 (1999)
Radios: 415,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 2 (plus a cable TV service) (1997)
Televisions: 38,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ht Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 6,000 (2000) Transportation Haiti
Railways: total: 40 km narrow gauge: 40 km 0.760-m gauge; single-track note: privately owned industrial line; closed in early 1990s (2001 est.)
Highways: total: 4,160 km paved: 1,011 km unpaved: 3,149 km (1996)
Waterways: NEGL; less than 100 km navigable
Ports and harbors: Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Les Cayes, Miragoane, Port- au-Prince, Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 12 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 6 (2001) Military Haiti
Military branches: Haitian National Police (HNP) note: the regular Haitian Army, Navy, and Air Force have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,691,585 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 919,275 (2002 est.)
service: Military manpower - reaching males: 87,049 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $50 million (FY00)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1.3% (FY00)
GDP: Transnational Issues Haiti Disputes - international: claims US-administered Navassa Island
Illicit drugs: major Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; vulnerable to money laundering and pervasive corruption

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officially Republic of Haiti

Country, West Indies.

It occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, with the Dominican Republic to the east. Area: 10,695 sq mi (27,700 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 7,064,000. Capital: Port-au-Prince. Almost the entire population is black or mulatto. Language: Haitian Creole and French (both official). Religion: Roman Catholicism; voodoo (voudou). Currency: gourde. Most of its land is mountainous, with about two-fifths above 1,600 ft (490 m) in elevation. The mountain ranges alternate with fertile but overpopulated lowlands. Its climate is tropical, modified by the mountains, and subject to periodic droughts and hurricanes. Its longest river is the Artibonite. The poorest country in the Americas, it has a developing market economy based in large part on agriculture and light industries; coffee is the main cash crop. It is a multiparty republic with two legislative houses; the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. For its early history, see Hispaniola. Haiti gained its independence when the former slaves of the island, led by Toussaint-Louverture in the 1790s and by Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1804, rebelled against French rule. The new republic encompassed the entire island of Hispaniola, but the eastern portion of the island was restored to Spain in 1809. It was reunited under Haitian Pres. Jean-Pierre Boyer (1818–43); after his overthrow the eastern portion revolted and formed the Dominican Republic. Haiti's government was marked by instability, with frequent coups and assassinations. It was occupied by the U.S. in 1915–34. In 1957 the dictator François ("Papa Doc") Duvalier came to power. Despite economic decline and civil unrest, Duvalier ruled until his death in 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc") Duvalier, who was forced into exile in 1986. Haiti's first free presidential elections, held in 1990, were won by Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He was deposed by a military coup in 1991, after which tens of thousands of Haitians attempted to flee to the U.S. in small boats. The military government stepped down in 1994, and Aristide returned from exile and resumed the presidency. His associate Rene Preval took office in 1995, and in 2000 Aristide again claimed the presidency. Economic and political instability, however, continued to plague Haiti at the outset of the 21st century.

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▪ 2009

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 9,751,000
Chief of state and government:
President René Préval, assisted by Prime Ministers Jacques-Édouard Alexis and, from September 5, Michèle Pierre-Louis

      Optimism that Haiti was rebounding from decades of conflict, instability, and economic decline gave way in 2008 to eroding confidence in the country's future. Global trends of skyrocketing food and fuel prices hit Haiti hard, owing to dependence on costly imports in a country where 78% of the population lived on less than $2 a day. National demonstrations against the high cost of living in early April deteriorated into vandalism and violence. Subsequently, the Haitian Senate dismissed Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis, causing the postponement of a donor's conference expected to support the government's poverty-reduction strategy and renewing festering political schisms.

      Parliamentary rejection of Pres. René Préval's first two prime ministerial replacement nominations left the country with a caretaker government unable to initiate new programs. Resilient crime, especially urban kidnapping, and the government's inability to improve material conditions of the population, including those under 25 years of age (who constituted 60% of all Haitians), dampened hopes of a brighter future.

      The new coalition government led by Michèle Pierre-Louis, a respected educator and social activist, confronted a country ravaged by two tropical storms and two hurricanes within a 23-day period (August 16–September 7). Rainfall rushing down hillsides with less than 3% forest cover destroyed settlements in river deltas and floodplains, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving 800 dead. Préval, citing the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005, characterized the storms as “our Katrina.”

      Flooding also wiped away public investments made earlier to improve crop production, leaving massive food deficits and setting back national efforts to address dependence on costly imported rice. International relief efforts (complemented by resource mobilization among Haitians living overseas and within Haiti) helped the survivors and demonstrated hopeful signs, especially in Haiti, of solidarity. The renewal in mid-October of the one-year mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) offered additional relief, particularly in view of its capabilities in disaster response and in reinforcing public safety.

      Still, as 2008 ended, Haiti faced continuing food shortages and rising prices and the daunting prospect of rehabilitating its natural environment and rebuilding physical infrastructure. Making matters worse were anticipated reversals, because of food and fuel price increases and the destruction brought about by storms, in modest GDP growth trends and the inflation decline experienced since 2005. Remittances, reaching $1.83 billion, or 30% of GDP, in 2007, were expected to stagnate or decline owing to the impact of global economic problems on Haitians living overseas.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2008

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 9,598,000
Chief of state and government:
President René Préval, assisted by Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis

      A sense of optimism enveloped Haiti during 2007 as the country continued to creep away from its debilitating past of political conflict, insecurity, and economic decline. Optimism was tempered by concerns that gains were small in comparison with needs and expectations and vis-à-vis the political, social, and economic polarization that had plagued the country throughout its history. Nevertheless, the overarching sense within Haiti and among its international partners was that 2007 was a year of significant progress toward rebuilding the country.

      Fueling optimism was the fact that the political détente fostered by the efforts of Pres. René Préval to include opposition groups within his coalition government remained largely in effect. Toward year's end, however, with relations between the executive branch and opposition leaders in the parliament deteriorating over an array of issues, including the indefinite postponement of elections for one-third of the Senate, the longevity of Préval's inclusive approach toward governance appeared to be in jeopardy.

 Also fueling optimism was the government's success, supported by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), in confronting and largely eliminating the gang violence and kidnapping that early in the year had paralyzed much of the country, particularly Port-au-Prince. In recognition of MINUSTAH's essential presence, both the Haitian government and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sought and received a Security Council extension until Oct. 15, 2008, of the 9,150-member stabilization force. Significantly, the renewed MINUSTAH mandate reconfigured the mission toward increasing its policing capacities and shifting its presence to unsecured border and coastal locations in an effort to target the arms and drug smuggling that plagued Haiti and its weak public institutions, including the country's still-struggling national police force.

      Economic developments in 2007 were both positive and disappointing. On the positive end, inflation fell from 40% to an estimated 10%, and GDP surged to a forecast growth of 4%, bucking the trend of negative growth. Significant amounts of international aid pledged previously flowed into Haiti, with much of it allocated to short-term job-creation programs. Increasingly, however, Haiti's poor majority voiced frustration with the lack of tangible, sustained economic improvement in their lives as investment in longer-term job-creation initiatives remained low and the government's envisaged antipoverty programs mostly failed to take off. Cash transfers from Haitians living overseas (an estimated $1.6 billion annually) continued to serve as a mechanism for bridging the gap between survival and growth.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2007

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 8,808,000
Chief of state and government:
Presidents Boniface Alexandre (provisional) and, from May 14, René Préval, assisted by Prime Ministers Gérard Latortue (interim) and, from June 9, Jacques-Édouard Alexis

      The most prominent event in Haiti in 2006 came on February 7, when 63% of the country's registered voters went to the polls to elect a president and a national legislature. The internationally monitored elections ended two difficult years of interim rule by officials appointed following the ouster of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

      In the presidential race René Préval (Preval, Rene ) (see Biographies), the country's president from 1996 to 2001, garnered overwhelming support from Haiti's rural and urban poor and easily defeated 33 opponents to earn a six-year term. In the parliament, however, Préval's dominant Lespwa (“Hope”) coalition did not gain a majority. As a result, it would have to work with legislators elected from seven other parties, including Aristide's formerly dominant Lavalas Family (FL). As a move toward stimulating increased political inclusion, Préval called for the creation of a consensus-driven 25-year governance and development pact. The cabinet of Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis included representatives of diverse political groups. Municipal and village council elections in December completed Haiti's balloting.

      Political progress in 2006 was matched by increased international support and engagement. In July international donors meeting in Port-au-Prince pledged $750 million toward Haiti's recovery efforts over the next fiscal year. Immediate government priorities included road, school, and hospital improvements, as well as a strengthened police force and judicial system. Donors met again in November in Madrid to consider the government's envisaged $7 billion long-term plan to rebuild and reform the country. In August the UN Security Council unanimously extended its Stabilization Mission in Haiti through February 2007. Throughout 2006 the elected Haitian government received official expressions of support and renewed engagement from key players in Haiti's international affairs, including the U.S. and Brazil. The Caribbean Community restored Haiti's suspended membership.

      Private investors, however, including those in Haiti, remained cautious. The Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) act, a U.S. trade bill to create 20,000 assembly jobs in Haiti, was passed by Congress in December. Ordinary Haitians living overseas sent some $1 billion in remittances that represented as much as 20% of the country's GDP. (See Mexico: Sidebar.) Although the country experienced a suspension of gang violence and kidnappings following February's election, by midyear internecine urban violence, fueled significantly by drug trafficking and poverty, had reemerged, and kidnappings of children surged late in the year.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2006

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 8,528,000
Chief of state and government:
President Boniface Alexandre (provisional), assisted by Prime Minister Gérard Latortue (interim)

      Throughout 2005 reverberations from the tumult surrounding the departure in 2004 of Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide continued to dominate Haiti's political, economic, and social developments, as well as its international relations. Polarization, tension, and conflict between the ousted president's supporters and detractors resulted in hundreds of deaths, politically related detentions, and international accusations of interim-government human rights violations. Haiti's dysfunctional judiciary and violence-prone police contributed to criminal impunity and unrest. Instability and eroded confidence in the government slowed disbursements of the $1.08 billion in development assistance pledged in 2004 by international donors. Remittances from overseas Haitians, however, increased to more than $1 billion, which enabled the foundering country to stay afloat.

      The interim government moved toward fulfilling its principal mandate of shepherding presidential, legislative, and municipal/local elections by year's end, with the inauguration of an elected president on Feb. 7, 2006. Most Haitians and international observers viewed elections as a prerequisite for addressing Haiti's myriad problems. With security and technical support provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the Organization of American States, respectively, election mechanisms were established; a voter-registration drive ultimately enrolled more than three million voters, some 75% of those eligible.

      By year's end, however, elections had not been held. Contributing to their postponement was a nationwide atmosphere of crime and insecurity, particularly in Port-au-Prince where politically linked gangs reigned with virtual impunity in the city's massive slums and where hundreds of kidnappings fueled an environment of fear. After the midyear extension of MINUSTAH's mandate to February 2006 and its augmentation to 7,500 military personnel and 1,897 civilian police, however, the Brazilian-led mission effectively quelled the violence fueled by inner-city gangs, rogue elements within the Haitian National Police, and members of the disbanded Haitian army.

