Haiti

Introduction 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-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.
History

This island of the Greater Antilles was "discovered" by Christopher Columbus on December 5, 1492. He named it Hispaniola. A branch of the Arawaks, the Tainos occupied the island before the arrival of the Spaniards. Their number to the end of 15th century was estimated to be lower than 100,000. The Spaniards exploited the island for its gold, gold which was mined largely by the local Amerindians under the direction of the occupying Spanish. This was hardly voluntary labor and those refusing to work in the mines were slaughtered or forced into slavery. The few who evaded capture fled to the mountains and established independent settlements.

The Europeans also brought infectious diseases with them to the island which, along with ill treatment, malnutrition and a drastic drop of the birthrate, effectively decimated the remaining indigenous population in just a few decades. Without any more workers for the mines, the Spanish governors began importing slaves from Africa. In 1517, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, authorized the draft of the slaves. Those African slaves who managed to escape the European rule also fled to the mountains where some encountered, befriended and intermarried with fugitive Amerindians, consequently forming a line of people referred to as the marabou.

The western part of Hispaniola, in contrast was settled by French buccaneers. Among them, Bertrand d'Ogeron succeeded in growing tobacco, thus allowing the, by then, large number of settled buccaneers and freebooters to turn into a sedentary population; a population which didn’t submit to royal authority until the year 1660, causing a number of conflicts. Bertrand d'Orgeron also attracted many colonists of Martinique and Guadeloupe, like the Roy family (Jean Roy, 1625-1707), Hebert (Jean Hebert, 1624, with his family) and the Barre (Guillaume Barre, 1642, with his family) driven out by the land pressure which was generated by the extension of the sugar dwellings. However, in the time between 1670 and 1690, a huge tobacco crisis struck the island, significantly reducing the number of settlers. The rows of the freebooting grew bigger, plundering, like those of Vera Cruz in 1683 or of Campêche in 1686, became increasingly commonplace and Jean-Baptist Colbert, Marquis de Seignelay, elder son of Jean-Baptiste Colbert and at the time Minister of the Navy, brought back some order by taking a great number of measures. Among those appeared the creation of plantations of indigo and of cane sugar. The first sugar windmill was created in 1685.

The Treaty of Ryswick of 1697 divided Hispaniola between France and Spain. France received the western third, and named it Saint Domingue. Many French colonists came and worked in plantations. From 1713 to 1787, 30,000 colonists, among them Pierre Nezat, left Bordeaux, France, came to enlarge the number of the colonists present in the western part of the island. The wars burst in Europe and were prolonged on the seas to the Antilles and the Caribbean. In 1756, trade was paralysed. A great number of colonists and their families left Saint Domingue for Louisiana, where they settled in Post established by France and managed by soldiers. Thus the families Barre, Roy, Hebert and Nezat met again in the territories of Attakapas and Opelousas (Indian tribes), where they also met other French colonists from Paris or from Nova Scotia (Alex Charles Barre, descendant of Guillaume Barre, founded in 1820 Port Barre). By about 1790, Santo Domingo had become the richest French colony in all of America thanks to the immense profits of the sugar and indigo industries and the thousands of Africans who had been brought as slaves to make these industries function. Their fate was under the jurisdiction framed by the black code, prepared by Colbert and enacted by Louis XIV. But the French Revolution involved serious social upheavals in the French West Indies and in Saint Domingue too. Most important was the revolt of the slaves which lead in 1793 to the abolition of slavery by the commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel, (decision endorsed and generalized to the whole of the French colonies by the Convention six months later). The Black Toussaint Louverture, appointed Governor by France, after having restored peace, having driven out the Spaniards and the English who threatened the colony, restored prosperity by daring measures. He went however too far promulgating a separatist constitution and Napoleon Bonaparte, under the influence of the Creoles (French - and Spaniards born on one of the islands of the Antilles, later also in Louisiana) and of the traders, sent an expedition of 30,000 men under the command of his brother-in-law the General Charles Leclerc. He had the mission of ousting Louverture and of restoring slavery. But, after some victories, the arrest and the deportation of Toussaint Louverture, the French troops ordered by Donatien Marie Joseph de Rochambeau finished by being beaten at the Battle of Vertières per Jean-Jacques Dessalines. At the end of a double battle for freedom and for independence won by former slaves over the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, the independence of the country was proclaimed on 1 January 1804, under the name of Haiti. Haiti had become the first country in the world to make effective the abolition of slavery.

