HAITI

Motto:

[L'Union Fait la Force] 

 Unity is our Strength


History 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 - 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.  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 forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand 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 prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

Geography
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
Area: total:  27,750 sq km
land:  27,560 sq km
water:  190 sq km
Land boundaries: total:  360 km
border countries:  Dominican Republic 360 km
Coastline: 1,771 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone:  24 NM
continental shelf:  to depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone:  200 NM
territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
Terrain: mostly rough and mountainous
Elevation extremes: highest point:  Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Natural resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
Land use: arable land:  28.11%
permanent crops:  11.53%
other:  60.36% (2005 est.)
Irrigated land: 920 sq km (2003 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

People  
Population: 9,035,536
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.1% (male 1,735,917/female 1,704,383)
15-64 years: 58.5% (male 2,621,059/female 2,665,447)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 120,040/female 188,690) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.838% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 29.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 8.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 47% of total population (2008)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 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
Country name: Republic of Haiti
Capital: Port-au-Prince
geographic coordinates: 18 32 N, 72 20 W
Government type: republic
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
Constitution: Approved March 1987;note: 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, October 1994; constitution, while technically in force between 2004-2006, was not enforced; returned to constitutional rule in May 2006
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). President PREVAL was born 7 January 1943.  He became Prime Minister in 1991 but was exiled following a military coup in September of 1991. He became President in 1996 , left office at the end of his term, but was again declared winner in the 2006 election.

head of government: Prime Minister Michele PIERRE-LOUIS (since 5 September 2008)

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

percent of vote - Rene PREVAL 51%
Legislative branch: Bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (30 seats; members 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)

elections: Senate - last held 21 April 2006, with run-off elections on 3 December 2006; Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 April 2006, with run-off elections on 3 December 2006 and 29 April 2007(next regular election to be held in 2010)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 11, FUSION 5, OPL 4, FL 3, LAAA 2, UNCRH 2, PONT 2, ALYANS 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 23, FUSION 17, FRN 12, OPL 10, ALYANS 10, LAAA 5, MPH 3, MOCHRENA 3, other 10; results for six other seats contested on 3 December 2006 remain unknown

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 LESCOURALIR]  Democratic Alliance or ALYANS [Evans PAUL] (coalition composed of KID and PPRH); 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 [Rene PREVAL] (alliance of ESKAMP, PLB, and grass-roots organizations Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, the Central Plateau Peasants' Group and Kombit Sudest); Haitian Christian Democratic Party of 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 [Serge GILLES] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); Mobilization for Haiti's Development of 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]; Nartional 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 of PLB [Anes LUBIN]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Edgard LEBLANC]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNITE [Edouard FRANCISQUE]
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICct (signatory) ,ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC,  LAES, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Raymond JOSEPH
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)
consulate (s): Orlando (Florida)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Janet A. SANDERSON
embassy:  Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
mailing address: 
telephone:  [509] 229-8000
FAX:  [509] 229-8028
Date of Caricom Membership: July 2002
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
Overview: Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty.  Two thirds of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation.  While the economy has recovered in recent years, registering positive growth since 2005, four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. HOPE II, passed in October 2008, has further improved the export environment for the apparel sector by extending preferences to 2018; the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports.  Haiti suffers from high inflation, a lack of investment because of insecurity and limited infrastructure, and a severe trade deficit. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti is expected to receive debt forgiveness for about $525 million of its debt through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative by mid-2009. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability.
GDP purchasing power parity (PPP):  $11.5 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.3% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):  $1,300 (2008 est
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  28%
industry:  20%
services:  52% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line: 80% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 3.643 million (2007)
note:  shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2007)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 66%
services 25
industry 9% (1995)
Unemployment rate: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs
Budget: revenues:  $967.5 million
expenditures:  $1.162 billion (2008 est)
Industries:  sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement,  light assembly industries based on imported parts
Agriculture - products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
Exports: $490 million (2008 est)
Exports - commodities: manufactures, coffee, oils, mangoes, apparel
Export Partners: US 68.8%, Dominican Republic 10.2%, Canada 3% (2008)
Imports: $2.107 billion (2008 est)
Imports - commodities: food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Import Partners: US 44.1%, Netherlands Antilles 13.7%, China 5.5% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: 708 million (31 December 2008)
Debt - external: 1.506 billion (31 Dec 2008 est.)
Exchange rates: gourdes (HTG) per US dollar - 39.216 (2008 est)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Business Hours: commercial 8:00AM - 6:00PM Monday to Friday
Government: 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday to Friday