      The apparent inability of Haitian authorities to organize and deliver a credible electoral exercise, however, pushed the ballot into 2006. By year's end former president René Préval (1996–2001) had emerged as the leading presidential candidate in a field of 35 that included veteran politician Marc Bazin as the standard-bearer of Aristide's Lavalas Family (FL) and several noteworthy newcomers, including former insurrectionist Guy Philippe and businessman Charles Baker, leader of an anti-Aristide civil society group. Preval, eschewing his affiliation with the FL to accept the nomination of a coalition of several minor political parties and a national peasant organization appeared to be attracting significant support among Haiti's demographically dominant rural and urban poor, formerly attracted to the FL.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2005

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 8,074,000
Chief of state and government:
Presidents Jean-Bertrand Aristide and, from February 29, Boniface Alexandre (provisional), assisted by Prime Ministers Yvon Neptune and, from March 12, Gérard Latortue (interim)

      The long-awaited commemoration in 2004 of Haiti's bicentennial of independence was overshadowed by turmoil, violence, and disaster. By early 2004 Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide's grip on power had weakened considerably. Political confrontation in Port-au-Prince surged, and armed insurrectionists, who had crossed the border from the Dominican Republic, overran police stations throughout the country, releasing prisoners, gaining allies among street thugs, and attacking government officials. Following the late February refusal of President Aristide's political opponents to accept an internationally backed power-sharing agreement, Haiti's beleaguered elected leader left the country on February 29 after armed gangs, mostly affiliated with the previously disbanded Haitian army, threatened the capital.

      As Aristide left Haiti on a U.S. military aircraft and questions arose whether his departure was voluntary or coerced, Supreme Court Justice Boniface Alexandre was sworn in as provisional president. Concurrently, U.S. armed forces, sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1529, landed in Port-au-Prince. Joined within days by French, Canadian, and Chilean troops, the 3,600-strong Multinational Interim Force for Haiti (MIFH) stabilized the capital. The action helped pave the way for the installation of an interim government mandated to lead the country to elections in 2005 and the inauguration of a new president in February 2006. The MIFH handed over operations in June to a Brazilian-led UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), composed of about 6,700 peacekeepers and 1,622 civilian police trainers.

      Despite MINUSTAH's presence, Haiti remained in turmoil. Insurrectionists refused to disarm, calling for the restoration of the army, and the decimated Haitian National Police (HNP) yielded public security functions throughout the country to these armed groups. Overall insecurity mounted as demonstrations calling for Aristide's return sometimes turned violent, kidnappings and robberies increased, and acts of retribution against officials and supporters of the former government rose. While the interim government struggled to gain legitimacy among Haitians, deliver basic services, and fulfill its mandate, Haiti was struck in May and September by storms that took at least 5,000 lives and underscored the extent of the country's environmental devastation.

      Haiti's already-weak economy suffered greatly, and its economic infrastructure was considerably damaged during the insurrection. Although international donors pledged $1.08 billion in July to assist Haiti's interim authorities in strengthening governance, promoting national dialogue and economic recovery, and improving access to basic services, by year's end no funds had been disbursed. For the most fortunate among ordinary Haitians, however, life-sustaining aid came from family members living overseas, who sent some $1 billion in remittances to Haiti in 2003. During 2004 at least 3,000 Haitian boat people were interdicted by U.S. authorities and returned home.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2004

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 7,528,000
Chief of state and government:
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, assisted by Prime Minister Yvon Neptune

      The political crisis emanating from the disputed May 2000 parliamentary elections continued to cast a pall over Haiti in 2003. In September 2002 the Organization of American States (OAS) had adopted Permanent Council Resolution 822 (CP Res. 822) as a framework for negotiating a solution to the crisis. The OAS struggled, however, in the creation of a multisectoral Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to organize a new round of parliamentary elections. The principle opposition group, Democratic Convergence (CD), refused to name representatives to the council, citing the government's unwillingness to ensure electoral security. In August the government of Pres. Bertrand Aristide announced plans to hold elections in November 2003, with or without CD participation, citing the constitutionally mandated necessity to renew parliamentary seats that were due to expire in early 2004. By year's end, however, elections had not been held.

      A provision of CP Res. 822—the separation of Haiti's political crisis from the ongoing suspension of international financial assistance to the government—facilitated several important economic developments. Following negotiation of a stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund, in July the government settled its $32 million arrears with the Inter-American Development Bank, opening the door to the resumption of disbursements of about $200 million in development loans that were suspended after the disputed 2000 elections. These loans—earmarked for infrastructure, health, and education projects—were significant, given the continuing deterioration of the country's economy and the lack of investment in its physical and human infrastructure. The approximately $800 million in remittances sent home by Haitians living overseas, an estimated 20% of Haiti's gross national product, served as an economic lifeline for millions of Haitians who struggled to make ends meet following a 60% depreciation of the national currency (gourde) between September 2002 and March 2003 and a 35–45% annual inflation rate during much of the year.

      Buffeting Haiti were continuing trends toward lawlessness, politically inspired street violence, and an overall growing climate of insecurity. The Haitian National Police, with fewer than 4,000 members, struggled throughout the year with increased politicization and its inability to respond consistently to street and gang violence. A national civil society organization, the Group of 184, formed in 2002 as a potential moderating political force, evolved toward staunch opposition of the government, leading confrontational demonstrations that called for the resignation of President Aristide. Emigration by airplane and boat continued during 2003 but was limited by strict U.S. immigration policies. As the Jan. 1, 2004, bicentennial of Haiti's independence neared, most Haitians had little to celebrate.

Robert Maguire

▪ 2003

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 7,064,000
Chief of state and government:
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, assisted by Prime Ministers Jean-Marie Chérestal and, from March 15, Yvon Neptune

      The Haitian government's tenuous grasp on the economy and political institutions continued to weaken in 2002. It was unable to provide basic security, health care, education, or enough food and jobs for its citizens. The country lingered near the bottom of the United Nation's annual survey of living conditions. Life expectancy was less than 53 years. At least 23% of children aged five and under suffered from malnutrition, and only 39% of Haitians had clean water available to them. Preventable diseases went untreated. Roughly one out of every 12 Haitians had HIV/AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44,000 new HIV/AIDS cases would occur in Haiti in 2002—at least 4,000 more than the projected number for the U.S. It was feared that the number of children orphaned by AIDS would soar from 163,000 to between 323,000 and 393,000 in the next decade.

      A study by the World Bank concluded that 15 years of aid through 2001 had not had a noticeable effect on the reduction of poverty in Haiti, since projects had been implemented in a disorganized manner and government officials had not continued improvements. Direct aid to Haiti had been suspended in 2001 owing to irregularities in the May 2000 elections. The Haitian government publicly declared that the $18 million it owed would not be paid until international agencies released additional funds to the country.

      Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide remained Haiti's most popular figure, but the breadth and depth of that popularity were increasingly coming into question. A large amount of his domestic and foreign support had evaporated. In addition, allegations circulated widely that an attack on the national palace that took place on Dec. 17, 2001, had been staged to allow government supporters to launch violent reprisals against offices and homes of opposition leaders. An Organization of American States (OAS) report supported these allegations. In August, for the first time since Aristide appeared on the political stage in the early 1990s, some of his own loyal followers revolted against him, and for a while they controlled Gonaïves, the country's fourth largest city. The possibility that the political situation was getting out of hand prompted the U.S. and the OAS to reconsider their aid embargo. In a significant shift of policy, they resolved in September to support Haiti's proposal that foreign aid be unblocked. In return the OAS called for the Haitian government to establish an electoral council, improve justice and public security, and keep the door open for a role for the opposition.

Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor

▪ 2002

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 6,965,000
Chief of state and government:
Presidents René Préval and, from February 7, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, assisted by Prime Ministers Jacques Edouard Alexis and, from March 2, Jean-Marie Chérestal

      The new government of Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide faced several political challenges in 2001. Leaders of 15 political organizations that had boycotted the November 2000 presidential election formed an alliance known as Convergence Démocratique and challenged his legitimacy by establishing an alternative national unity government headed by educator Gérard Gourgue as provisional president. Most of these organizations were quite small and had a very limited constituency within the country. Nevertheless, their leaders were articulate enough to gather broad international backing. The roots of the confrontation ran to the May 2000 legislative elections, when Aristide's Lavalas Family party swept more than 80% of about 7,000 elected posts but failed to hold a runoff for 10 disputed Senate seats. The U.S. and international financial organizations withheld more than $500 million in scheduled foreign aid and pressured Aristide and his prime minister, Jean-Marie Chérestal, to negotiate with the opposition. Negotiations took place during the first half of the year and were mediated by César Gaviria, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States. In July both sides agreed to hold new elections to replace the lower house of Parliament, 18 of the 27 seats in the Senate, and all local government posts. They also agreed on the composition of an electoral council to supervise these new elections. As of the end of 2001, negotiations were still continuing between the government and the opposition leaders to schedule a definite date for the elections. Meanwhile, on December 17, Haitian commandos stormed the presidential palace in an attempted coup, but they were subdued after battling the police for several hours.

      The economy continued to decline in 2001. The World Bank listed Haiti's gross national income per capita as $480. About 80% of the rural Haitian population lived below the poverty line. The cost of living rose sharply with the price of gasoline, going up by 40%. The gourde, the local currency, barely recovered after losing half of its value, which made staples such as rice and beans much more expensive to the average Haitian. Macroeconomic and structural reforms successfully initiated since 1994 stagnated in 2001. Poor state management of Haiti's ports and road network and public utilities such as electricity, water, and telephones continued to discourage new private investment and limit employment opportunities. Earlier privatization efforts did not succeed because of a lack of political will to carry them out.

Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor

▪ 2001

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 6,868,000
Chief of state and government:
President René Préval, assisted by Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis

      Long-delayed parliamentary elections to fill 10,000 local and legislative positions began on May 21, 2000, and involved two rounds. The Lavalas Family party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide won 18 of the 19 Senate seats, 72 of the 82 contested seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and 80% of Haiti's 133 city halls. Millions of Haitians risked their lives to vote in the country's first democratic election in years. Soon afterward, however, international observers and Haiti's own Provisional Electoral Council charged that the vote count for 10 of the Senate seats was flawed. Despite the threats of international donors to withdraw financial aid if the government did not have runoff elections, Pres. René Préval declared the results official, and the 10 senators were sworn into office. With the legitimacy of the new Parliament in question, the U.S. and other countries decided to withdraw their support for the November 26 presidential elections, in which Aristide was returned to power. The Provisional Electoral Council reported that Aristide won 91% of the vote. Voter turnout was about 68%. Most opposition parties had withdrawn from the contest. Nine additional Senate seats were also filled in the November elections.

      Political instability increased considerably throughout the year. The Haitian National Police was in disarray. It had at most 6,200 members and was the government's only security force for a country of nearly 6.9 million people. Because of its displeasure over the election results, the U.S. ended its assistance to the police. The last U.S. troops stationed in Haiti left the country in January.