Dessalines was proclaimed governor for life by his troops. He exiled the remaining whites and ruled as a despot. He was assassinated on October 17, 1806. The country was divided then between a kingdom in the north, directed by Henri Christophe and a republic in the south, directed by Alexandre Pétion. Then president Jean Pierre Boyer reunified these two parts and conquered the east part of the island. July 11, 1825, the king of France Charles X threatened to reconquer the island and sent a fleet of 14 vessels. Boyer had to sign a treaty in which France recognized the independence of the country in exchange for an allowance of 150 million francs-or (the sum would be reduced in 1838 to 90 million francs).

A long succession of coups followed the departure of Jean Pierre Boyer. His authority did not cease being disputed by factions of the army, the mulatto and black elites, and the commercial class, now made up of great number from abroad – Germans, Americans, French and English). The country was impoverished, with few State Heads taking care of its development. As his authority weakened, armed revolts started, maintained by candidates to the succession. At the beginning of the 20th century, the country was in a state of quasi-permanent insurrection.

The United States occupied the island from 1915 to 1934. Thereafter, from 1957 to 1986, the Duvaliers reigned as dictators. They created the system of denouncement and death squads known as Tonton Macoute. Many Haitians exiled themselves, in particular to the United States and Quebec. The former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the elections of December 1990. His mandate began on February 7, 1991, but a coup d'etat carried out by Raoul Cédras supported by the middle-class of businesses deposed him in September. In 1994, he was restored to authority under the pressure of the Clinton administration (which threatened with military intervention) on the condition that he gave up recovering the years lost at the time of the military interlude. He left the presidency in 1995 then and was re-elected in 2000. After several months of popular demonstrations and pressures exerted by the international community, especially by France, the USA and Canada, Aristide went into exile, being taken out of the country by US soldiers on February 29, 2004, when armed forces consisting of opponents and former soldiers who controlled the North of the country threatened to go on the capital Port-au-Prince.

Boniface Alexandre, president of the Supreme Court of appeal, assumed interim authority. In February 2006, following elections marked by uncertainties on the calculation of the ballot papers, and thanks to the support of popular demonstrations, René Préval, near to Aristide and former president of the Republic of Haiti between 1995 and 2000, was elected.

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
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)
Total renewable water resources: 14 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.99 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 116 cu m/yr (2000)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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)
Politics

The government of Haiti is a presidential republic, pluriform multiparty system whereby the President of Haiti is head of state directly elected by popular elections. The Prime Minister acts as head of government, and is appointed by the President from the majority party in the National Assembly. Executive power is exercised by the President and Prime Minister who together constitute the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the National Assembly of Haiti. The government is organized unitarily, thus the central government delegates powers to the departments without a constitutional need for consent. The current structure of Haiti's political system was set forth in the Constitution of March 29, 1987. The current president is René Préval.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (also known as MINUSTAH) has been in the country since 2004 with armed peacekeepers, mostly situated in major cities such as Port-Au-Prince. Despite the presence of this force, the cities continue to have severe problems with crime, kidnapping, including kidnapping of foreigners, criminal gangs, and drug trafficking. These problems are particularly centered around Port-Au-Prince, although they are also present in other cities, notably Gonaīves.

Haitian politics are diverse and often contentious. Most Haitians are aware of Haiti's history as the first and only country in the Western Hemisphere to undergo a successful revolution of slaves, and this influences Haitian politics. Superpowers, notably France and the United States, have repeatedly interfered in Haitian politics since the country's founding, and this consciousness also permeates Haitian politics. On the other hand, the history of oppression by the Haitian dictator François Duvalier is also an influence. An understanding of current international politics plays a role as well.

People Population: 8,706,497
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 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.1% (male 1,846,175/female 1,817,082)
15-64 years: 54.4% (male 2,313,542/female 2,426,326)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 134,580/female 168,792) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 18.4 years
male: 17.9 years
female: 18.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.453% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 35.87 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 10.4 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.016 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.954 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.797 male(s)/female
total population: 0.973 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 63.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 68.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 59.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 57.03 years
male: 55.35 years
female: 58.75 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.86 children born/woman (2007 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.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
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: 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: republic
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, 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)
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 with run-off elections on 3 December 2006 (next regular election, for one third of seats, to be held by January 2008 but will probably be postponed); 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 LESCOUFALIR]; 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 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 [Serge GILLES] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); 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]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Edgard LEBLANC]; 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; General Organization of Independent Haitian Workers [Patrick NUMAS]; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; 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, 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, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, 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, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Janet A. SANDERSON
embassy: 5 Harry S Truman Boulevard, Bicentenaire-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)
Culture

Haiti has a long and storied history and therefore retains a rich culture. Haitian culture is a mix of primarily French and African elements, with some lesser influence from the colonial Spanish as well as minor influences from the native Taíno. The country's customs essentially are a blend of cultural beliefs that derived from the many ethnic groups that inhabited the island of Hispaniola. In nearly all aspects of modern Haitian society however, the European and African element dominate.

