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In Haiti underwent severe political turmoil; Magloire was forced to resign and leave the country in and he was followed by four short-lived presidencies. Known as 'Papa Doc' and initially popular, Duvalier remained President until his death in Despite the well-publicised abuses under his rule, Duvalier's firm anti-Communism earned him the support of the Americans, who burnished the country with aid. In Duvalier died, and he was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier , nicknamed 'Baby Doc', who ruled until Haiti's pig population was slaughtered following an outbreak of swine fever in the late s, causing hardship to rural communities who used them as an investment.

In total, roughly 40, to 60, Haitians are estimated to have been killed during the reign of the Duvaliers. Jean Bosco massacre in which people estimates vary attending a mass led by prominent government critic and Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide were killed. Gordon killed an estimated 1, people, although some estimates go as high as 2, In subsequent years, there was increasing violence between rival political faction and human rights abuses.

Haiti and the failed promise of US aid | World news | The Guardian

In an anti-Aristide revolt began in northern Haiti. The rebellion eventually reached the capital, and Aristide was forced into exile. Aristide stated that the kidnappers wore U. Special Forces uniforms, but changed into civilian clothes upon boarding the aircraft that was used to remove Aristide from Haiti.

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Amidst the continuing political chaos, a series of natural disasters hit Haiti. On 12 January , at pm local time, Haiti was struck by a magnitude This was the country's most severe earthquake in over years. After years of denial the United Nations apologised in , but as of [update] , they have refused to acknowledge fault, thus avoiding financial responsibility. General elections had been planned for January but were postponed due to the earthquake. The run-off between Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat took place on 20 March , and preliminary results, released on 4 April, named Michel Martelly the winner.

Haiti forms the western third of Hispaniola , the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean, its terrain consist of mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys. The central region consists of two plains and two sets of mountain ranges.


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It runs from the southeast to the northwest. To the southwest of the Plateau Central are the Montagnes Noires , whose most northwestern part merges with the Massif du Nord. The southern region consists of the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac the southeast and the mountainous southern peninsula also known as the Tiburon Peninsula. Haiti also includes several offshore islands. Haiti's climate is tropical with some variation depending on altitude. The rainfall pattern is varied, with rain heavier in some of the lowlands and the northern and eastern slopes of the mountains.

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Haiti's dry season occurs from November to January. There are two rainy seasons, April—June and October—November. Haiti is subject to periodic droughts and floods, made more severe by deforestation. Hurricanes are a menace, and the country is also prone to drought, flooding and earthquakes. There are blind thrust faults associated with the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system over which Haiti lies. The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-Oriente fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in the south.

A earthquake hazard study, noted that the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone could be at the end of its seismic cycle and concluded that a worst-case forecast would involve a 7. The soil erosion released from the upper catchments and deforestation have caused periodic and severe flooding in Haiti, as experienced, for example, on 17 September Earlier in May that year, floods had killed over 3, people on Haiti's southern border with the Dominican Republic.

Despite its small size, Haiti's mountainous terrain and resultant multiple climactic zones has resulted in a wide variety of plant life. Most mammal species are not native, having being brought to the island since colonial times. There are over species of bird, 31 of these being endemic to Hispaniola. Reptiles are common, with species such as the rhinoceros iguana , Haitian boa , American crocodile and gecko. The government of Haiti is a semi-presidential republic, a multiparty system wherein the president of Haiti is head of state elected directly by popular elections held every five years.

The current structure of Haiti's political system was set forth in the Constitution of Haiti on 29 March Haitian politics have been contentious: since independence, Haiti has suffered 32 coups.

Since the end of the Duvalier era Haiti has been transitioning to a democratic system. Administratively, Haiti is divided into ten departments. The departments are further divided into 42 arrondissements , communes and communal sections. These serve as, respectively, second- and third-level administrative divisions. In February , Haiti signalled it would seek to upgrade its observer status to full associate member status of the African Union AU.

Haiti's Ministry of Defense is the main body of the armed forces. In , the Haitian National Police force numbered 7, The legal system is based on a modified version of the Napoleonic Code. Haiti has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index. The nation ranked first of all countries surveyed for of levels of perceived domestic corruption.

Many Haitians as well as observers of the Haitian society believe that this monopolized power could have given way to a corrupt police force. Similarly, some media outlets alleged that millions were stolen by former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In addition to the yearly recruits, the Haitian National Police HNP has been using innovative technologies to crack down on crime.

A notable bust in recent years [ when? In , the New York City Police Department NYPD sent a team of veteran officers to Haiti to assist in the rebuilding of its police force with special training in investigative techniques, strategies to improve the anti-kidnapping personnel and community outreach to build stronger relationships with the public especially among the youth.

