HAITI READING SCRIPT | Haiti | Government

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HAITI INTRODUCTION 1. The Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country. Along with the Dominican Republic, it occupies the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago. Ayiti (land of high mountains) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the mountainous western side of the island. Haiti is situated on the western part of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Haiti at its closest point is only about 45 nautical miles away from Cuba and has the second longest coastline in the Greater Antilles, Cuba having the longest. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys. Haiti¶s regional, historical and ethno linguistic position is unique for several reasons. It was the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black-led republic in the world when it gained independence as part of a successful slave rebellion in 1804 despite having common cultural links with its Hispano-Caribbean neighbors, Haiti is the only predominantly Francophone independent nation in the Americas. It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) that designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all overseas departments, or collectivities, of France. 2. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is not the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. On various occasions, it has experienced political violence throughout its history. Most recently, in February 2004, an armed rebellion forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and a provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Rene Preval, the current president, was elected in the Haitian general election, 2006. AIM 3. The aim of this presentation is to provide an overview of The Republic Haiti and its History. HISTORY 4. Pre-colonial and Spanish colonial periods. Hispaniola was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and was the first island in the New World settled by the Spanish. By 1550, the indigenous culture of the Taino Indians had vanished from the island, and Hispaniola became a neglected backwater of the Spanish Empire. In the mid-1600s, the western third of the island was populated by fortune seekers, castaways, and wayward colonists, predominantly French, who became pirates and adventurers, hunting wild cattle and pigs unleashed by the earliest European
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visitors and selling the smoked meat to passing ships. In the mid-1600s, the French used the buccaneers as mercenaries in an unofficial war against the Spanish. In the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, France forced Spain to cede the western third of Hispaniola. This area became the French colony of Saint Domingue. By 1788, the colony had become the "jewel of the Antilles," the richest colony in the world. 5. In 1789, revolution in France sparked dissension in the colony, which had a population of half a million slaves; twenty-eight thousand mulattoes and free blacks, many of whom were wealthy landowners; and thirty-six thousand white planters, artisans, slave drivers, and small landholders. 6. From the mayhem emerged some of the greatest black military men in history, including Toussaint Louverture. In 1804, the last European troops were soundly defeated and driven from the island by a coalition of former slaves and mulattoes. In January 1804 the rebel generals declared independence, inaugurating Haiti as the first sovereign "black" country in the modern world and the second colony in the Western Hemisphere to gain independence from imperial Europe. 7. Since gaining independence, Haiti has had fleeting moments of glory. An early eighteenth century kingdom ruled by Henri Christophe prospered and thrived in the north, and from 1822 to 1844 Haiti ruled the entire island. The late nineteenth century was a period of intense internecine warfare in which ragtag armies backed by urban politicians and conspiring Western businessmen repeatedly sacked Port-au-Prince. By 1915, the year in which U.S. marines began a nineteen year occupation of the country, Haiti was among the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.

Haiti Revolution. Jean Jacques Dessalines, leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first 9. ruler of an independent Haiti Inspired by the French Revolution and principles of the rights of men, free people of colour and slaves in Saint-Domingue and the French and West Indies pressed for freedom and more civil rights. Most important was the revolution of the slaves in SaintDomingue, starting in the heavily African-majority northern plains in 1791. In 1792, the French government sent three commissioners with troops to reestablish control. They began to build an alliance with the free people of colour who wanted more civil rights. In 1793, France and Great Britain went to war, and British troops invaded Saint-Domingue. Spain, who controlled the rest of the island of Hispaniola, would also join the conflict and fight with Great Britain against France. The Spanish forces invaded Saint Domingue and were joined by the slave forces. By August 1793, there were only 3,500 French soldiers on the island. To prevent military disaster, a French commissioner freed the slaves in his jurisdiction. The decision was confirmed and