      Nearly all U.S. aid to Haiti was suspended. In addition, the Haitian economy found itself in its worst condition in years as a result of a spending binge by the government, higher petroleum prices, and political turmoil. Remittances by Haitians living abroad, particularly in the U.S.—estimated between $400 million and $1 billion annually—constituted one of the biggest sources of dollars for Haiti. The apparel industry and the construction sector were strong throughout the year, and some meagre investment was made in wireless communications. A privatization program that would have been useful in attracting new investment by making infrastructure upgrades in such run-down state-owned facilities as the port, the airport, and telephone and electric companies was abandoned.

      The economic situation had some foreign policy implications. The government had to deal with the problems created by the many Haitians who took to the sea in overcrowded boats to try to reach the southern coast of the U.S.

Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor

▪ 2000

27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 6,884,000
Chief of state and government:
President René Préval, assisted since January 14 by Prime Minister Jacques-Édouard Alexis

      The terms of two-thirds of the legislators in Haiti expired in January 1999, but no election was held to replace them. Moreover, since no legislative action was possible because a quorum could not be raised, Pres. René Préval dissolved Parliament and thereby effectively established one-man rule. Jacques-Édouard Alexis, who had first been nominated to the post in July 1998, finally bypassed Parliament and assumed the duties of prime minister in January. After several more delays, the parliamentary elections that early in the year had been scheduled for the end of 1999 were postponed again.

      Without a fully functioning government in place, the Haitian social situation declined greatly, and economic life was bleak. International loans, notably from the United States and the Inter-American Development Bank, with a loan portfolio of $40 million, continued, but the World Bank had decided that no new projects would be negotiated because the Haitian constitution mandated that all international loans be ratified by Parliament. In addition, government gridlock over economic reforms had frozen $1 billion in aid pledged by international financial institutions—partly underwritten by the U.S.—that might have aided development.

      Because 86% of development investments in Haiti were funded abroad, the reduction of foreign assistance increased the level of poverty in the country. Life expectancy stood at 54 years, and per capita annual income fell from $260 in 1994 to $225 in 1999. Three-quarters of Haitians lacked running water; unemployment was nearly 70%; half of Haiti's approximately seven million people were totally illiterate; and 80% of Haiti's five million peasants lived in absolute poverty, and most were landless.

      The anticipated withdrawal of 480 U.S. troops and the 279-member international civilian police monitoring mission, in addition to doubts about the effectiveness of the Haitian National Police, was a cause for concern. In September the UN General Assembly approved the extension of the UN Security Council mandate beyond the November 30 expiration date.

      The government was very slow in implementing the privatization program prescribed by the international financial aid donors. Of the three major public enterprises that were scheduled to be privatized by 1999—the flour mill, the telephone company, and the electricity company—only the first was actually transferred to private investors. It was doubtful that the others—or two other major targets, the port and the airport—would be privatized before the presidential elections scheduled for December 2000.

Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor

▪ 1999

      Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 6,781,000

      Capital: Port-au-Prince

      Chief of state: President René Préval

      At the beginning of 1998, there was still no resolution over the appointment of a prime minister to succeed Rosny Smarth, who had resigned in June 1997. Pres. René Préval reported that Haiti had lost $162.5 million in foreign aid because of the deadlock in the Chamber of Deputies, and the World Bank reported that, because of Haiti's bureaucratic failures, only $800 million of the $2.8 billion allocated in foreign aid had been disbursed. In February the two main groups in the Chamber reached an agreement that they hoped would end the political breakdown, but the agreement collapsed at the beginning of March. In March the president nominated for the second time Hervé Denis, an economist, for the post of prime minister. His candidacy had been rejected previously in November 1997, and, although this time it was approved by 41 votes to 23 in the Chamber, it was rejected again in April by the Senate, one vote short of a majority. President Préval renewed negotiations with the leaders of the political parties to find a compromise prime ministerial candidate, but he was accused of delaying until the election for a new Chamber of Deputies. In July Education Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was nominated as head of government, with the support of the main party, the Organization of the People in Struggle (OPL), but he was opposed by the Anti-Neo-Liberal Bloc and did not gain the office. In November Parliament was recalled for a special session to debate the state auditing board's unfavourable report on Alexis's period in office. His candidacy was finally ratified by Parliament on December 17, but even then the process was not complete. The prime minister-elect had to present his program and his government to the legislature for their approval, which had not taken place by year's end.

      Amnesty International reported in midyear that torture, brutality, and extrajudicial killings were still prevalent in Haiti. It warned of the consequences of failing to prosecute human rights violators and the slowness of judicial reform. It was announced on August 4 that, following a two-month inquiry, 315 police officers had been dismissed for drug smuggling, corruption, and human rights abuses. A group of people, mostly former army officers, were arrested because of their links with a former paramilitary group and the discovery of arms and uniforms of the Tontons Macoutes, the militia of the former dictatorship.

      The president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández, paid a three-day visit to Port-au-Prince in June, the first by a Dominican head of state since 1936. The two presidents agreed to operate joint border patrols to limit trafficking in drugs, arms, stolen goods, and contraband. Their meeting followed a session of the Dominican-Haitian Commission, which negotiated agreements on tourism, border duties, cultural exchanges, and a direct postal service. The issue of Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic remained unresolved, and deportations of thousands of Haitian labourers continued. An estimated 500,000 Haitians had fled economic misery in their country and lived in the Dominican Republic.

      The UN estimated that forest cover in Haiti was only 1.5% of the total land area and that deforestation continued. During the rainy season some two hectares (five acres) of soil an hour was washed into the sea from the mountains because of the lack of trees and ground cover. The devastation caused by Hurricane Georges in September was, therefore, intensified by erosion. On October 19 the death toll in Haiti was officially given as 213, expected to rise to 240, while 80 Haitians died in the Dominican Republic and more than 170,000 were homeless. Damage to the country's infrastructure and agriculture was severe; 75% of the first rice crop was washed away. Floods and the lack of drinking water were expected to bring disease to an already impoverished population.


▪ 1998

      Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 6,611,000

      Capital: Port-au-Prince

      Chief of state: President René Préval

      Head of government: Prime Minister Rosny Smarth

      Plagued by the desperately low living standards of many of its people, Haiti was a troubled nation at the beginning of 1997. During January there were violent demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and street protests throughout the country, together with a general strike on January 16 that included calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Rosny Smarth. Gang warfare broke out in the slum area of Cité Soleil near Port-au-Prince, and about 20 people were killed. There were more clashes in February, marked by widespread criticism of the new police force and calls for the UN police trainers to remain in Haiti until the end of the year. A second wave of violence in February resulted in 50 deaths. Another general strike on March 20 caused an outbreak of violence in Cap-Haïtien, and UN observers there had to be evacuated.

      Many people blamed the disturbances on a conspiracy to destabilize the government, plotted by factions within the ruling Lavalas coalition. Supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide formed a breakaway movement, the Fanmi Lavalas (Lavalas Family), which registered as a political party in order to contest the April 6 Senate and municipal elections. The main opposition parties boycotted the elections, held for 9 of the 27 Senate seats, 2 deputies, members of 564 local assemblies, and 133 municipal representatives; less than 10% of the electorate voted. The Lavalas Family campaigned to replace Prime Minister Smarth with Aristide but failed to oust him in a vote of no confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on March 27.

      The electoral board, the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP), agreed on May 22 to postpone the second round of the Senate elections from May 25 to June 15 because of accusations of fraud in the first round and additional street violence and strikes. On June 9 Prime Minister Smarth resigned after having held office for 15 months. He criticized the CEP for failing to annul the results of the April elections and accused a group within Lavalas of stirring up political unrest. The CEP then announced the indefinite postponement of the elections, claiming that its preparations for the event were incomplete. This followed a warning from the U.S. that if the first round was not rerun in several areas, it would not recognize the election and might cut aid to Haiti. Pres. René Préval resisted calls to dismiss the CEP, which was widely seen as dominated by supporters of Aristide. He also delayed appointing a new prime minister, and Smarth remained temporarily in office pending a decision. Préval claimed that the electoral crisis should be resolved before a new prime minister was appointed and that the national legislature was the only body constitutionally able to take action concerning the CEP. The UN civilian mission suspended its technical aid for the CEP on August 19 after the latter had confirmed the controversial results of the first round of senatorial elections, which gave two seats to the Lavalas Family. The UN declared that the suspension would last until "honesty and credibility" had been reestablished.

      President Préval nominated an official of the Inter-American Development Bank, Ericq Pierre, to be prime minister, but the Chamber of Deputies rejected his appointment on August 26 on the grounds that it had not been consulted in advance and that a politician rather than a professional bureaucrat was needed for the post. Late in the year the president had still not nominated another candidate, and on October 20 Smarth announced that he would stop running the government and called on his ministers to do the same. In mid-October a series of local elections was finally completed, and a permanent electoral council was formed. Aristide supporters dominated the elections.

      More than 172 people were believed drowned in September when an overloaded ferry capsized as it tried to dock at Montrouis, on the west coast. It was transporting passengers from the Ile de la Gonâve, and when they all crowded to one side, the boat tipped over and sank in 35 m (115 ft) of water, some 50 m (165 ft) from shore. About 60 survivors swam to shore. (See DISASTERS.)

      This article updates Haiti.

▪ 1997

      The republic of Haiti occupies the western one-third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 6,732,000. Cap.: Port-au-Prince. Monetary unit: gourde, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 15.10 gourdes to U.S. $1 (23.79 gourdes = £1 sterling). Presidents in 1996, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and, from February 7, René Préval; prime ministers, Claudette Werleigh and, from March 6, Rony Smarth.

      René Préval, a former prime minister and close aide of the outgoing president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, won 87% of the vote in the December 1995 presidential elections, but his victory was marred by an exceptionally low turnout of only 25% of the electorate. Nevertheless, international observers reported that the vote was fair, and the new president was inaugurated on February 7. After extensive negotiations, the legislature finally approved the president's nominee for prime minister, Rony Smarth, an agronomist, whose main task was to complete negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over economic reforms, including privatization, which would enable the release of additional foreign aid.

      The new president visited the U.S. and Canada in March, which improved relations but failed to achieve the release of frozen U.S. aid. He also visited the Dominican Republic, the first time since 1935 that a Haitian president had visited this neighbouring nation. The two presidents announced that a bilateral commission would be set up to promote trade and cooperate in immigration and the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering.

      President-elect Préval on January 5 asked the UN peacekeeping force to remain in Haiti for an additional six months because of acts of violence and disputes over the new police force, which was believed to be rife with corruption and intrigue. There was disagreement within the UN Security Council over the size of the force and the length of time it should stay in Haiti. U.S. troops left in April, although 230 U.S. military personnel, such as engineers, remained to build roads, clinics, and schools. The rest of the 2,200-strong force was to leave at the end of June, but the inability of the police force to guarantee a stable and secure environment led to calls for the mandate to be extended. It was eventually agreed that a force of 600 UN soldiers plus 700 others would remain for five months from July, with the cost of the 700 to be shared by the U.S. and Canada. Canada would continue to supply about half the troops, with the rest provided by Pakistan and Bangladesh. The number of police monitors was raised from 250 to 300, to be involved in training the Haitian police force in the capital. In December the mandate was again extended for another six to eight months.

