The Second Prval Presidency
In the midst of the ongoing controversy and violence, however, the interim government planned legislative and executive elections. After being postponed several times, these were held in February 2006. The elections were won by René Préval, who had a strong following among the poor, with 51% of the votes. Préval took office in May 2006.
In the spring of 2008, Haitians demonstrated against rising food prices. In some instances, the few main roads on the island were blocked with burning tires and the airport at Port-au-Prince was closed. Protests and demonstrations by Fanmi Lavalas continued in 2009.
Inequality And Barriers To Education
Just under half of Haitians aged 15 and older are illiterate. The countrys education system is highly unequal. The quality of public education is generally very poor, and 85 percent of schools are private, charging fees that exclude most children from low-income families.
Over 3 million children had been unable to attend school for months at a time during the past two years, for security reasons, as well as Covid-19 related restrictions.
The 2021 earthquake destroyed or heavily damaged 308 schools, affecting 100,000 children. Schools were set to open on September 21, but the opening delayed until October 4 in the affected area. Before the earthquake, UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children were at risk of dropping out.
Law Enforcement And Crime
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. According to a 2006 report by the Corruption Perceptions Index, there is a strong correlation between corruption and poverty in Haiti. The nation ranked first of all countries surveyed for levels of perceived domestic corruption. It is estimated that President “Baby Doc” Duvalier, his wife Michelle, and their agents stole US $504 million from the country’s treasury between 1971 and 1986. Similarly, after the Haitian Army folded in 1995, the Haitian National Police gained sole power of authority on the Haitian citizens. 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 March 2004, at the time of Aristide’s kidnapping, a BBC article wrote that the Bush administration State Department stated that Aristide had been involved in drug trafficking. The BBC also described pyramid schemes, in which Haitians lost hundreds of millions in 2002, as the “only real economic initiative” of the Aristide years.
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The Rising Of The Slaves
A vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman near Cap-Français on 14 August 1791, presided over by a houngan named Dutty Boukman, is traditionally considered to mark the beginning of the Haitian Revolution. Following this ceremony, slaves in the northern region of the colony staged a revolt, and although Boukman was captured and executed, the rebellion continued to spread rapidly throughout the entire colony. Beginning in September, some thirteen thousand slaves and rebels in the south, led by Romaine-la-Prophétesse, freed slaves and took supplies from and burned plantations, ultimately occupying the area’s two major cities, Léogâne and Jacmel.
In 1792, Léger-Félicité Sonthonax and two other national commissioners were sent to the colony by the French Legislative Assembly as part of a Revolutionary Commission. Sonthonax’s main goal was to maintain French control of Saint-Domingue, stabilize the colony, and enforce the social equality recently granted to free people of color by the National Convention of France. In March 1792, a coalition of whites and conservative free blacks and forces led by another of the national commissioners, Edmond de Saint-Léger, put down Romaine-la-Prophétesse’s revolt after André Rigaud, who led free black confederate forces based near Port-au-Prince, declined to ally with it.
The Return Of Aristide
In mid-September 1994, with U.S. troops prepared to enter Haiti by force for Operation Uphold Democracy, President Bill Clinton dispatched a negotiating team led by former president Jimmy Carter to persuade the authorities to step aside and allow for the return of constitutional rule. With intervening troops already airborne, Cédras and other top leaders agreed to step down. In October, Aristide was able to return. The Haitian general election, 1995 in June 1995 saw Aristide’s coalition, the Lavalas Political Organization, gain a sweeping victory, and René Préval, a prominent Aristide political ally, elected president with 88% of the vote. When Aristide’s term ended in February 1996, this was Haiti’s first ever transition between two democratically elected presidents.
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National Holidays And Festivals
The most festive time of the year in Haiti is during Carnival in February. There is music, parade floats, and dancing and singing in the streets. Carnival week is traditionally a time of all-night parties.
Rara is a festival celebrated before Easter. The festival has generated a style of Carnival music.
How Has The Covid
Haiti has had relatively low COVID-19 case numbers since the start of the pandemic, when the government turned away two offers to receive donations of the AstraZeneca vaccine, citing low fatalities and concerns about the vaccines efficacy. In early 2021, the Haitian government enforced preventative measures, including a mask mandate, social-distancing requirements, and a curfew, but the government has since relaxed restrictions. Since July 2021, Haiti has received more than one million vaccine doses, all from the United States. Unlike most of the region, Haitis COVID-19 death toll remains under one thousand people and its number of infections under thirty-five thousand, although the true number could be higher due to minimal testing. Some doctors say Haitis young populationthe average age is twenty-fourcould also play a role in the countrys low infection rate.
