World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Central America

Haiti Travelling Guide
Haiti Travelling Guide

General 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 in 2001. However, a political crisis stemming from fraudulent legislative elections in 2000 has not yet been resolved.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Maryland

Climate: Tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds

Terrain: Mostly rough and mountainous

Population: 7,063,722

Ethnic groups: Black 95%, Mulatto and White 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982)
note: roughly half of the population also practices Voodoo

Language: French (official), Creole (official)

Government type: Elected government

Capital: Port-au-Prince

Legal system: Based on Roman civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic 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. The economy shrank an estimated 1.2% in 2001, and the contraction will likely intensify in 2002 unless a political agreement with donors is reached and aid restored.

Communication/Telephone system: Domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better.

Places of interest: The open-minded adventurer will here find a land of contradictions.

Travel tips: Haiti has had more than its share of political unrest, and the weeks leading up to major elections can be rather tense; stay away from demonstrations at any time. That said, Haiti is a quite hospitable and friendly place, and actually has a lower crime rate than many other popular Caribbean destinations.