      Violence continued unabated throughout the year, with murders and kidnappings, as the young and poorly trained new police force coped badly with the crime wave. Rumours of a coup circulated in Port-au-Prince in July following the murder of a former soldier who had warned of a plot to assassinate the president. Disgruntled former soldiers, claiming unfair dismissal and demanding unpaid severance pay and pensions, caused disruption. In August gunmen attacked the police headquarters and then the building housing the national legislature. On September 30 police foiled a plot by former soldiers to assassinate government officials.

      Having collected over 5,000 testimonies of crimes committed by the former military regime, the Truth and Justice Commission handed in its report on February 5. The commission pressed for trials and reforms.

      Agreement was reached with the IMF in May for a structural adjustment program that would release about $1 billion in aid. The government agreed to cut spending, reform the fiscal accounts, and sell or lease state enterprises. (SARAH CAMERON)

      This article updates Haiti.

▪ 1996

      The republic of Haiti occupies the western one-third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 6,589,000. Cap.: Port-au-Prince. Monetary unit: gourde, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 19 gourdes to U.S. $1 (30.04 gourdes = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Jean-Bertrand Aristide; prime ministers, Smarck Michel and, from November 7, Claudette Werleigh.

      In January 1995 U.S. commanders certified that a secure and stable environment had been achieved in Haiti since the military occupation of the nation began in September 1994, which thus allowed the 6,000 U.S. troops to be replaced by a UN force of the same size. Security was nevertheless fragile. In the absence of a trained police force and a working justice system, robberies and shootings were frequent, and there were several murders daily. People continued to flee the country by boat, but most were repatriated by U.S. authorities. In August more than 100 Haitian migrants were thrown overboard and drowned when an overcrowded boat began to sink on its way to The Bahamas.

      At the end of January a $1 billion aid package was approved in Paris, but the money was slow in reaching Haiti, which led to resentment at the delay. The International Finance Corporation agreed to oversee the unpopular privatization of 9 of Haiti's 33 state enterprises, with the proceeds to be used for improving rural roads, hospitals, pension funds, and education. The International Monetary Fund offered a $31 million standby facility, with economic targets including annual inflation of 15%, growth of gross domestic product of 4.5%, and an increase in foreign reserves of $45 million during the year. The Inter-American Development Bank disbursed loans of $30 million for balance of payments support and $5.8 million for infrastructural development and a grant of $600,000 for the implementation of government projects. In May the Paris Club of creditor countries agreed to cancel $75 million of bilateral debt, with the remainder to be rescheduled over 23 years.

      In February Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide weakened the Haitian army's power by retiring all 43 of its officers who held a rank above major. The president said in April that he would ask the legislature to amend the constitution in order to abolish the army.

      The Provisional Electoral Council announced that elections would be held in two rounds, on June 4 and June 25, for the 83-member Chamber of Deputies, for 18 of the 27 Senate seats, and for about 2,000 local council posts and 100 mayoralties. However, amid rising political dissension both within the government and in the opposition, the first round was delayed until June 25, with a second round on July 23 (for those seats that did not receive a majority in the first round). Many of the opposition parties threatened to boycott the elections and claimed that the president's Lavalas movement had taken control of the electoral machinery.

      In the first round of the elections, contested by 10,500 candidates, supporters of Lavalas swept the board. Voter turnout was low, less than 50%, although 90% of the 3.7 million electorate had registered to vote. Charging that the vote had been marked by fraud and a heavy pro-Aristide bias in the Provisional Electoral Council, the major opposition parties and many of the smaller groups decided to boycott the second round of the elections. President Aristide admitted that the elections could have been administered better and, after talks with the opposition parties, dismissed the president of the Provisional Electoral Council. It was decided that there would be reruns of the first round in many areas, with the second round not held until September. Reruns took place on August 13 and were orderly, although voter turnout was less than 33%. Most opposition candidates ignored the boycott order of their parties, but the Lavalas coalition again swept the board, winning all 34 of the seats theretofore decided.

      After the second round, on September 17, Lavalas candidates held 68 of the 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 17 of the 27 seats in the Senate. His party's victory notwithstanding, Aristide insisted that he would retire from office in 1996 despite calls for his term to be extended. Two candidates were announced for the presidential elections, scheduled to be held by the end of the year: Ernst Verdieu, the former social affairs minister and head of the Haitian branch of the Caritas aid agency, and Leon Jeune, the former deputy justice minister.

      Though an official tally of the December election was not immediately available, Aristide's handpicked successor, René Préval, was the winner by a landslide. High U.S. officials met with Préval after the balloting to discuss extending the stay of UN troops in Haiti. (SARAH CAMERON)

      This updates the article Haiti.

▪ 1995

      The republic of Haiti occupies the western one-third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 6,491,000. Cap.: Port-au-Prince. Monetary unit: gourde, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 19 gourdes to U.S. $1 (30.22 gourdes = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Jean-Bertrand Aristide (in exile until October 15); acting president from May 11 to October 12, Émile Jonassaint; head of military government until October 10, Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras; prime minister from November 8, Smarck Michel.

      Throughout 1994 the U.S. government put pressure on the repressive Haitian military regime to resign and allow the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to return to the country and restore democracy. On July 31 the UN Security Council called for all necessary means to be taken to oust the regime, authorizing the U.S. to invade Haiti. About 100 UN monitors went to the Dominican Republic-Haiti border in mid-August to stop oil smuggling, which was sustaining the Haitian military.

      Within the United States there was opposition to a U.S. invasion, and no other country would agree to participate in anything other than a postinvasion force. Haiti judged that if the flow of boat people fleeing the nation ceased and there were no more massacres, there would be little reason for the U.S. to invade. The military regime's puppet president, Émile Jonassaint, declared a state of siege and accused the world of having "declared war on poor Haiti, which has harmed nobody." Throughout August the army and its paramilitary ally, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, continued to murder Aristide supporters while organizing parades of "volunteers" to fight an invasion.

      On September 18 a U.S. peace mission comprising former president Jimmy Carter, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, and Sen. Sam Nunn successfully negotiated a compromise that averted an outright invasion to remove the regime. The army commander, Gen. Raoul Cédras; the army chief of staff, Gen. Philippe Biamby; and the police chief, Col. Joseph Michel François, agreed to step down by October. Subsequently, Colonel François fled to the Dominican Republic, while General Cédras and General Biamby left for Panama.

      On September 19 some 20,000 U.S. troops began landing in Haiti. Although it was originally intended that they would work alongside the Haitian military, after a few days U.S. soldiers were authorized to intervene to stop the savage street beatings of civilian demonstrators. U.S. Marines killed 10 Haitian policemen in Cap-Haitien on September 24, provoking delighted local people to tear down the barracks; pro-Aristide crowds took over other towns in the north, forcing troops and police to flee. In Port-au-Prince, U.S. troops took control of the parliament, allowing exiled legislators to return and debate a general amnesty; restored the elected mayor, Evans Paul; dismantled the Army Heavy Weapons Corps; seized police stations; and began street patrols. They worked with Haitians to find suspected army collaborators and other extremists who had previously terrorized the population. Late in October troops from the member nations of the Caribbean Community and Common Market arrived in Port-au-Prince, charged with maintaining security at the port.

      Amid much celebration, President Aristide returned triumphantly to Haiti on October 15, three years after being ousted by the military coup. He spoke of reconciliation and set about arranging legislative elections for December (they were later postponed until March 1995 at the earliest). As prime minister, Aristide chose Smarck Michel, a businessman. His choices for other government posts favoured economics, and a technical and financial aid agreement was signed with the United States in mid-December.


      This updates the article Haiti.

▪ 1994

      The republic of Haiti occupies the western one-third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Area: 27,700 sq km (10,695 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 6,902,000. Cap.: Port-au-Prince. Monetary unit: gourde, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 12 gourdes to U.S. $1 (18.24 gourdes = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Jean-Bertrand Aristide (in exile); head of military government, Lieut. Gen. Raoul Cédras; prime ministers, Marc L. Bazin to June 8 and, from August 30, Robert Malval.

       Haitian affairs were dominated in 1993 by generally unsuccessful efforts, notably by new U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton, to stem the tide of refugees from that impoverished country and to return to power its democratically elected president, the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The Clinton government announced a $1 billion international aid package for Haiti if democracy was restored but threatened fiercer economic sanctions if no progress toward Aristide's reinstatement was made. At the same time, the United Nations and its special envoy, Dante Caputo, stepped up efforts to resolve the crisis. In February army commander Gen. Raoul Cédras agreed to the deployment of several hundred human rights observers in the country. By June international pressure had still failed to make the unelected government relinquish power. The Organization of American States called for an extension of its embargo to cover all oil supplies and air links. On June 23 the UN Security Council signaled its loss of patience by instigating a worldwide ban on oil and arms shipments to Haiti. This proved to be the catalyst for talks, which began on June 27 on Governors Island, N.Y. Accords were signed between the army and Aristide on July 3.

      A 10-stage plan for Aristide's return on October 30 included the suspension of the oil embargo once an Aristide-nominated prime minister had been installed, and Robert Malval, a publisher, was appointed. General Cédras was to leave office on October 15, and the powerful Port-au-Prince police chief, Lieut. Col. Michel François, would be replaced.

      Still, violence was unchecked. In September, Antoine Izméry, a businessman, was dragged from church and shot by attachés, plainclothes affiliates of François's police force; on October 14, Justice Minister Guy Malary was murdered in his office. Both supported Aristide's return. Opponents of Aristide threatened Malval's choice of Cabinet members as well as UN personnel in Haiti, and a dockside protest in October forced a U.S. ship with UN soldiers aboard to retreat from Haitian waters. Since neither Cédras nor François surrendered office as agreed, the UN reimposed the oil and arms embargo. Malval announced that he would resign on December 15, but he agreed to stay on as acting prime minister. (BEN BOX)

      This updates the article Haiti.

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officially  Republic of Haiti,  Haitian Creole  Repiblik Dayti,  French  République d'Haïti 
Haiti, flag of  country of the Caribbean Sea that includes the western third of the island of Hispaniola and such smaller islands as Gonâve, Tortue (Tortuga), Grande Caye, and Vache. It is roughly threefold larger than Puerto Rico. The capital is Port-au-Prince.

      Haiti is bordered to the east by the Dominican Republic, which covers the rest of Hispaniola, to the west and south by the Caribbean, and to the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Cuba lies some 50 miles (80 km) west of Haiti's northern peninsula, across the Windward Passage, a corridor joining the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Jamaica is some 120 miles (190 km) west of the southern peninsula, across the Jamaica Channel, and Great Inagua Island (of The Bahamas) lies roughly 70 miles (110 km) to the north. Haiti claims sovereignty over Navassa (Navase) Island, a U.S.-controlled islet in the Jamaica Channel.