Religion

Roman Catholicism is the official state religion in which the majority, approximately 80-85%, of the population professes. An estimated 15-20% of the population follows the teachings of various Protestant churches. Many Haitians, often Roman Catholics, also practice Vodou[10], almost always in addition to traditional Catholic observances. Haitian Vodou is very similar to other Afro-based faiths such as the Santería practiced in Cuba and Puerto Rico, Espiritismo in Dominican Republic, Obeah in Jamaica and Candomblé in Brazil.

Carnival

Haiti has a vibrant and large carnival season; referred to as Mardi Gras or Carnaval in French and Kanaval in Haitian Creole. It is held every year on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The Jacmel Carnival is well known for its culturally appealing displays of costumes and masks. While it is a rather large carnival, it is dwarfed by the much larger Carnival of Port-au-Prince; the national parade which draws thousands of people annually. Vivid floats that are sponsored by the country's popular brand name products host some of the country's most well known musicians. Carnival season is a joyous event which is attended by both locals as well as those from abroad, which include the diaspora and foreigners. During this time, the country is engulfed by music and raucous celebration, a scene which is in dramatic contrast to the temporarily-forgotten troubles that plague the country.

Music

Haiti's most well known music style is kompa, a vibrant music and dance genre similar to that of their Cuban neighbors but with a reminiscence of jazz. Kompa often employs African drumming, modern guitars/synthesized sounds, saxophones, and lyrics sung in Haitian Creole. Merengue of the Dominican Republic is also popular in Haiti. The origins of merengue are unclear and the origins vary depending on which country the story is from however many Haitians believe it is an offshoot variant of Haitian Méringue, a similar-sounding style. Nonetheless, Haitians enjoy both sounds. Rasin and kadans are two other popular genres in the country. Other popular genres in Haiti include Salsa music, Trinidadian Soca, and zouk (a combination of kompa and music from the French Antilles), and Rara. Musicians such as T-Vice, Djakout Mizik, Bonga, Zenglen, NuLook, K-dans, and Carimi perform regularly in the United States and Québec. Sweet Micky is a praised legend of Kompa music. One of the most celebrated Haitian musical artists of today is Haitian-born rapper and musician Wyclef Jean. On the synonomously named track by Canadian band Arcade Fire, co-vocalist Régine Chassagne sings about Haiti, the country of her ancestry.

Cuisine

Haitian Cuisine is influenced in large part by the methods and foods involved in French cuisine as well as by staples originating from African and native Taíno cuisine, such as cassava (kasav), yam, and maize (mayi). Haitian food, though unique in its own right, shares much in common with that of the rest of Latin America. Haitian food tends to be very mildly spicy and the cuisine of the country encompasses several varieties of rice and beans, the de facto national dish.

Economy 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 agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. A macroeconomic program developed in 2005 with the help of the International Monetary Fund helped the economy grow 3.5% in 2007, the highest growth rate since 1999. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted the garment and automotive parts exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. Haiti suffers from higher inflation than similar low-income countries, a lack of investment due to 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. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly a quarter of GDP and over double the total for exports.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $15.82 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $5.295 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,900 (2007 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% (1995)
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%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 59.2 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 28.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget: revenues: $918.6 million
expenditures: $1.036 billion (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
Industries: sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 535 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 60.3%
hydro: 39.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 322 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 12,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 11,840 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$184.8 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $554.8 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee
Exports - partners: US 79.8%, Dominican Republic 7.6%, Canada 3% (2006)
Imports: $1.844 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Imports - partners: US 46.5%, Netherlands Antilles 11.9%, Brazil 3.8% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $515 million (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $220.6 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $1.248 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): gourde (HTG)
Currency code: HTG
Exchange rates: gourdes per US dollar - 37.138 (2007), 40.232 (2006), 40.449 (2005), 38.352 (2004), 42.367 (2003)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 145,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 500,200 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better; telephone density in Haiti remains the lowest in the Latin American and Caribbean region
domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay trunk service; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 8 per 100 persons
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: 7 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 650,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 14 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 9 (2007)
Roadways: total: 4,160 km
paved: 1,011 km
unpaved: 3,149 km (1999)
Ports and terminals: Cap-Haitien
Military Military branches: no regular military forces - small coast guard; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper unless they are constitutionally abolished (2007)
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 - percent of GDP: 0.4% (2006)
Transnational Issues 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 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 bulk cash smuggling activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption; significant consumer of cannabis