Communications
Telephones - main lines in use: 108,300 (2007)
Telephones - Mobile Cellular: 3.2 million (2008)
Telephone system: telecommunications infrastructure is among the least developed in Latin America and the Caribbean; domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better; mobile-cellular telephone service are expanding rapidly due, in part, to the introduction of low-cost GSM phones in 2006.
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)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (plus a cable TV service) (1997)
Internet Country Code: .ht
Internet Hosts
 Users:
7 (2008)
1 million (2007)

Transportation
Roadways total:  4,160 km
paved:  1,011 km
unpaved:  3,149 km (2000)
Ports : Cap-Haitien
Airports: 14 (2009) Main airport:Port-au-Prince International
Airports - with paved runways: total:  4
2,438 to 3,047 m:  1
914 to 1,523 m:  3 (2008)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  10
914 to 1,523 m:  1
under 914 m:  9 (2008)

Military
  no regular military forces - small Coast Guard; he regular Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force have been demobilized but still exist on paper until constitutionally abolished (2009)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem: La Dessalinienne

Pour le Pays
Pour les Ancetres
Marchons unies (bis)
Dans no rangs
Point de traitres,
Du notre sol
Soyons seulsmetres,
Marcons unies (bis)
Pour le Pays
Pour les Ancetres
Marchons Marchons
Marchons unies
Pour le Pays
Pour les Ancetres
Pour les Aieux,
Pour la Patrie,
Behons joyeux (bis)
Quand le champ fructific,
L'aime se fortifie,
Bechons joyeux
Pour les Aieux
Pour la Patrie.
Pour le Pays
Et Pour nos Peres,
Formons de Fils (bis)
Libres, firts et prosperes,
Toujours nous serons freres
Formons des Fils
Pour le Pays
Et pour nos Peres
Pour les Aieux,
Pour la Patrie,
O Dieun des Preux! (Bis)
Sous ta garde infinie.
Prends nos droits notre vie.
O Dieux des Preux,
Pour les Aieux,
Pour la Patrie
Pour le Drapeau,
Pour la Patrie
Mourir est beau (bis),
Notre passe nous crie:
Ayez l'ame aguerrie.
Mourir est beau,
Pour le Drapeau,
Pour la Patrie.

English Translation

For our country,
For our forefathers,
United let us march.
United let us march.
Let there be no traitors in our ranks!
Let us be masters of our soil.
United let us march
United let us march.
For our country,
For our forefathers.
March, march, United let us march.
For our country,
For our forefathers.

For our forebears,
For our country
Let us toil joyfully.
May the fields be fertile
And our souls take courage.
Let us toil joyfully
For our forebears,
For our country.

For our country
And for our forefathers,
Let us train our sons.
Free, strong, and prosperous,
We shall always be as brothers.
Let us train our sons
For our country
And for our forefathers.

For our forebears,
For our country,
Oh God of the valiant!
Take our rights and our life
Under your infinite protection,
Oh God of the valiant!
For our forebears,
For our country.

For the flag,
For our country
To die is a fine thing!
Our past cries out to us:
Have a disciplined soul!
To die is a fine thing,
For the flag,
For our country.

Highest National Award L'Ordre National Honneur et Merite, au grade de Grand-Croix; Plaque d'Or
Favourite Local Cuisine:

Griots - Fried spiced Pork with peas and rice (riz et pois), and plantain.