      Haiti, whose population is almost entirely descended from African slaves, won independence from France in 1804, making it the second country in the Americas, after the United States, to free itself from colonial rule. However, over the centuries economic, political, and social problems have transformed Haiti into the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

The land (Haiti)

Relief, drainage, and soils
 The generally rugged topography of central and western Hispaniola is reflected in Haiti's name, which derives from the indigenous Arawak place-name Ayti (“Mountainous Land”); about two-thirds of the total land area is above 1,600 feet (490 metres) in elevation. The nation's irregular coastline forms a long, slender peninsula in the south and a shorter one in the north, separated by the triangular-shaped Gulf of Gonâve, in which lies Gonâve Island. Haiti's shores are generally rocky, rimmed with cliffs, and indented by a number of excellent natural harbours, and the surrounding seas are renowned for their coral reefs. Plains, which are quite limited in extent, are the most productive agricultural lands and the most densely populated areas. Rivers are numerous but short, and most are not navigable.

      The backbone of the island of Hispaniola consists of four major mountain ranges that extend from west to east. The most northern range, known as the Cordillera Septentrional in the Dominican Republic, occurs in Haiti only on Tortue Island. Tortue Island has an area of 69 square miles (179 square km); in the 17th century it was a stronghold of privateers and pirates from various countries.

      Haiti's Massif du Nord (“Northern Massif”) is a series of parallel ranges known in the Dominican Republic as the Cordillera Central (Central, Cordillera). It has an average elevation of some 4,000 feet (1,200 metres); the Citadel (Citadelle Laferrière), a fortress built by Henry Christophe in the early 19th century, stands atop one of the peaks overlooking the city of Cap-Haïtien and the narrow coastal plain.

      An interior basin, known as the Central Plateau in Haiti and the San Juan Valley in the Dominican Republic, occupies about 150 square miles (390 square km) in the centre of the country. The plateau has an average elevation of 1,000 feet (300 metres), and access to it is difficult through winding roads. It is bounded by two minor mountain ranges on the west and south—respectively, the Cahos Mountains and the Noires (“Black”) Mountains. Tributaries of the Artibonite River, the island's longest river at 174 miles (280 km), flow eastward and southward through the plateau to a point near the Dominican border, where they join the river proper as it turns westward, skirting the Noires Mountains as it flows to the Gulf of Gonâve. In eastern Haiti the river was impounded as Lake Péligre in the mid-20th century; a hydroelectric complex began operating at Péligre in 1971, but its power output has been unreliable during the dry season. Just upstream from the Artibonite's delta in the Gulf of Gonâve, some of its waters are used to irrigate the triangular Artibonite Plain.

      The third major range, known as the Matheux Mountains (Chaîne des Matheux) in west-central Haiti and the Trou d'Eau Mountains (Chaîne du Trou d'Eau) farther east, corresponds to the Sierra de Neiba in the Dominican Republic; the range forms the northern boundary to the narrow Cul-de-Sac Plain, which is immediately adjacent to Port-au-Prince and includes the brackish Lake Saumâtre on the Dominican border.

      South of the Cul-de-Sac is the fourth major range, called the Massif de la Selle (Baoruco, Sierra de) in Haiti and the Sierra de Baoruco in the Dominican Republic. It rises to 8,773 feet (2,674 metres) at Mount Selle, the highest point in the country. The range's western extension on the southern peninsula is called the Massif de la Hotte (Massif du Sud), which rises to 7,700 feet (2,345 metres) at Macaya Peak. The Cayes Plain lies on the coast to the southeast of the peak.

      Haiti's mountains are mainly limestone, although some volcanic formations can be found, particularly in the Massif du Nord. Karstic features, such as limestone caves, grottoes, and subterranean rivers, are present in many parts of the country. A long fault line crosses the southern peninsula and passes just south of Port-au-Prince. Haiti is subject to periodic seismic activity, and Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien were destroyed by earthquakes (earthquake) in 1751 and 1842, respectively.

      The soils in the mountains are thin and lose fertility quickly when cultivated. The lower hills are covered with red clays and loams. The alluvial soils of the plains and valleys are fertile but overcultivated, owing to high population densities in those areas. Deforestation has caused much soil erosion, and as much as one-third of Haiti's land may have eroded beyond recovery.

      Haiti has a warm, humid tropical climate characterized by diurnal temperature variations that are greater than the annual variations; temperatures are modified by elevation. Average temperatures range from 75 °F (24 °C) in January and February to 83 °F (28 °C) in July and August. The village of Kenscoff, at some 4,700 feet (1,430 metres), has an average temperature of 60 °F (16 °C), whereas Port-au-Prince, at sea level, has an average of 79 °F (26 °C). In winter frost can occur at high altitudes.

      Haiti is located on the leeward side of the island, which means that the influence of humid trade winds is not as great as in the Dominican Republic. The more humid districts are found on the northern and eastern slopes of the mountains. Some portions of the island receive less than 28 inches (700 mm) of rainfall per year. The northwestern peninsula and Gonâve Island are particularly dry. Some regions have two rainy seasons, lasting from April to June and from August to October, whereas other regions experience rainfall from May to November. Annual variations of precipitation can cause droughts, widespread crop failures, and famine. The southern peninsula, which is more vulnerable to hurricanes than other parts of Haiti, suffered heavy damage from Hurricanes Allen (1980), Gilbert (1988), and Georges (1998). All parts of the country, however, can be hit by tropical storms and hurricanes; during the 2008 hurricane season a series of severe storms that included Hurricanes Hanna and Ike caused widespread damage and the loss of hundreds of lives.

Plant and animal life
      From the 17th to the 19th century, much of the natural vegetation was destroyed through clearing for agriculture, grazing, and logging. Deforestation accelerated during the 20th century as population increased, and the forests that once covered the country have been reduced to a tiny proportion of the total land area. Patches of virgin forest remain in the Massif de la Selle, which includes tall pines, and in the Massif de la Hotte, where an evergreen forest with giant tree ferns and orchids stands on the slopes of Macaya Peak. Bayahondes (a type of mesquite), cacti, and acacias form thorny woods on the dry plains. The mangrove swamps on the coast have also declined rapidly, as their trees have been overexploited for firewood and charcoal.

      With the retreat of natural vegetation, wildlife has lost its habitat and shelter. Wild boars, guinea fowls, and wild ducks are no longer present, but caimans still inhabit rivers of the southern peninsula, and some flamingos are found on Gonâve Island, where they are often hunted. Little has been done to conserve Haiti's flora and fauna, and no national or regional parks have been established. The lack of conservation measures has been particularly damaging for coral formations and the animal life associated with them.

Settlement patterns
      Haiti is densely populated, particularly on the plains, although cultivated plots and settlements are also found on the hills and steep mountains. More than two-thirds of the people live in rural areas, primarily as subsistence farmers or agricultural labourers. Rural population densities are high, which places a strain on the environment and on the well-being of the people. The population is still increasing in the countryside, despite growing migration to the cities. Most farms are very small and are worked by their owners. Rural bourgs (market towns) typically include a Roman Catholic church, police barracks, a magisterial court, and a general store, all surrounding a central square.

      Real urban life is limited to the capital and to five or six large towns. Port-au-Prince, which has more than six times the population of the second city, Cap-Haïtien, was founded in 1749; it became the colonial capital in 1770 because its central location was believed to be more suitable for future development, defense, and commerce than the position of Cap-Français (later Cap-Haïtien) on the north coast. The city has retained few buildings from the colonial period and the early 19th century owing to fires and war damage. Wooden “gingerbread-style” houses are a testimony to Victorian influences in the formerly fashionable districts of Bois-Verna and Turgeau. Pétionville, a middle-class suburb in the hills to the west, is now part of the metropolitan area, as are the cities of Carrefour and Delmas. The vast majority of Port-au-Prince residents live on meagre incomes; shantytowns surround the city, and the public markets are generally squalid and unhygienic. The largest shantytown in the capital is Cité Soleil, which is situated on swampland near the seafront, vulnerable to flooding, and home to hundreds of thousands of people.

      Cap-Haïtien, the original capital of the colony, was founded in 1670. Its neat gridiron plan encompasses small blocks of old-fashioned houses with courtyards. The city also has large numbers of impoverished or homeless people, but its pace of life is much slower than that of Port-au-Prince. The other major towns are Gonaïves, Les Cayes, and Jacmel.

The people (Haiti)

Ethnicity and language
      Nearly all of Haiti's population are of African origin; mulattoes account for most of the remainder, and there are a few people of European descent. Haiti has differentiated itself ethnically, linguistically, and culturally from other Caribbean and Latin American countries, notably the Spanish-speaking nations of the region.

       Haitian Creole (Kweyol, or Kreyol) and French (French language) are the official languages. Creole (creole languages) is spoken by all Haitians and, with French, is used in drama, music, radio, television, politics, and religion. Creole is normally used in daily life, and French—mastered by perhaps one-tenth of the people—is used in more formal circumstances. However, written Creole is not widely accepted, because the school system retains French as the main language of instruction. Most of the vocabulary of Haitian Creole is derived from French, but its syntax is similar to that of some African languages and the Creole languages of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

      Haiti has no official religion; the constitution allows for religious freedom but gives special recognition to the Roman Catholic church. More than two-thirds of the population is Roman Catholic, and about one-fourth is Protestant. Since the 1970s some radical priests have espoused liberation theology, notably in the shantytown areas of Port-au-Prince and other towns, whereas the hierarchy of bishops has remained more conservative. Most Haitian Roman Catholics are also practitioners of voodoo (Vodou) (voudou, or vodun), a religion whose gods (loas) are derived from West African religions. However, most of the nation's Protestants consider Christianity to be incompatible with voodoo.

      In addition to the older Protestant (Protestantism) denominations established in the early 19th century (Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians), Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Mormons came to Haiti during and after the U.S. occupation (1915–34). The number of Protestants has grown significantly since 1980.

Demographic trends
      Haiti's population has increased fourfold since the early 20th century, although life expectancy has been among the lowest in the world. The rates of birth and infant mortality are high, and roughly two-fifths of the population is under 15 years of age.

      Every year tens of thousands of Haitians attempt to improve their lots by migrating to other countries, notably Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, many of them illegally and under semiclandestine conditions. Dominican government programs allow temporary migrants for agricultural work, primarily bracero (cane-cutting) labour and menial jobs. Many Haitians have also migrated to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Large numbers of Haitians attempt to enter the United States each year in small and often dangerous boats. The U.S. Coast Guard routinely intercepts such “boat people” and returns them to Haiti, but many others are thought to drown en route to Florida, which is more than 560 miles (900 km) northwest of Haiti. Exile communities have also been established in The Bahamas, Guadeloupe, and Saint-Martin.

