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Haiti[Country flag of Haiti]
[Country map of Haiti]

Introduction Haiti
Background:
The native Arawak Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Columbus in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola, and in 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island - Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean, but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE and after a prolonged struggle, became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
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: 28.3%
permanent crops: 11.61%
other: 60.09% (2001)
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 agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes
Geography - note:
shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)
People Haiti
Population:
8,121,622
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 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.6% (male 1,741,622/female 1,721,436)
15-64 years: 53.9% (male 2,137,225/female 2,242,639)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 124,383/female 154,317) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.03 years
male: 17.63 years
female: 18.44 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.26% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
36.59 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
12.34 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 73.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 79.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 52.92 years
male: 51.58 years
female: 54.31 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.02 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
5.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
280,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
24,000 (2003 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 practices Voodoo
Languages:
French (official), Creole (official)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.9%
male: 54.8%
female: 51.2% (2003 est.)
Government Haiti
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti
local short form: 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; returned to constitutional rule in 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: Interim President Boniface ALEXANDRE (since 29 February 2004)
note: Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE resigned as president on 29 February 2004; ALEXANDRE, as Chief of the Supreme Court, constitutionally succeeded Aristide
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Gerald LATORTUE (since 12 March 2004), chosen by extraconstitutional Council of Eminent Persons representing cross-section of political and civic interests
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 in November 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); note - the National Assembly stopped functioning in January 2004 when the terms of all Deputies and two-thirds of sitting Senators expired; no replacements have been elected; the President is currently ruling by decree
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 in 2005); 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 in November 2005)
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]; Ayiti Kapab [Ernst VERDIEU]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; National Congress of Democratic Movements or KONAKOM [Victor BENOIT]; Nationalist Progressive Revolutionary Party or PANPRA [Serge GILLES]; Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Haiti or MODELH [Francois LATORTUE]; Grand Center Right Front coalition (composed of MDN, MRN, and PDCH) [Hubert de RONCERAY, Jean BUTEAU, Osner FEVRY and Marie-Denise CLAUDE]; Haitian Christian Democratic Party or PDCH [Osner FEVRY and Marie-Denise CLAUDE]; Haitian Democratic Party or PADEMH [Clark PARENT]; Haitian Democratic and Reform Movement or MODEREH [Dany TOUSSAINT and Pierre Soncon PRINCE]; Heads Together [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; Lavalas Family or FL [leader NA]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Michael MADSEN]; Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert DE RONCERAY]; Movement for National Reconstruction or MRN [Jean Henold BUTEAU]; Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti or MIDH [Marc BAZIN]; National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti or FRON [Guy PHILIPPE]; National Progressive Democratic Party or PNDPH [Turneb DELPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Open the Gate Party (Parti Louvri Bayre) or PLB [leader NA]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti, or Generation 2000 [Claude ROMAIN and Daniel SUPPLICE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Edgard LEBLANC]; MNP28 [Dejean BELIZAIRE]; KOMBA [Evans LESCOUFLAIR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Autonomous Organizations of Haitian Workers or CATH [Fignole ST-CYR]; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; Group of 184 Civil Society Organization, or G-184 [Andy APAID]; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP [Chavannes JEAN-BAPTISTE]; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Roman Catholic Church; Protestant Federation of Haiti
International organization participation:
ACCT, ACP, Caricom (suspended), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, MIGA, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires Raymond JOSEPH (as of November 2004)
chancery: 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-4090
FAX: [1] (202) 745-7215
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James B. FOLEY
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, 222-0327
FAX: [509] 223-1641 or 222-0200 ext 460
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:
In this poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, 80% of the population lives in abject poverty, and natural disasters frequently sweep the nation. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming. 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, 0.9% in 2002, grew 0.4% in 2003, and shrank by 3.5% in 2004. Suspended aid and loan disbursements totaled more than $500 million at the start of 2003. Haiti also suffers from rampant inflation, a lack of investment, and a severe trade deficit. In early 2005 Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way to reengagement with the Bank. The resumption of aid flows from all donors is alleviating but not ending the nation's bitter economic problems. Civil strife in 2004 combined with extensive damage from flooding in southern Haiti in May 2004 and Tropical Storm Jeanne in northwestern Haiti in September 2004 further impoverished Haiti.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$12.05 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-3.5% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 20%
services: 50% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
3.6 million
note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (1995)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 66%, industry 9%, services 25%
Unemployment rate:
widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
80% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
22% (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $330.2 million
expenditures: $529.6 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum, wood
Industries:
sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, light assembly industries based on imported parts
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
618 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 60.3%
hydro: 39.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
574.7 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
11,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Current account balance:
$-27.63 million (2004 est.)
Exports:
$338.1 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactures, coffee, oils, cocoa, mangoes
Exports - partners:
US 81.2%, Dominican Republic 7.3%, Canada 4.1% (2004)
Imports:
$1.085 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Imports - partners:
US 34.8%, Netherlands Antilles 18%, Malaysia 5.1%, Colombia 4.7% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$80.64 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.2 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$150 million (FY04 est.)
Currency (code):
gourde (HTG)
Currency code:
HTG
Exchange rates:
gourdes per US dollar - 38.352 (2004), 42.367 (2003), 29.251 (2002), 24.429 (2001), 21.171 (2000)
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Communications Haiti
Telephones - main lines in use:
130,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
140,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better
domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay trunk service
international: country code - 509; 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 hosts:
NA
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
80,000 (2002)
Transportation Haiti
Highways:
total: 4,160 km
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Cap-Haitien
Airports:
13 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2004 est.)
Military Haiti
Military branches:
the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary recruitment into the police force (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,626,491 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 948,320 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 98,554 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$26 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.9% (2003)
Transnational Issues Haiti
Disputes - international:
since 2004, about 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) maintain civil order in Haiti; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians fleeing economic privation and civil unrest continue to cross into Dominican Republic and to sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island
Illicit drugs:
major Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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