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extended by the National Convention in 1794 when they formally abolished slavery and granted civil and political rights to all black men in the colonies. It is estimated that the slave rebellion resulted in the death of 100,000 blacks. 10. The United States occupation in 1915±1956 .The United States occupied the island in 1915 and units were stationed in the country until 1934. In the following elections in 1915, Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave became president. He was succeeded by Louis Borno in the 1922 elections. Aware that many Haitians did not speak French, Borno was the first president to authorize the use of Creole in the education system. 11. Haiti was in much better shape after the occupation than before. Infrastructure improvements were particularly impressive: 1700 km of roads were made usable; 189 bridges were built; many irrigation canals were rehabilitated hospitals, schools, and public buildings were constructed, and drinking water was brought to the main cities. Sisal was introduced to Haiti, and sugar and cotton became significant exports. 12. The US occupation forces established a boundary between Haiti and the Dominican Republic by taking disputed land from the latter. When the US left in 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ± in an event known as the Parsley Massacre ± ordered his Army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border. In a "three-day genocidal spree", he murdered between 10,000 and 20,000 Haitians. He then developed a uniquely Dominican policy of racial discrimination, "anti-Haitianism" targeting the mostly black inhabitants of his neighboring country. Modern Haiti. In December 1990, the former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected 13. President in the Haitian general election, winning by more than two thirds of the vote. His 5-year mandate began on 7 February 1991. 14. Aristide's use of paramilitaries caused dissatisfaction, and in August 1991, his government faced a non-confidence vote within the Haitian Chamber of Deputies and Senate. Three days later, Aristide was overthrown by soldiers and flown into exile. 15. In 1994, an American team, under the direction of the Clinton Administration, successfully negotiated the departure of Haiti's military leaders and the peaceful entry of US forces under Operation Uphold Democracy, thereby paving the way for the restoration of JeanBertrand Aristide as president. In October 1994, Aristide returned to Haiti to complete his term in office. Aristide disbanded the Haitian army, and established a civilian police force. Later, Aristide vacated the presidency in February 1996, the scheduled end of his 5-year term based on the date of his inauguration.

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16. In 1996, René Préval was elected as president for a five-year term, winning 88% of the popular vote. Préval had previously served as Aristide's Prime Minister from February to October 1991. 17. 21st Century. The 2000 elections gave the presidency back to Aristide. The election had been boycotted by the opposition. In subsequent years, there were widespread violence and human rights abuses. Aristide supporters attacked the opposition. The nation's radio stations were firebombed and journalists murdered. In 2004, a revolt began in northern Haiti. The rebellion eventually reached the capital and led to Aristide leaving the country, whereupon the United Nations stationed peacekeepers in Haiti. Boniface Alexandre assumed interim authority, and in February 2006, following elections marked by uncertainties and popular demonstrations, René Préval was elected president. COUNTRY IN SHORT 18. Politics .The government of Haiti is a semi-presidential republic, a pluriform multiparty system wherein the President of Haiti is head of state elected directly by popular elections. The Prime Minister acts as head of government and is appointed by the President, chosen from the majority party in the National Assembly. Executive power is exercised by the President and Prime Minister who together constitute the government. 19. 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. Haiti is divided into ten departments. The departments are ON the screen shown , with 20. the departmental capital cities in parentheses. The departments are further divided into 41 arrondissements, and 133 communes, which serve as second- and third-level administrative divisions. 21. The Flag of Haiti . The flag was adopted on the February 25, 1987. The flag is divided into two horizontal rectangles. The top half is blue and the bottom is red. Since 1843 the flag for official and state use has had the coat of arms of Haiti on a white panel in the center. The coat of arms depicts a trophy of weapons ready to defend freedom, and a royal palm for independence. The palm is topped by the Cap of Liberty. The national motto is on a white scroll reading L'Union Fait La Force ("Unity Makes Strength"). The civil flag and ensign lacks the emblem. 22. Economy. By most economic measures, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. It had a nominal GDP of 7.018 billion USD in 2009, with a GDP per capita of 790 USD, about $2 per person per day.
