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Facts About Haiti

 

   Introduction   Geography   People   Government   Economy   Communications   Transportation   Military   Transnational Issues  

 

 

Haiti

   Introduction

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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 the following year.

Haiti

   Geography

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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:  275 km

border countries:  Dominican Republic 275 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:

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%

permanent crops:  13%

permanent pastures:  18%

forests and woodland:  5%

other:  44% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land:

750 sq km (1993 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, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography - note:

shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)

Haiti

   People

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Population:

6,964,549

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 2001 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years:  40.31% (male 1,421,945; female 1,385,580)

15-64 years:  55.52% (male 1,869,323; female 1,997,246)

65 years and over:  4.17% (male 140,556; female 149,899) (2001 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.4% (2001 est.)

Birth rate:

31.68 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Death rate:

15 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)

Net migration rate:

-2.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 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:  0.94 male(s)/female

total population:  0.97 male(s)/female (2001 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

95.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population:  49.38 years

male:  47.67 years

female:  51.17 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.4 children born/woman (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

5.17% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

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 one-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.)

Haiti

   Government

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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; 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 Jean-Marie CHERESTAL (since 9 February 2001)

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 Congress

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 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; about eight 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 election 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, OPL 1, other minor parties and independents 9

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 Front for Change and Democracy or FNCD [Evans PAUL and Turneb DELPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Gerard PIERRE-CHARLES]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Autonomous Haitian Workers or CATH; 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 participation:

ACCT, ACP, Caricom (observer), CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, 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

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 Brian Dean CURRAN

embassy:  5 Harry Truman Boulevard, Port-au-Prince

mailing address:  P. O. Box 1761, Port-au-Prince

telephone:  [509] 222-0354, 222-0269, 222-0200, 223-4776

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)

Haiti

   Economy

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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. This destabilized the Haitian currency, the gourde, and, combined with a 40% fuel price hike in September, caused widespread price increases. Prices appear to have leveled off in January 2001.

GDP:

purchasing power parity - $12.7 billion (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.2% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:

purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture:  32%

industry:  20%

services:  48% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:

80% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%:  NA%

highest 10%:  NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

19% (2000 est.)

Labor force:

3.6 million (1995)

note:  shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (1998)

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 (1999)

Budget:

revenues:  $317 million

expenditures:  $362 million, including capital expenditures of $84 million (FY99/00 est.)

Industries:

sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, tourism, light assembly industries based on imported parts

Industrial production growth rate:

0.6% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production:

672 million kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source:

fossil fuel:  52.83%

hydro:  47.17%

nuclear:  0%

other:  0% (1999)

Electricity - consumption:

625 million kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (1999)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (1999)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood

Exports:

$186 million (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities:

manufactures, coffee, oils, mangoes

Exports - partners:

US 89%, EU 8% (1999)

Imports:

$1.2 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities:

food, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials

Imports - partners:

US 60%, EU 13% (1999)

Debt - external:

$1 billion (1998 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$730.6 million (1995)

Currency:

gourde (HTG)

Currency code:

HTG

Exchange rates:

gourdes per US dollar - 23.761 (January 2001), 22.524 (2000), 17.965 (1999), 16.505 (1998), 17.311 (1997), 15.093 (1996)

Fiscal year:

1 October - 30 September

Haiti

   Communications

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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)

Haiti

   Transportation

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Railways:

total:  40 km (single track; privately owned industrial line) - closed in early 1990s

narrow gauge:  40 km 0.760-m gauge

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 (2000 est.)

Airports:

13 (2000 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

total:  3

2,438 to 3,047 m:  1

914 to 1,523 m:  2 (2000 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total:  10

914 to 1,523 m:  2

under 914 m:  8 (2000 est.)

Haiti

   Military

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Military branches:

Haitian National Police (HNP)

note:  the regular Haitian Army, Navy, and Air Force have been demobilized but still exist on paper until constitutionally abolished

Military manpower - military age:

18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:

males age 15-49:  1,635,253 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:

males age 15-49:  888,305 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:

males:  87,049 (2001 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:

$NA; note - mainly for police and security activities

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

NA%

Haiti

   Transnational Issues

Top of Page

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

 

 

 

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