The economy
      Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Some four-fifths of its population lives in absolute poverty, and as much as three-fifths of the population is unemployed or underemployed. Haiti's limited resource base has been depleted, first through intensive colonial exploitation and later through unplanned development and corruption. A few multinational corporations are active in the country.

      Agriculture dominates the economy, but the food supply has not kept pace with demand. As much as one-fifth of the food consumed in Haiti is imported or smuggled from the Dominican Republic or the United States; the imports have lowered overall food prices in Haiti, thereby further impoverishing the nation's struggling farmers and compelling more people to migrate to urban areas.

      Conventional steady wage-earning positions are much less common than casual jobs or self-employment, and the great majority of Haitians are at work almost every day in the so-called “informal” sector, which includes street vending, doing odd jobs, working abroad (and mailing remittances to family members in Haiti), and engaging in illegal activities such as smuggling. The country is a major transshipment point for illegal drugs between South America and the United States. Haitians labouring in other countries remitted considerable amounts of money during the late 19th and the 20th centuries; in the mid-1990s Haitians overseas sent home substantially greater sums than were earned from official exports.

      Gold and copper are found in small quantities in the north of the country. There are bauxite (aluminum ore) deposits on the southern peninsula, but large-scale mining there was discontinued in 1983. Haiti apparently has no hydrocarbon resources on land or in the Gulf of Gonâve, and it is therefore heavily dependent on energy imports. Hydroelectricity is not sufficient to satisfy current needs, and the main sources of energy for cooking are firewood and charcoal.

      Haiti's soils and fishing zones are threatened. Although only one-fifth of the land is considered suitable for agriculture, more than two-fifths is under cultivation. Major problems include soil erosion (particularly on mountain slopes, which are seldom terraced), recurrent drought, and an absence of irrigation. There is little fishing off the island's shelf, because most fishing boats are small and poorly equipped.

      Agriculture is the largest sector of the Haitian economy, employing roughly two-thirds of the labour force but accounting for barely one-third of the GDP. Many farmers concentrate on subsistence crops, including cassava (manioc), plantains and bananas, corn (maize), yams and sweet potatoes, and rice. Some foodstuffs are sold in rural markets and along roads.

      A mild arabica coffee is Haiti's main cash crop. Haitian farmers sell it through a system of intermediaries, speculators, and merchant houses. Sugarcane is the second major cash crop, but since the late 1970s Haiti has become a net importer of sugar.

      Goats and cattle are the most common livestock, with smaller numbers of pigs and horses. There is some poultry production. Following a massive outbreak of African swine fever, Haiti's entire Creole pig population was exterminated by 1982, which deprived many peasants of their only asset, although other pig breeds were subsequently imported as replacements.

      The small domestic market, the lack of natural resources, and internal instability have constrained the growth of manufacturing. In the late 20th century many barriers to international trade were abolished, and local industries were forced to compete directly with imports from the Dominican Republic and the United States. Most manufacturing involves the assembly of parts for reexport to the United States, including electronic components, baseballs, and clothing. Other manufactures include essential oils (notably amyris, neroli, and vetiver), cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages. Much of the nation's sugarcane is processed in rural distilleries that produce a cheap rum called clairin, although Haiti also produces Barbancourt rum, one of the world's finest brands. Nontraditional exports such as ornamental flowers and mange-tout (snow peas) have increased. The construction industry has flourished because of the high demand for housing.

      Services contribute up to one-third of the GDP, nearly as much as the agricultural sector, although services provide only one-tenth the number of jobs as agriculture. The main sources of service-related employment are tourism, national and local government, finance, and trade.

      Tourism is the main component of the service sector and a principal source of foreign exchange. During the 1980s and '90s the number of tourists dwindled owing to political instability and concerns over health problems, including AIDS; however, the nation's cultural life, colonial architecture, pristine beaches, and gambling casinos continue to attract visitors, as do Haitian laws permitting quick divorces. Problems associated with tourism in Haiti have included prostitution, cultural imports (at the expense of local arts and customs), and the need to import costly foods and luxury items. The major tourist hubs are Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien, the latter providing access to Haiti's 19th-century Citadel, Ramiers fortifications, and Sans Souci Palace, which UNESCO collectively designated a World Heritage site in 1982.

Finance and trade
      Haiti's financial situation is precarious. The exchange rate of the national currency, the gourde, was tied to the U.S. dollar (at five gourdes per dollar) from 1919 to 1991, after which the government let the exchange rate float. U.S. currency circulates freely in the country. The National Bank issues currency and acts as the principal commercial bank; there are also a number of private and foreign banks. The government's foreign debt is large, and government finances depend heavily on aid from international agencies and from such countries as the United States, France, Canada, and Germany. Haiti does not have a stock market.

      Export agriculture has traditionally been favoured by farmers and the state alike because it provides cash and a source of foreign exchange. However, coffee exports dwindled rapidly in the late 20th century. Exports of assembled goods have varied from year to year according to competition but have included clothing, handicrafts (wood carvings, paintings, and woven sisal products), electronic goods, and baseballs. The principal imports are food, petroleum and its derivatives, machinery and vehicles, and textiles. More than two-thirds of the external trade is with the United States; other major trading partners include France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Haiti has a substantial and chronic annual trade deficit.

      The roads from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haïtien, Les Cayes, and Jacmel have been paved but are not regularly repaired, and city streets are notorious for their deep potholes. Most inland transportation is hampered by rough roads that may become impassable in inclement weather. Trucks and buses offer irregular and costly service from Port-au-Prince to the provincial towns. There are no major railways.

      The Port-au-Prince harbour was modernized in the 1970s and '80s, and container facilities there handle most of Haiti's foreign trade. The Cap-Haïtien harbour has also been upgraded. There are several minor ports, but passenger-boat services are limited. The international airport at Maïs Gâté, 10 miles (16 km) north of Port-au-Prince, provides direct service to North and South America, Europe, and other Caribbean nations.

Administration and social conditions

      Haiti instituted universal suffrage in 1950, but most of its elections have been marred by ballot tampering. Its constitution was approved by referendum in 1987 but not actually put into effect until 1995, when President Jean-Bertrand Aristide took office. The constitution, which incorporates features of the U.S. and French constitutions, provides for a president who is both head of state and the nation's main power holder. The president is directly elected to a five-year term and may stand for one nonconsecutive reelection. The head of government is the prime minister, appointed by the president from among the parliamentary members of the majority political party. The bicameral parliament consists of a 27-member Senate and an 83-member Chamber of Deputies. Senators are elected for six-year terms and deputies for four.

      The judiciary consists of four levels: the Court of Cassation (the highest court), courts of appeal, civil courts, and magistrate's courts. Judges of the Court of Cassation are appointed by the president to 10-year terms. The Haitian legal system is nominally based on the French Napoleonic Code, modified by legislation enacted during François Duvalier's presidency (1957–71). The system is deeply flawed, and the government influences all levels of the court system, although the constitution calls for an independent judiciary. Prisoners can be held for months or years without a trial—sometimes despite court orders for their release—and many accused criminals have bought their freedom with bribes.

Armed forces and police
      The military was Haiti's only long-standing national institution from the time of independence in 1804 until the mid-1990s, when it was disbanded. Military leaders frequently used their institution's power and prestige to influence political events or to take over the government by force. Haiti's various military, paramilitary, and police units were also notorious for corruption and human rights abuses. The Duvalier regimes (1957–86) terrorized and eliminated opponents with an armed group called the Volunteers for National Security, commonly known as the Tontons Macoutes (a Haitian Creole phrase meaning “Bogeymen”); the group was formally disbanded in 1986, but its members continued to terrorize the populace. Haitian police and military units also acted with impunity. During a U.S.-led occupation of the country in the mid-1990s, the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide disbanded the military but failed to disarm its members, and the United States and United Nations began to create a new Haitian police force. However, the first recruits were trained for only a few months before assuming their duties, and by the turn of the 21st century many had been implicated in violent crime or corruption associated with drug trafficking. U.S. armed forces routinely conduct antidrug patrols in and around Haiti's maritime limits and airspace.

      Education is officially compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12, but, because of a lack of facilities and staff, only a small proportion of Haitian children attend school, mostly in private or church-administered institutions. More than half of the adult population is illiterate, and the rate of illiteracy is higher in the countryside than in the cities.

      The curriculum is based on the French model, and French is the main language of instruction. This system has created a small elite, who have made distinguished cultural contributions. The State University of Haiti (founded 1920) enrolls more than 10,000 students, whereas Quisqueya University (1988) is much smaller; both are in Port-au-Prince. Many students attend universities in Europe and North America.

Health and welfare
      Haiti's death rate is high, mainly owing to the prevalence of infectious and parasitic diseases, diseases of the circulatory system, and conditions associated with malnutrition; moreover, Haiti has a higher incidence of AIDS and a higher infant mortality rate than any other country in the Western Hemisphere. Roughly three-fourths of Haitian households lack running water, and unsafe water—along with inadequate housing and unsanitary living conditions—contributes to the high incidence of infectious diseases. There is a chronic shortage of health care personnel, and hospitals lack resources.

Cultural life
      Haitian culture reflects an admixture of French, African, Spanish, and native Indian influences, similar in many respects to the traditions of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and Saint Lucia. Port-au-Prince, the centre of Haiti's cultural and intellectual life, is the site of the National Library (founded 1940), the National Council for Scientific Research (1963), and the most important museums and entertainment facilities.

Daily life
      Haitian towns are hives of informal-sector activity, with small workshops, street markets, and food stalls providing thousands of day-to-day jobs. There is no social security or taxation in this precarious world, and many children are paid near-starvation wages to perform menial tasks. But many Haitians prefer to take their chance in Port-au-Prince's slums rather than eke out a meagre living from remote hillside farms. In the rural areas the hours are even longer and the money scarcer, because eroded and infertile plots produce barely enough food for subsistence. Most farmers live in small wooden-frame houses with thatched or corrugated-metal roofs that are generally enclosed within a compound of four mud-daubed wattle walls. There is little furniture. Cash surpluses, when they exist, are invested in land, cattle, or voodoo ceremonies or are used to pay the school fees for children. Few farmers have their own means of transportation. Such hardship is far removed from the lifestyle of Haiti's few wealthy elite, who commute from their cool mountainside villas to air-conditioned offices in costly four-wheel-drive vehicles.

      Staple foods include beans, rice, sweet potatoes, bananas and plantains, corn (maize), cassava, and taro (a tropical tuber locally known as malangá). However, many of Haiti's urban poor have difficulty obtaining basic foodstuffs and adequate amounts of potable water. Whenever resources permit, Haitians prepare food with locally grown spices, including thyme, anise, oregano, black pepper, and cloves. Almost every street corner has a stall selling fritay (fried pieces of pork, fish, or plantain) or shaved ice flavoured with sweet cordials.

The arts
      Haitian visual arts have garnered increasing attention since the 1940s, when a group of self-taught experimental artists developed in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien and opened the Centre d'Art (1944) in the capital. The movement's more highly acclaimed artists have included Wilson Bigaud, the blacksmith and sculptor Georges Liautaud, and the voodoo priests Hector Hyppolite, Andre Pierre, and Robert Saint-Brice. Major galleries in the United States and Europe have exhibited many of their works, which have also influenced the designs of wood carvings and tapestries that are manufactured in Haiti but sold throughout the Caribbean.