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23. It is an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed. Comparative social and economic indicators show Haiti falling behind other low-income developing countries since the 1980s. Haiti now ranks 149th of 182 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (2006). About 80% of the populations were estimated to be living in poverty in 2003. 24. Health. Half of the children in Haiti are unvaccinated and just 40% of the population has access to basic health care. Even before the 2010 earthquake, nearly half the causes of deaths have been attributed to HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, meningitis and diarrheal diseases, including cholera and typhoid, according to the World Health Organization. Ninety percent of Haiti¶s children suffer from waterborne diseases and intestinal parasites. Approximately 5% of Haiti's adult population is infected with HIV. Cases of tuberculosis (TB) in Haiti are more than ten times as high as those in other Latin American countries. Some 30,000 people in Haiti suffer each year from malaria. 24. Demography. Although Haiti averages approximately 360 people per square kilometer (940 per sq mi.), its population is concentrated most heavily in urban areas, coastal plains, and valleys. Haiti's population was about 9.8 million according to UN 2008 estimates, with half of the population being under 20 years. The first formal census, taken in 1950, showed that the population was 3.1 million. Haiti has the highest fertility rate in the Western Hemisphere. 25. 90±95% of Haitians are of predominately African descent; the remaining 5±10% of the population is mostly of mixed-race background. A small percentage of the non-black population consists primarily of Caucasian/white Haitians; mostly of Arab, Western European and Jewish origin. Haitians of Asian descent (mostly of Chinese origin) number approximately 400. 26. Haitian Diaspora. Millions of Haitians live abroad, chiefly in North America: the Dominican Republic, United States, Cuba, Canada (primarily Montreal) and Bahamas. They live in other nations like France, French Antilles, the Turks and Caicos, Venezuela and French Guiana. There are an estimated 600,000 Haitians in the United States, 100,000 in Canada and 800,000 in the Dominican Republic. The Haitian community in France goes up to about 80,000, and up to 80,000 Haitians now live in the Bahamas. Languages. One of Haiti's two official languages is French, which is the principal 27. written, spoken in schools, and administratively authorized language. It is spoken by most educated Haitians and is used in the business sector. The second is the recently standardized Haitian Creole, which is spoken by virtually the entire population of Haiti. Haitian LO is one of the French-based Creole languages, which also contains significant African influence, as well as influence from Spanish and Taíno. Haitian Creole is closely related to Louisiana Creole. Spanish is also spoken by a good portion of the population, though it is not an official language.
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28. Religion. Haiti is a largely Christian country, with Roman Catholicism professed by 80% of Haitians. Protestants make up about 16% of the population. Haitian Vodou, a New World Afro-diasporic faith unique to the country, is practiced by up to two-thirds of the population. Religious practice often spans Haiti and its diaspora as those who have migrated interact through religion with family in Haiti. 29. Culture. Haiti has a long and storied history and therefore retains a very rich culture. Haitian culture is a mixture of primarily French, African elements, and native Taíno, with some lesser influence from the colonial Spanish. The country's customs essentially are a blend of cultural beliefs that derived from the various ethnic groups that inhabited the island of Hispaniola. In nearly all aspects of modern Haitian society however, the European and African elements dominate. Haiti is world famous for its distinctive art, notably painting and sculpture. 30. The music of Haiti is influenced mostly by European colonial ties and African migration (through slavery). In the case of European colonization, musical influence has derived primarily from the French, however Haitian music has been influenced to a significant extent by its Spanish-speaking neighbors, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, whose Spanish-infused music has contributed much to the country's musical genres as well. 31. Haitian Cuisines. The cuisine of Haiti originates from several culinary styles from the various historical ethnic groups that populated the western portion of the island of Hispaniola, namely the French, African, and the Taíno Amerindians. Haitian cuisine is similar to the rest of the Latin-Caribbean however it differs in several ways from its regional counterparts. Its primary influence derives from French cuisine, and African cuisine, with notable derivatives from native Taíno and Spanish culinary technique. Though similar to other cooking styles in the region, it carries a uniqueness native only to the country and an appeal to many visitors to the island. Rice and beans are considered the national dish and are the most commonly eaten meal in urban areas. Architecture. The contemporary rural landscape is dominated by houses that vary in 32. style from one region to another. Most are single-story, two-room shacks, usually with a front porch. In the dry, treeless areas, houses are constructed of rock or wattle and daub with mud or lime exteriors. In other regions, walls are made from the easily hewn native palm; in still other areas, particularly in the south, houses are made of Hispaniola pine and local hardwoods. When the owner can afford it, the outside of a house is painted in an array of pastel colors, mystic symbols are often painted on the walls, and the awnings are fringed with colorful hand-carved trimming. 36. Commercial Activities. There is a thriving internal market that is characterized at most levels by itinerant female traders who specialize in domestic items such as produce, tobacco, dried fish, used clothing, and livestock.