However, health authorities warn about a resurgence of cases and the spread of new virus variants, and say vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, and a weak health-care system are hampering Haitis immunization campaign. We live in a land of non-believers, Lauré Adrien, general director of Haitis Ministry of Health, told the Associated Press. The vaccination campaign is progressing slowly. In May 2022, the World Bank approved an additional $35 million to improve Haitis COVID-19 response, including vaccine distribution.
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Quota And Parity Laws
Loi constitutionnelle portant amendement de la constitution de 1987 establishes the quota principle of at least thirty percent of women is recognized at all levels of national life including public service . Any law relating to political parties must operate its structures and mechanisms in accordance with the quota principle of at least thirty percent established in article 17.1 .
C Fresh Elections And The Mose Case
In the face of these challenges, authorities should time new elections so as to avoid hindering disaster relief or fuelling political instability. It would also be unwise, however, to let the rule of an interim president or a transitional government of experts, in continued breach of the 1987 constitution, drag on too long. Haiti now finds itself in a constitutional void where the best that can be achieved is approximating as closely as possible the framework and procedures established by the 1987 constitution, and ensuring as broad a social and political consensus as possible for an interim government until elections are held. On the other hand, diplomatic backing for the formation of governments by discredited members of Haitis political elite runs the risks of prolonged crisis, as the departing U.S. envoy to the nation noted in his resignation letter.US special envoy to Haiti resigns over migrant expulsions, op. cit.
signs that Haitis splintered political elites might reach some working arrangement to create the conditions for fair and peaceful elections.
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What Are Haitis Origins
Spanish settlers arrived on the island of Hispaniola, which comprises modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in 1492. Within a quarter-century, diseases brought by Europeans, such as smallpox and measles, decimated the Indigenous Taíno population. Over the next three centuries, European colonizers imported hundreds of thousands of enslaved people from western and central Africa to harvest sugar, coffee, and timber, all lucrative exports.
The first postcolonial black republic, Haiti became a beacon of abolition, self-determination, and racial equality.
In the early 1600s, French traders established an outpost on the western third of the island, which Paris annexed as the colony of Saint-Domingue several decades later. In the late 1700s, Toussaint LOuverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, both formerly enslaved, led a rebellion against French rule that culminated with the creation of Haiti in 1804. The first postcolonial Black republic, Haiti became a beacon of abolition, self-determination, and racial equality.
We Are Not Here Forever Says Un As Haiti Searches For Path To Election
Mass protests. Lethal outbursts of gang warfare. An overwhelmed judiciary and a barren legislative branch where a handful of representatives linger among the vacant seats of former colleagues.
For years, these have been the conditions of life in Haiti. And for just as long, the vanishing point in this dark picture has been elections the long-postponed vote repeatedly promised by leaders that could replenish the government and finally set the worlds first Black republic back on a fully democratic path.
Before the end of this year, we will put the country in electoral mode, Prime Minister Ariel Henry told the country on Monday, though stopping short of setting a date.
Henry, who previously postponed a planned general election amid criticism of the then-electoral council, also felt compelled to defend the delay. To all those peddling rumors that I intend to keep power, I say that is false, he added.
Elections are long overdue. The last time Haitians got to choose their own political representatives was in 2016. Parliamentary elections scheduled in 2019 were never organized under the then-presidency of Jovenel Moise, nor were general elections after that.
The Caribbean nation has thus been ruled by decree for three years, first under Moise until his shocking assassination last year, and now under Henry, his appointed successor.
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A History Of United States Policy Towards Haiti
Over the past two hundred years, the United States has played a important role in the economic and political activity of Haiti, its close neighbor to the south. The United States refusal to recognize Haiti as a country for sixty years, trade policies, military occupations, and role in Jean-Bertrand Aristides removal from Haiti are little known by Americans, but significant for the development, or rather, lack of development in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and has economic and health statistics comparable to those in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major factor in analyzing the state of Haiti today is its relationship with the United States both now and throughout history.
Haitian Independence, American Silence
Haiti declared its independence from France on January 1st, 1804. From 1791 to 1804, the slaves of Haiti, then known as the French colony Saint-Domingue, fought off their French slave owners. France fought to hold on to Haiti, as it was their wealthiest colony, exporting sugar, indigo, and coffee. In 1804, under the leadership of Toussaint LOuverture, they succeeded in throwing off their colonial power. The Haitian Revolution marked a significant event in history. Haiti became the first modern state to abolish slavery, the first state in the world to be formed from a successful revolt of the lower classes , and the second republic in the Western Hemisphere, only twenty-eight years behind the United States .
Military Occupation, 1915-1934
Haiti Gang Makes Demands In Test Of Power With Government
A standoff between a powerful gang federation and Haitis government is testing how much power both sides wield and threatens to further derail a paralyzed country where millions of people are struggling to find fuel and water
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A standoff between a powerful gang federation and Haitis government is testing how much power both sides wield and threatens to further derail a paralyzed country where millions of people are struggling to find fuel and water.
