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Flag of Haiti
Map of Haiti
Introduction Haiti
Background:
The native Taino 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, which later became 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. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the departure of President Jean-Betrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays have prompted repeated postponements, and Haiti missed the constitutionally-mandated presidential inauguration date of 7 February 2006.
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: 28.11%
permanent crops: 11.53%
other: 60.36% (2005)
Irrigated land:
920 sq km (2003)
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:
8,308,504
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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.4% (male 1,770,523/female 1,749,853)
15-64 years: 54.2% (male 2,201,957/female 2,301,886)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 125,298/female 158,987) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.2 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.6 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.3% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
36.44 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
12.17 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 71.65 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 78.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.23 years
male: 51.89 years
female: 54.6 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.94 children born/woman (2006 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%
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/Repiblik d' Ayiti
local short form: Haiti/Ayiti
Government type:
elected government
Capital:
name: Port-au-Prince
geographic coordinates: 18 32 N, 72 20 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand 'Anse, Nippes, 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; constitutional government ousted in a military coup in September 1991, although in October 1991, military government claimed to be observing the constitution; returned to constitutional rule in October 1994; constitution remains technically in force but has not been observed since Aristide's departure in 2004
Legal system:
based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Rene PREVAL (since 14 May 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard ALEXIS (since 30 May 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 7 February 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly
election results: Rene PREVAL elected president; percent of vote - Rene PREVAL 51%
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - in reestablishing the Senate, the candidate in each department receiving the most votes in the last election serves six years, the candidate with the second most votes serves four years, and the candidate with the third most votes serves two years
elections: Senate - last held 21 April 2006, run-off elections to be determined (next regular election, for one third of seats, to be held in 2008); Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 April 2006, run-off elections to be determined (next regular election to be held in 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 11, OPL 4, FL 3, FUSION 3, LAAA 2, UNCRH 2, ALYANS 1, PONT 1, 3 seats subject to run-off election; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 19, FUSION 15, ALYANS 10, OPL 8, FL 6, UNCRH 6, MPH 4, RDNP 4, LAAA 3,KONBA 3, FRN 1, MOCHRENHA 1, MRN 1, Tet-Ansanm 1, MIRN 1, JPDN 1, UNITE 1, PLH 1, 13 seats subject to run-off election
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
Political parties and leaders:
Artibonite in Action or LAAA [Youri LATORTUE]; Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Leslie MANIGAT]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; Cooperative Action to Build Haiti or KONBA [Evans LESCOUFALIR]; Democratic Alliance or ALYANS (coalition composed of KID and PPRH) [Evans PAUL]; Effort and Solidarity to Create an Alternative for the People or ESKAMP [Joseph JASME]; For Us All or PONT [Jean-Marie CHERESTAL]; Front for Hope or L'ESPWA (alliance of ESKAMP, PLB, and grass-roots organizations Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, the Central Plateau Peasants' Group, and Kombit Sudest) [Rene PREVAL]; Grand Center Right Front coalition (composed of MDN, MRN, and PDCH) [Hubert de RONCERAY]; Haitian Christian Democratic Party or PDCH [Osner FEVRY and Marie-Denise CLAUDE]; Haitian Democratic and Reform Movement or MODEREH [Dany TOUSSAINT and Pierre Soncon PRINCE]; Heads Together or Tet-Ansanm [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; Independent Movement for National Reconciliation or MIRN [Luc FLEURINORD]; Justice for Peace and National Development or JPDN [Rigaud DUPLAN]; Fanmi Lavalas or FL [Rudy HERIVEAUX]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Gehy MICHEL]; Merging of Haitian Social Democratic Parties or FUSION or FPSDH (merged Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements) [Serge GILLES]; Mobilization for Haiti's Development or MPH [Samir MOURRA]; 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 Christian Union for the Reconstruction of Haiti or UNCRH [Marie Claude GERMAIN]; National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti or FRN [Guy PHILIPPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Open the Gate Party or PLB [Anes LUBIN]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN and Daniel SUPPLICE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Edgard LEBLANC]; Union for Haiti or UPH (coalition of MIDH and FL) [Marc BAZIN]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNITE [Edouard FRANCISQUE]
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; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations, 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, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, MIGA, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Raymond JOSEPH (as of October 2005)
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, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Timothy M. CARNEY
embassy: 5 Harry S Truman Boulevard, Port-au-Prince
mailing address: P. O. Box 1761, Port-au-Prince
telephone: [509] 222-0200
FAX: [509] 223-9038
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. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. The economy grew 1.5% in 2005, the highest growth rate since 1999. Haiti 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 for reengagement with the Bank. The government is reliant on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP in 2005.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.15 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$4.321 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,700 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 28%
industry: 20%
services: 52% (2004 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):
15.7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
27.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $400 million
expenditures: $600.8 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 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:
546 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 60.3%
hydro: 39.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
507.8 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
11,800 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
$23 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
$390.7 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactures, coffee, oils, cocoa, mangoes
Exports - partners:
US 81.1%, Dominican Republic 6.9%, Canada 4% (2005)
Imports:
$1.471 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Imports - partners:
US 49.4%, Netherlands Antilles 12.1%, Malaysia 3.4% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$100 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.313 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$153 million (FY05 est.)
Currency (code):
gourde (HTG)
Currency code:
HTG
Exchange rates:
gourdes per US dollar - 40.449 (2005), 38.352 (2004), 42.367 (2003), 29.251 (2002), 24.429 (2001)
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Communications Haiti
Telephones - main lines in use:
140,000 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
400,000 (2004)
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:
3 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
500,000 (2005)
Transportation Haiti
Airports:
12 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2006)
Roadways:
total: 4,160 km
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (1999)
Ports and terminals:
Cap-Haitien
Military Haiti
Military branches:
the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper 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
females age 18-49: 1,637,657 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 948,320
females age 18-49: 931,972 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 98,554
females age 18-49: 97,690 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$25.96 million (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.9% (2003 est.)
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 the Dominican Republic and sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island
Illicit drugs:
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 19 September, 2006