      Musicians in Haiti and the Dominican Republic created the merengue musical style, which combines relatively slow African drum rhythms with early 19th-century European dance music; the merengue's popularity has spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. More contemporary musical styles have included the rhythmic “voodoo beat” and the politically minded lyrics of the band Boukman Eksperyans.

      Haitian literature (Caribbean literature) is written almost exclusively in French; however, some novels, poems, and plays have been written in Creole. Haiti has produced some internationally renowned writers, including Jean Price-Mars, who evaluated the African heritage in Haitian culture; Jacques Roumain, a poet, essayist, and novelist; Jacques-Stephen Alexis, who examined Haitian society through novels and other works; and René Depestre, noted for his elegant poetic creations in French. Younger Haitian writers, such as Edwidge Danticat, have often written in English about their lives as exiles and their concomitant identity problems.

Press and broadcasting
      Publishing is limited in Haiti, in part because there are few publishers but also as a result of past political oppression. Few books are published, and, although several daily newspapers operate in Haiti (most of them in the capital), none circulates more than a few thousand copies. There are four television stations, one of them government-owned, and a number of radio stations whose broadcasts are received throughout the island.

Sports and recreation
      Haitians do not generally have access to the types of organized recreational activities prevalent in other countries, and sporting facilities are limited. Nevertheless, they celebrate a colourful pre-Lenten Carnival—although perhaps not as elaborately as in other Caribbean nations.

      Sports and gambling tend to go hand in hand in Haiti. Card games and dominoes are popular pastimes, but the most passion-inspiring gaming is provided by cockfighting, which takes place every Sunday in almost every village and neighbourhood across the country. Considerable sums of money pass hands at these gatherings, and a successful trainer can become a powerful figure in the community. Another popular form of gambling is borlette, a street-corner lottery found throughout the country.

      Football (football (soccer)) (soccer) draws sizable crowds to matches in Port-au-Prince, as well as to potholed city streets and rural roads. In 1974 Haiti became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup finals, and some Haitian footballers, such as Joe Gaetjens, have played for teams in the United States and Europe. Haiti's elite class has produced a handful of international-level tennis players, and cycling is popular among those who can afford bicycles. Swimming is more accessible to ordinary Haitians.

Christian Antoine Girault James A. Ferguson

      The following discussion focuses on events from the time of European settlement. For treatment of earlier history and the country in its regional context, see West Indies, history of (West Indies), and Latin America, history of.

Early period
      The island that now includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic was first inhabited about 5000 BC, and farming villages were established about 300 BC. Arawak Indians and some other indigenous peoples later developed large communities there. The Taino, an Arawak group, became dominant; also notable were the Ciboney Indians. In the 15th century between 100,000 and several million Taino and Ciboney lived on the island, which the Taino called Quisqueya. They based their economies on cassava farming, fishing, and interisland trade (gold jewelry, pottery, and other goods).

      Christopher Columbus sighted Quisqueya on December 6, 1492, and named it La Isla Española (“The Spanish Island,” anglicized as Hispaniola). Over the next few decades, the Spanish enslaved vast numbers of Indians to mine for gold. European diseases and brutal working conditions devastated the indigenous population, which fell to about 30,000 by 1514; by the end of the 16th century, the group had virtually vanished. Thousands of slaves imported from other Caribbean islands met the same fate. The Spanish altered the landscape by introducing cattle, pigs, and horses, which multiplied into large herds. Spanish settlement was mostly restricted to the eastern end of the island, and many Spaniards left Hispaniola after the main gold mines were exhausted.

      In the mid-16th century, French pirates entrenched themselves firmly on Tortue (Tortuga) and other islands off the western end of Hispaniola. Subsequently, both French and British buccaneers held bases there. Permanent settlements began to develop, including plantations. In the 1660s the French founded Port-de-Paix in the northwest, and the French West Indies Corporation took control of the area. Landowners in western Hispaniola imported increasing numbers of African slaves, which totaled about 5,000 in the late 17th century.

French colonial rule
Plantations and slaves (slavery)
      The Treaty of Rijswijk (1697) formally ceded the western third of the island from Spain to France, which renamed it Saint-Domingue. The colony's population and economic output grew rapidly during the 18th century, and it became France's most prosperous New World possession, exporting sugar and smaller amounts of coffee, cacao, indigo, and cotton. By the 1780s nearly two-thirds of France's foreign investments were based on Saint-Domingue, and the number of stopovers by oceangoing vessels sometimes exceeded 700 per year.

      The development of plantation agriculture profoundly affected the island's ecology. African slaves toiled ceaselessly to clear forests for sugar fields, and massive erosion ensued, particularly on the steep marginal slopes that had been allocated to slaves for their subsistence crops. Soil productivity declined markedly in many areas, and formerly bountiful streams dried up; however, European investors and landowners remained unconcerned about or unaware of the long-term consequences of their actions, believing instead that an overpopulation of slaves was the key to wringing more profits from the region.

      In 1789 Saint-Domingue had an estimated population of 556,000, including roughly 500,000 African slaves—a hundredfold increase over the previous century—32,000 European colonists, and 24,000 affranchis (free mulattoes or blacks). Haitian society was deeply fragmented by skin colour, class, and gender. The white population comprised grands blancs (elite merchants and landowners, often of royal lineage), petits blancs (overseers, craftsmen, and the like), and blancs menants (labourers and peasants). The affranchis, who were mostly mulattoes, were sometimes slave owners themselves. They aspired to the economic and social levels of the whites, and they feared and spurned the slave majority; however, whites generally discriminated against them, and the affranchis' aspirations became a major factor in the colony's struggle for independence. The slave population, most of which was bosal (African-born), was an admixture of West African ethnic groups. The vast majority were field workers; more specialized groups included household servants, boilermen (at the sugar mills), and even slave drivers. Slaves in the colony, like those throughout the Caribbean, endured lengthy, backbreaking workdays and often died from injuries, infections, and tropical diseases. Malnutrition and starvation also were common, because plantation owners failed to plan adequately for food shortages, drought, and natural disasters, and slaves were allowed scarce time to tend their own crops. Some slaves managed to escape into the mountainous interior, where they became known as Maroons and fought guerrilla battles against colonial militia. Large numbers of slaves, Maroons, and affranchis found solace in voodoo (voudou), a syncretic religion incorporating West African belief systems. Others became fervent adherents of Roman Catholicism, and many began to practice both religions.

The Haitian Revolution
      The revolution was actually a series of conflicts during the period 1791–1804 that involved shifting alliances of Haitian slaves, affranchis, mulattoes, and whites, as well as British and French army troops. Several factors precipitated the event, including the affranchis' frustrations with a racist society, the French Revolution, nationalistic rhetoric expressed during voodoo ceremonies, the continuing brutality of slave owners, and wars between European powers. Vincent Ogé, a mulatto who had lobbied the Parisian assembly for colonial reforms, led an uprising in late 1790 but was captured, tortured, and executed. In May 1791 the French revolutionary government granted citizenship to the wealthier affranchis, but Haiti's whites refused to comply with the law. Within two months isolated fighting broke out between whites and affranchis, and in August thousands of slaves rose in rebellion. Whites attempted to appease the mulattoes in order to quell the slave revolt, and the French assembly granted citizenship to all affranchis in April 1792. The country was torn by rival factions, some of which were supported by Spanish colonists in Santo Domingo (on the eastern side of the island, which later became the Dominican Republic) or by British troops from Jamaica. In 1793 Léger Félicité Sonthonax, who was sent from France to maintain order, offered freedom to slaves who joined his army; he soon abolished slavery altogether, and the following year the French government confirmed his decision. Spain ceded the rest of the island to France in the Treaty of Basel (1795), but war in Europe precluded the actual transfer of possession.

      In the late 1790s Toussaint-Louverture (Toussaint Louverture), a military leader and former slave, gained control of several areas and earned the initial support of French agents. He gave nominal allegiance to France while pursuing his own political and military designs, which included negotiating with the British, and in May 1801 he had himself named “governor-general for life.” Napoléon Bonaparte (later Napoleon I), wishing to maintain control of the island, attempted to restore the old regime (and white rule) by sending his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc (Leclerc, Charles), with an experienced force from Saint-Domingue that included several exiled mulatto officers. Toussaint struggled for several months against Leclerc's forces before agreeing to an armistice in May 1802; however, the French broke the agreement and imprisoned him in France. He died on April 7, 1803.

      Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Dessalines, Jean-Jacques) and Henry Christophe (Christophe, Henry) led a black army against the French in 1802, following evidence that Napoleon intended to restore slavery in Saint-Domingue as he had done in other French possessions. They defeated the French commander and a large part of his army, and in November 1803 the viscount de Rochambeau surrendered the remnant of the expedition. The French withdrew from Haiti but maintained a presence in the eastern part of the island until 1809.

Independent Haiti
Trials of a young nation
      On January 1, 1804, the entire island was declared independent under the Arawak-derived name of Haiti. The young nation had a shaky start; the war had laid waste many plantations and towns, and Haiti was plagued with civil unrest, economic uncertainties, and a lack of skilled planners, craftsmen, and administrators. Many European powers and their Caribbean surrogates ostracized Haiti, fearing the spread of slave revolts, whereas reaction in the United States was mixed, as slave-owning states did all they could to suppress news of the rebellion, but merchants in the free states hoped to trade with Haiti rather than with European powers. More important, nearly the entire population was utterly destitute—a legacy of slavery that has continued to have a profound impact on Haitian history.

      In October 1804 Dessalines assumed the title of Emperor Jacques I, but in October 1806 he was killed while trying to put down a mulatto revolt, and Henry Christophe (Christophe, Henry) took control of the kingdom from his capital in the north. Civil war then broke out between Christophe and Alexandre Sabès Pétion, who was based at Port-au-Prince in the south. As the civil war raged, the Spanish, with British help, restored their rule in Santo Domingo in 1809. Christophe, who declared himself King Henry I in 1811, managed to improve the country's economy but at the cost of forcing former slaves to return to work on the plantations. He built a spectacular palace (Sans Souci) as well as an imposing fortress (the Citadel) in the hills to the south of Cap-Haïtien, where, with mutinous soldiers almost at his door, he committed suicide in 1820.

      Jean-Pierre Boyer (Boyer, Jean-Pierre), who had succeeded to the presidency of the mulatto-led south on Pétion's death in 1818, became president of the entire country after Christophe's death. In 1822 he invaded and conquered Santo Domingo, which had declared itself independent from Spain the previous year and was then engaged in fighting the Spaniards. Boyer abolished slavery there and confiscated church property; it was not until 1844 that the Haitians were expelled by a popular uprising. The occupation created a tradition of distrust between the two nations, and subsequent generations of Dominicans regarded the period as a backward era.

