Old 08-20-2005, 16:21   #1
SF Candidate
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Eastcoast Love
Posts: 42

"The native Arawak 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 - 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 and after a prolonged struggle, became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere."

"As soon as the interim government took office, the political parties as a whole and numerous civil society organizations demanded the dismissal of overzealous or corrupted high-ranking officials under the dictatorship of Jean Bertrand Aristide or who allegedly have been involved in killings or embezzlements of public money. At present, we still come under fire from political groups and civil society organizations for being “lax.” While we understand their frustrations, the interim government has refrained from firing civil service employees. There has been practically no change in the civil service personnel (less than 1% overall) except for the appointment of new general directors to head certain state institutions. Furthermore, the entire civil service personnel has received at least a 33% salary raise and strict instructions have been given to ensure that no one in civil service is the subject of attacks, isolation or humiliation because of their political affiliations. Thus, there has not been, and there will not be a witch hunt.

In the majority of cases, the poverty-stricken population living in the slums is the prime victim of the violent acts perpetrated by those who proclaim to be Aristide’s supporters. They openly claim responsibility for such acts over radio broadcasts such as Radio Métropole, Radio Caraïbe, etc. to name just these media. Once again, a number of young people from these neighborhoods, especially those who took part in the movement which toppled the Lavalas regime seven months ago, have been forced to go in hiding or to migrate, leaving their family behind, to escape from the necklace torture or the so-called “Operation Baghdad.”

It must also be underlined that since September 30, which is the anniversary of the coup that overthrew Aristide in 1991, partisans of the deposed regime have constantly claim responsibility for the terror they have instilled, operating under names echoing doom and gloom such as: “Operation Baghdad” or “Armée sans tête” (Beheading army), etc. Downtown, the stalls of street vendors being sacked are daily occurrence, plunging the population further into poverty. Cars have been set on fire, houses sacked and burnt down. On Friday and Saturday, October 15 and 16, about ten heavily armed bandits attacked peasants and residents in the village of Coteaux, in the South of the country. The victims have named, as head of the gang, a former contested member of Parliament under the Lavalas regime. The Police is ill-equipped and lack the resources to face the M-16 and M-1 brandished by these fanatical hordes chanting “Aristide or death!” Regrettably, this is the reality confronted by the most destitute category in the population and by the police striving to regain the trust of the people after Aristide’s departure.

With a general state of panic, killings, intra-urban exoduses, Aristide’s supporters would have once more demonstrated that violence is their only means of laying down their law."

Fast Facts:

Population - 8,121,622
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.

Geography - The country of Haiti occupies one-third of the island of Hispaniola, with the other two-thirds of the island occupied by Haiti's neighbor to the west, the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is bordered on the north by the Atlantic ocean and on the South by the Caribbean Sea. The island nation of Cuba is to the west of Haiti. The geographic area of Haiti is about 10,712 square miles, which is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. Haiti's terrain is mostly mountainous. The climate is tropical.

People living with HIV/AIDS - 280,000(2003 est.)

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

Military Branches - the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished

Transnational Issues - 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 fleeing economic privation and civil unrest continue to cross into Dominican Republic and to sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island.

Drugs - Major Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption.

Haiti map: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mapimage...aiti/haiti.gif

1. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/...k/geos/ha.html
2. http://www.haiti.org/general_informa...e102204_en.htm
It is only necessary to make war with five things; with the maladies of the body, the ignorances of the mind, with the passions of the body, with the seditions of the city and the discords of families.

Last edited by elmntskater1588; 08-21-2005 at 08:42.
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