Port-au-Prince penitentiary is home to half of Haiti's prisoners. One cell could hold up to 60 inmates which was originally designed for only 18, therefore creating tight and uncomfortable living conditions. The inmates are forced to create makeshift hammocks from the wall and ceilings. Haitian law states that once arrested, one must go before a judge within 48 hours; however, this is very rare.

In an interview with Unreported World , the prison governor stated that around detainees were never sentenced, there are 3, detainees who are in prolonged detained trial detention. Unless families are able to provide the necessary funds for inmates to appear before a judge there is a very slim chance the inmate would have a trial, on average, within 10 years.


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  7. Brian Concannon , the director of the non-profit Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, claims that without a substantial bribe to persuade judges, prosecutors and lawyers to undergo their case, there is no prospect for a getting a trial for years. Families may send food to the penitentiary; however, most inmates depend on the meals served twice a day. However the majority of the meals consist of ration supplies of rice, oats or cornmeal, which has led to deadly cases of malnutrition-related ailments such as beriberi and anaemia.

    Prisoners too weak are crammed in the penitentiary infirmary. Haiti is one of the poorest in the Americas region, with poverty, corruption, political instability, poor infrastructure, lack of health care and lack of education cited as the main causes. Following the disputed election and accusations about President Aristide's rule, [] US aid to the Haitian government was cut off between and After almost four years of recession, the economy grew by 1. More than 90 percent of the government's budget comes from an agreement with Petrocaribe , a Venezuela-led oil alliance. Haiti's main export partner is the US In , the city of Jacmel was the first area in the Caribbean to have electricity and was subsequently dubbed the City of Light.

    Today, Haiti relies heavily on an oil alliance with Petrocaribe for much of its energy requirements. In recent years, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy have been explored as possible sustainable energy sources.

    Haiti and the failed promise of US aid

    As of , among all the countries in the Americas, Haiti is producing the least amount of energy. Less than a quarter of the country has electric coverage. These generators are often expensive and produce a lot of pollution. The areas that do get electricity experience power cuts on a daily basis, and some areas are limited to 12 hours of electricity a day.

    Electricity is provided by a small number of independent companies: Sogener, E-power, and Haytrac. In Haiti, about 4 million metric tons of wood products are consumed yearly. Since Haiti cannot produce its own fuel, all fuel is imported. Yearly, around , tons of oil is imported into the country.

    To meet this objective, Megawatt needs to installed in Port-au-Prince alone, with an additional 75 Megawatt needed in all other regions in the country. The World Factbook reports a shortage of skilled labour, widespread unemployment and underemployment, saying "more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. In return the family are supposed to ensure that the child is educated and provided with food and shelter, however the system is open to abuse and has proved controversial, with some likening it to child slavery.

    In rural areas, people often live in wooden huts with corrugated iron roofs. Outhouses are located in back of the huts. In Port-au-Prince shantytowns surround the central city and go up the mountainsides. The middle and upper classes live in suburbs, or in the central part of the bigger cities in apartments, where there is urban planning.

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    Many of the houses they live in are like miniature fortresses, located behind walls embedded with metal spikes, barbed wire, broken glass, and sometimes all three. The gates to these houses are barred at night, the house is locked; guard dogs patrol the yard. These houses are often self-sufficient as well. The houses have backup generators, because the electrical grid in Haiti is unreliable. Some even have rooftop reservoirs for water, as the water supply is also unreliable. Haiti is the world's leading producer of vetiver , a root plant used to make luxury perfumes, essential oils and fragrances, providing for half the world's supply.

    Haiti exports crops such as mangoes , cacao , coffee , papayas , mahogany nuts, spinach , and watercress. The Haitian gourde HTG is the national currency. The " Haitian dollar " equates to 5 gourdes goud , which is a fixed exchange rate that exists in concept only, but are commonly used as informal prices. The tourism market in Haiti is undeveloped and the government is heavily promoting this sector.

    Haiti has many of the features that attract tourists to other Caribbean destinations, such as white sand beaches, mountainous scenery and a year-round warm climate, however the country's poor image overseas, at times exaggerated, has hampered the development of this sector. The Haitian Carnival has been one of the most popular carnivals in the Caribbean. In , the government decided to stage the event in a different city outside Port-au-Prince every year in an attempt to decentralize the country.

    Ltd , one of the park's main tenants, has created 5, permanent jobs out of the 20, projected and has built 8, houses in the surrounding area for its workers. The industrial park ultimately has the potential to create as many as 65, jobs once fully developed. Haiti has two main highways that run from one end of the country to the other. The northern highway, Route Nationale No.