      France recognized Haitian independence in 1825, in return for a large indemnity (nearly 100 million francs) that was to be paid at an annual rate until 1887. Britain recognized the state in 1833, followed by the United States in 1862, after the secession of the Southern slave states.

      Boyer was overthrown in 1843. Between then and 1915 a succession of 20 rulers followed, 16 of whom were overthrown by revolution or were assassinated. Faustin-Élie Soulouque (Soulouque, Faustin-Élie) became president in 1847 and “emperor for life” in 1849. He turned on his mulatto sponsors and became particularly repressive; however, his regime was in some ways a return to power for the blacks. He tried unsuccessfully to annex the Dominican Republic, and in 1859 one of his generals, Fabre Geffrard, overthrew him. Geffrard encouraged educated mulattoes to join his government and established Haitian respectability abroad.

      Throughout the 19th century a huge gulf developed between the small urban elite, who were mostly light-skinned and French-speaking, and the vast majority of black, Creole-speaking peasants. Social services and communication were almost nonexistent in the countryside, while Port-au-Prince was the centre of culture, business, and political intrigue.

      In the 1890s the United States attempted to gain additional military and commercial privileges in Haiti. In 1905 it took control of Haiti's customs operations, and, prior to World War I, American business interests gained a secure financial foothold and valuable concessions.

U.S. occupation
      From 1915 to 1934 Haiti was occupied by U.S. Marines (United States Marine Corps, The). The United States claimed that its action was justified under the Monroe Doctrine as well as on humanitarian grounds. However, many Haitians believed that the Marines had really been sent to protect U.S. investments and to establish a base to protect the approaches to the Panama Canal. Haiti signed a treaty with the United States—originally for 10 years but later extended—establishing U.S. financial and political domination. In 1918, in an election supervised by the Marines, a new constitution was introduced that permitted foreigners to own land in Haiti.

      One effect of the Marine occupation was the nominal reestablishment of the mulatto elite's control of the government. Black Haitians, in contrast, felt that they were excluded from public office and subjected to racist indignities at the hands of the Marines, including the corvée, an old law permitting forced labour for road construction; in response, peasant cacos (guerrillas) carried out a series of attacks. The Marines' public works program also included building new health clinics and sewerage systems, but most Haitians felt the effort inadequate.

      In October 1930 Haitians chose a national assembly for the first time since 1918. It in turn elected as president Sténio Joseph Vincent. In August 1934 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt withdrew the Marines; however, the United States maintained direct fiscal control until 1941 and indirect control over Haiti until 1947. In 1935 a plebiscite extended Vincent's term to 1941 and amended the constitution so that future presidents would be elected by popular vote.

Military regimes and the Duvaliers
      In October 1937 troops and police from the Dominican Republic massacred thousands of Haitian labourers living near the border. The Dominican government agreed to compensate the slain workers' relatives the following year, but only part of the promised amount was actually paid. The enmity between the two countries had long historical roots and racist underpinnings: Dominicans, with their Spanish culture and largely European ancestry, looked disdainfully upon black Haitian labourers; however, the Dominican economy depended on cheap Haitian labour.

      In 1946 Haitian workers and students held strikes and violent demonstrations in opposition to the president, Élie Lescot, who had succeeded Vincent in 1941. Three military officers seized power, and under their supervision Dumarsais Estimé was elected president. In 1950, after Estimé sought to extend his term, the military took control. In October Colonel Paul E. Magloire was elected president in a plebiscite.

      Magloire was forced to resign in 1956, and considerable unrest and several provisional presidents followed. François Duvalier (Duvalier, François) (called “Papa Doc”)—a physician with an interest in voodoo—was elected president in September 1957. He promised to end domination by the mulatto elite and to extend political and economic power to the black masses. Violence continued, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Duvalier in July 1958, he organized a paramilitary group—the so-called Tontons Macoutes (“Bogeymen”)—to terrorize the population. In 1964 Duvalier, by then firmly in control, had himself elected president for life. Haiti under Duvalier was, in effect, a police state.

      During Duvalier's time in power, Haiti experienced increasing international isolation, renewed friction with the Dominican Republic, and a marked exodus of Haitian professionals. The regime was characterized by corruption and human rights abuses, but a personality cult developed around Duvalier himself, and some sectors of society strongly supported him, including a small upwardly mobile black middle class.

      Near the end of his life, Duvalier faced a contracting economy, withdrawal of most U.S. aid, and a decline in tourism; in response he relaxed some of the severe repression and terror that had characterized his early regime. Before his death in 1971, he designated his son, Jean-Claude, aged 19 and nicknamed “Baby Doc” by the foreign media, to succeed him as president for life. The regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier (Duvalier, Jean-Claude) sought international respectability. Repression diminished, and tourism, U.S. aid, and the economy revived somewhat. Opponents, however, saw little change in the regime's basic nature.

      By the mid-1980s the ranks of the Tontons Macoutes had swelled to some 15,000 men, but they failed to silence a series of nationwide demonstrations against high unemployment, poor living conditions, and the lack of political freedom. In February 1986 Duvalier fled Haiti, with U.S. assistance, for France.

      Two public health scares adversely affected Haiti in the 1980s. First, U.S. agricultural authorities oversaw the mass eradication of Haiti's pig population in response to an outbreak of swine fever (hog cholera). The extermination caused widespread hardship among the peasant population, many of whom had bred pigs as an investment. This coincided with reports that AIDS was becoming a major problem in Haiti. As a result of these health concerns and ongoing political unrest, the nation's tourism industry virtually collapsed.

Democratic aspirations
      After Duvalier's departure, a five-member civilian-military council led by Lieutenant General Henri Namphy took charge, promising elections and democratic reforms. The first attempt at elections, in November 1987, ended when some three dozen voters were killed. In January 1988 Leslie Manigat won elections that were widely considered fraudulent, and Namphy overthrew him in June. A few months later Lieutenant General Prosper Avril took power, but his unstable regime ended in March 1990.

      On December 16, 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Aristide, Jean-Bertrand), a leftist Roman Catholic priest, won the presidency by a landslide in what were widely reported to be the first free elections in Haiti's history. Legislative elections in January 1991 gave Aristide supporters a plurality in Haiti's parliament. However, Aristide's reformist policies alienated the wealthy elite, and, after he had been in office less than eight months, Brigadier General Raoul Cédras deposed him and began to repress political opposition. The United States and other nations imposed a trade embargo, but it was partly circumvented by smuggling through the Dominican Republic. Tens of thousands of Haitians attempted to flee their country in small boats bound for the U.S. state of Florida, but the vast majority were returned to Haiti.

      In September 1994 the de facto government agreed to step down and allow some 20,000 U.S. troops to occupy the country. Aristide returned the following month, whereas Cédras and other coup leaders went into exile. Aristide dismantled the Haitian military—an act that would have been impossible without the presence of the U.S. military—and, under pressure from the United States and other nations, pressed for free-market reforms. Haiti benefited economically from a large influx of international aid and loans, but many of its farmers (the largest component of its workforce) struggled to compete with cheaper imported foodstuffs. The United States and United Nations began forming a new Haitian police force, but the bulk of U.S. forces were soon withdrawn. The Haitian police were thrust into their duties with inadequate preparation and were soon criticized for high incidences of corruption and unwarranted violence.

      Elections in 1995 brought about the first peaceful transfer of power between elected presidents in Haiti's history when René Préval, an associate of Aristide, was chosen to succeed him. Préval, faced with political infighting among the groups that had supported Aristide, dissolved the parliament in 1999. The following year, in allegedly fraudulent elections, Préval's supporters took control of the legislature, and Aristide again claimed the presidency.

Murdo J. MacLeod James A. Ferguson
      Aristide faced serious economic and political problems on his return to power in 2001. International aid sanctions, imposed after the 2000 elections, helped fuel a downward economic spiral that further impoverished an already desperate population. Instances of disease (including HIV/AIDS) rose sharply, as did levels of lawlessness and violence. Open opposition to Aristide's rule broke out in 2003. The bicentennial observance of Haiti's independence, on January 1, 2004, was muted and was marked by street demonstrations; by late February Aristide had fled the country in the face of a rebel insurgency and the loss of U.S. and French support.


Additional Reading

General introductions to Haiti include Thomas E. Weil et al., Area Handbook for Haiti (1973, reissued as Haiti: A Country Study, 1986); and Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Haiti: The Breached Citadel (1990). Guy Lasserre, Paul Moral, and Pierre Usselmann (eds.), Atlas d'Haïti (1985), is a collection of maps and French-language discussion prepared by an international team. An important source on the geography of the colony of Saint-Domingue is Médéric-Louis-Elie Moreau de Saint-Méry, A Civilization That Perished: The Last Years of White Colonial Rule in Haiti, trans. and ed. by Ivor D. Spencer (1985; originally published in French, 2 vol., 1797–98).Haitian society is considered in James Graham Leyburn, The Haitian People, 3rd. ed. (1998); Paul Moral, Le Paysan haïtien: étude sur la vie rurale en Haïti (1961, reprinted 1978); Mats Lundahl, Peasants and Poverty: A Study of Haiti (1979); André-Marcel d'Ans, Haïti: paysage et société (1987); Charles R. Foster and Albert Valdman (eds.), Haiti —Today and Tomorrow: An Interdisciplinary Study (1984); and David Nicholls, From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour, and National Independence in Haiti, rev. ed. (1996). Haitian justice and individuals' rights are surveyed in Adama Dieng, “Situation on Human Rights in Haiti” (1997), a report for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; and U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (annual).Economic conditions in Haiti are analyzed in Mats Lundahl, The Haitian Economy: Man, Land, and Markets (1983); Simon M. Fass, Political Economy in Haiti: The Drama of Survival (1988, reprinted 1990); and Christian A. Girault, Le Commerce du café en Haïti: habitants, spéculateurs et exportateurs (1981), a discussion of the coffee trade.Cultural topics are discussed in Harold Courlander, The Drum and the Hoe: Life and Lore of the Haitian People (1960, reprinted 1985); and J. Michael Dash, Literature and Ideology in Haiti, 1915–1961 (1981). The role of voodoo in Haiti is perceptively explored in Joan Dayan, Haiti, History, and the Gods (1995, reprinted 1998).

Rayford W. Logan, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (1968), is a standard history. Also useful are Brian Weinstein and Aaron Segal, Haiti: Political Failures, Cultural Successes (1984), and Haiti: The Failure of Politics (1992). Concise references include Roland I. Perusse, Historical Dictionary of Haiti (1977); and Benjamin Nuñez, Dictionary of Afro-Latin American Civilization (1980), which includes entries on Haitian and Caribbean history. Indigenous communities are examined in Samuel M. Wilson, Hispaniola: Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus (1990). Alex Dupuy, Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race, and Underdevelopment Since 1700 (1989), is a perceptive political history with an economic focus. A useful collection of historical and contemporary writing is Charles Arthur and Michael Dash (eds.), A Haiti Anthology: Libète (1999).James A. Ferguson

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Universalium. 2010.

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