A former police officer who leads a gang alliance known as G9 and Family has proposed his own plan for Haiti’s future even seeking seats in the Cabinet while demanding that the administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry grant amnesty and void arrest warrants against the group’s members, a demand that so far has gone unanswered.
In mid-September, the gang surrounded a key fuel terminal to demand Henry’s resignation and to protest a spike in petroleum prices after the prime minister announced that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel.
That move, coupled with thousands of protesters who have blocked streets in the capital of Port-au-Prince and other major cities, has caused major shortages, forcing hospitals to cut back on services, gas stations to close and banks and grocery stores to restrict hours.
The gang, which has overpowered an understaffed and under-resourced police department, is likely wary of the potential deployment of specialized armed troops, Fatton said.
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As Humanitarian Crisis Worsens Markey And Mcgovern Lead Bicameral Call For President Biden To Support Haitis Democratic Aspirations And Stability
Text of Letter | Release in Haitian Creole
The lawmakers concluded, Starting with the limited efforts we are proposing, which keep the Haitian people firmly at the helm, the United States can clearly communicate that it approaches its role with humility and respect for the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people.
American Red Cross Aid
The American Red Cross collected nearly $500 million in donations post-earthquake Haitian relief but did only a very small fraction of what it said it would do with those funds. A June 2015 investigation by ProPublica and NPR concluded that the Red Cross had “launched a multimillion-dollar project” in 2011 to “transform the desperately poor” Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Campeche, yet “not one home” had been constructed in Campeche.
ProPublica and NPR reported that while the Red Cross claimed to have “provided homes to more than 130,000 people,” that figure “includes thousands of people who were not actually given homes, but rather were ‘trained in proper construction techniques.'” The actual number of permanent homes built by the Red Cross in Haiti was six. The report quoted a former Red Cross official as saying that inside the organization, the Haiti earthquake was seen as “a spectacular fundraising opportunity” and that the money collected for Haiti was instead used to “erase its more-than $100 million deficit.”
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Womens And Girls Rights
Gender-based violence is common. Rape was only explicitly criminalized in 2005, by ministerial decree. Gender-based violence was already one of the highest risks for girls and women in the southern province even before the earthquake, with sexual exploitation prevalent in some areas these risks were expected to rise in the wake of the 2021 earthquake.
A new penal code set to enter into force in June 2022 lists sexual harassment and gender-based violence as punishable offenses. The code will legalize abortion in all circumstances until the twelfth week of pregnancy, in cases of rape or incest, or if the mental or physical health of the woman is in danger. It will lower the legal age for consensual sex to 15.
Political And Social Integration
The party system is highly fragmented and volatile. Political parties do not represent the interests of the population but individual or clientelistic interests. In addition, they have little to no social base in the population outside of urban centers, and even there it is weak. Political parties can appear and disappear literally overnight. This happened when President René Préval founded a new political movement called Inite that became a melting pot for former members of other political parties. When President Martelly came to power in 2012, many former Inite followers changed to Martellys newly founded party, PHTK or Tèt Kale .
In 2017, there were high hopes that Jovenel Moïse would attempt to address cynicism in Haitian society and build trust through his national dialogue initiative. Instead, the country has fallen into greater chaos and lower levels of trust in state institutions such as the presidency, parliament and the judiciary. Moïses failure to hold scheduled parliamentary and municipal elections in 2019 and 2020 and his decision to rewrite a new constitution without consulting civil society groups have greatly contributed to the governments weakened support for democracy.
Approval of democracy
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Haitis Political Universe: Civil Society And Political Parties
Haitis political and institutional backdrop points to a nation whose centralized national authority resides in a small urban constituencywhether associated with the countrys international commercial activity or those representing the political governing class. This has sometimes translated into a divisive feature of Haitian political dynamics, highlighted by the failure over the past decades to translate the promises of electoral democracy into sustainable and measurable outcomes. This has had political implications, reinforcing for the average citizen the perceptionand sometimes the realityof the exploitative character of elites.
This generalization calls for a closer look at two key overlapping sectors: civil society and political parties. Counterintuitively perhaps, but most likely as a consequence of the disjointedness of Haitis political experience over the past three decades, civil society has developed into a diverse community. Some of it is now representative of modern social or political pressure groups typical of democratic environments that have found some space to prosper.
- The left, anchored by Fanmi Lavalas , Petit Dessalines , SPD , and Fusion
- Center-left factions, including INIFOS , KID , and OPL
- The center/center-right, represented by En Avant and RDNP
- The right end of the political spectrum, anchored by PHTK , AAA , and others