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37. Major Industries. There are small gold and copper reserves. Offshore assembly industries owned principally by U.S. entrepreneurs employed over sixty thousand people in the mid-1980s but declined in the later 1980s and early 1990s as a result of political unrest. There is one cement factory²most of the cement used in the country is imported and many sugar cane sprit factories. 38. Trade. In the 1800s, the country exported wood, sugarcane, cotton and coffee, but by the 1960s, even the production of coffee, long the major export, had been all but strangled through excessive taxation, lack of investment in new trees, and bad roads. Recently, coffee has yielded to mangoes as the primary export. Other exports include cocoa and essential oils for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Haiti has become a major transshipment point for illegal drug trafficking. Marriage. Marriage is expected among the elite and the middle classes, but less than 39. forty percent of the non-elite population marries. However, with or without legal marriage, a union typically is considered complete and gets the respect of the community when a man has built a house for the woman and after the first child has been born. When marriage does occur, it is usually later in a couple's relationship, long after a household has been established and the children have begun to reach adulthood. Couples usually live on property belonging to the man's parents. Living on or near the wife's family's property is common in fishing communities and areas where male migration is very high. 40. Higher Education. Traditionally, there has been very small, educated urban-based elite, but in the last thirty years a large and rapidly increasing number of educated citizens have come from relatively humble rural origins, although seldom from the poorest social strata. These people attend medical and engineering schools, and may study at overseas universities. There is a private university and a small state university in Port-au-Prince, including a medical school. Both have enrollments of only a few thousand students. 41. Etiquettes. When entering a yard Haitians shout out onè ("honor"), and the host is expected to reply respè ("respect"). Visitors to a household never leave empty-handed or without drinking coffee, or at least not without an apology. Failure to announce a departure is considered rude. 42. People feel very strongly about greetings, whose importance is particularly strong in rural areas, where people who meet along a path or in a village often say hello several times before engaging in further conversation or continuing on their way. Men shake hands on meeting and departing, men and women kiss on the cheek when greeting, women kiss each other on the cheek, and rural women kiss female friends on the lips as a display of friendship. 43. Men and especially women are expected to sit in modest postures. Even people who are intimate with one another consider it extremely rude to pass gas in the presence of others.
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Haitians say excuse me (eskize-m) when entering another person's space. Brushing the teeth is a universal practice. People also go to great lengths to bathe before boarding public buses, and it is considered proper to bathe before making a journey, even if this is to be made in the hot sun. 44. Women and especially men commonly hold hands in public as a display of friendship; this is commonly mistaken by outsiders as homosexuality. Women and men seldom show public affection toward the opposite sex but are affectionate in private. 45. People haggle over anything that has to do with money, even if money is not a problem and the price has already been decided or is known. A mercurial demeanor is considered normal, and arguments are common, animated, and loud. People of higher class or means are expected to treat those beneath them with a degree of impatience and contempt. In interacting with individuals of lower status or even equal social rank, people tend to be candid in referring to appearance, shortcomings, or handicaps. Violence is rare but once started often escalates quickly to bloodshed and serious injury. ATTRACTIONS 46. Blue Basin. Le Bassin Blue means in English "The Blue Basin." Le Bassin Blue is a waterfall. The water is sky blue and very fresh. A lot of tourists visit there when they go to Haiti. People actually travel there by bikes since the traficability is very less. 47. La Citadelle. Citadelle Laferrière known for the imposing bulk of its geometrical structure and as a symbol of emancipation of black slaves. When the new republic came into being in 1804, the principal leader of the Haitian revolution, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, ordered General Henry Christophe, who would later become king, to build the gigantic fortress, whose construction engaged some 20,000 men. Covering a surface of about a hectare, it was built on the summit of a 970-metre peak, the better to protect Haiti should the colonial forces return to attack. CONCUSION 48. Haiti is a nation of spectacular natural beauty located in Caribbean. A country with fertile land and abundant natural resources. A country with a long history and with a rich cultural heritage. A country emerged some of the greatest black military men in history. Haiti is the first black led republic in the world. This is the first sovereign "black" country in the modern world and the second colony in the Western Hemisphere to gain independence from imperial Europe. 49. We as Sri Lankans and as a peace loving people should shield this unique nation. Further we as MINUSTAH abide by the UN mandate should develop this state to rise up as an independent homeland to stand tall in par with other nations.
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