U.S. Department of State 
Background Notes: Haiti, April 1997 
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Haiti

PROFILE

PEOPLE

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Haitian(s).
Population (est.): 7.18 million.
Annual growth rate: 2.3%, 4.5% anticipated in 1997 (IMF).
Ethnic groups: African descent--95%, African and European descent--5%.

Religions: Roman Catholic--80%, Protestant--10%; voodoo practices
widespread.
Languages: French (official), Creole (official).
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--73% of 6-11 year-old
children; secondary school 15%. Adult literacy--35%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--74/1,000. Life expectancy--57 years.

Work force (est.): 3.6 million. Agriculture--66%, industry and
commerce--20%, services--14%.

GEOGRAPHY

Area: 27,750 sq. km. (10,714 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Port-au-Prince (1995 est. pop. 1.5 million). Other cities--Cap
Haitien (65,000).
Terrain: Mountainous; rest is plain.
Climate: Warm, semiarid; high humidity in many coastal areas.

GOVERNMENT

Type: Elected government.
Independence: 1804.
Constitution: 1987.
Branches: Executive--President. Legislative--Senate (27 Seats) Chamber 
of Deputies (83 Seats). Judicial--Court of Cassation.
Administrative subdivisions: Nine departments.
Political parties: Numerous but the most prominent is the Lavalas Party 
founded by former President Aristide.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

ECONOMY

GNP (1996): $2.5 billion (unadjusted for inflation).
GNP growth rate (FY 1996): 2%; 4.5% expected growth in 1997 (IMF).
Inflation (FY 1996): 16%.
Per capita GNP (est.): $340.
Natural resources: Bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble.
Agriculture (44% of GNP): Products--coffee, sugarcane, rice, corn, 
cacao, sorghum, pulses, fruits, vegetables.
Industry (12% of GNP): Types--apparel, handicrafts, electronics, food 
processing, beverages, tobacco products, leather goods, furniture, 
printing, chemicals, steel, cleaning products, toiletries.
Services (44% of GNP): Types--commerce, government, tourism.
Trade (1995): Exports to U.S.--$111.9 million: apparel, mangos, 
essential oils, toys/sporting goods, electrical. Major market--U.S. 
(historically about 75%). Imports from U.S.--$477 million: rice, motor 
vehicles, soybean oil, machinery, sugar, wheat flour, petroleum. Major 
supplier--U.S. (historically about 60%).
Free foreign exchange market. The U.S. dollar traded in March 1997 for 
approximately 16 gourdes.

U.S.-HAITI RELATIONS

U.S. Policy Toward Haiti  
U.S. policy toward Haiti is designed to foster democracy, help alleviate 
poverty in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, and promote respect 
for human rights. As President Clinton stated on the eve of the U.S.-led 
intervention in 1994, U.S. involvement was based on the need to protect 
our interests, to stop the brutal atrocities that threaten . . . 
Haitians; to secure our borders and to preserve stability and promote 
democracy in our hemisphere . The United States has taken a leading role 
in organizing international efforts at the United Nations, the 
Organization of American States, with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), 
and individual countries to achieve these objectives.

Maintaining good relations with and fostering democracy in Haiti are 
important for many reasons, not the least of which is its geographical 
proximity to the continental United States. In addition to a steady 
stream of legal immigrants in the U.S., tens of thousands of 
undocumented Haitian migrants were intercepted at sea by the U.S. Coast 
Guard during the 1991-94 period of illegal military rule. With the 
return of the de jure government in 1994, the flow of migrants has 
virtually stopped, although if unrest arises again, the potential 
remains for a mass influx of migrants yet again. Thus the U.S. is 
determined to promote a stable democracy in Haiti, a country 
historically plagued by autocratic rule and recurring political 
violence. In addition, the U.S. provides relief to Haiti to prevent 
severe poverty, environmental degradation, and poor public health 
conditions.

U.S. Economic and Development Assistance Many of Haiti's conditions can 
be attributed to its history of unstable regimes. To bolster the 
stability of Haiti's fragile democracy, the U.S. has led the effort to 
rebuild Haiti's economy. The U.S. has been the largest donor since 1973, 
with a total aid package of $135 million in 1996 and $96 million in 
FY1997. In addition to financial support, the U.S. provides human 
resources as well. The U.S. restarted its Peace Corps initiatives in 
Haiti last year with the return of volunteers to Haiti. The U.S. has 
also contributed extensively to the reform of Haiti's economy with a 
focus on the following areas:

Strengthening governance and responsiveness in public sector 
institutions; Strengthening private sector participation in an emerging 
civil society;  Supporting sustainable private sector economic growth;  
Encouraging the privatization of inefficient parastatals under the 
Haitian privatization council (CMEP); and  protecting and developing the 
human resource base.

Additional U.S. efforts include the establishment of the U.S.-Haiti 
Business Development Council, an Overseas Private Investment Corporation 
(OPIC) commercial loan program, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, all 
providing greater market opportunities for American and Haitian 
businesses.

USAID appropriations in FY1996 for Haiti totaled $135 million, 
consisting of $60 million in Economic Support Funds, $24 million in 
Development Assistance, and $51 million in PL-480 food aid. These 
appropriations have been used to achieve such objectives as fostering 
democratic institutions, increasing private sector employment and 
income, helping Haiti fund its arrears to international institutions, 
providing humanitarian aid, increasing agricultural production and 
promoting health and population efforts. Substantial election assistance 
has and continues to be provided for voter education, polling 
activities, transportation, and the procurement of ballots.

To enhance transparency, U.S. development assistance is largely 
channeled through non-governmental organizations in Haiti.

Democratic gains cannot be sustained without demonstrable improvement in 
the economy and access to opportunities for Haiti's poor. For this 
reason, objectives of providing assistance to Haiti include policy 
reform and expanding credit availability. Initiatives advancing 
democratic processes and institutions, promoting economic recovery, 
reorienting humanitarian relief activities toward developmental 
activities, stemming environmental degradation, and enhancing 
agricultural yields and incomes lay a solid foundation for political 
stability and sustainable development.

The loss of 50,000-70,000 jobs in the formal sector alone since 1991 
provides perspective on the challenges the government faces in 
revitalizing the economy. Notwithstanding this challenge, efforts to 
increase commercial bank lending in productive activities in the 
agricultural sector through guarantees have already resulted in 
thousands of new jobs for unemployed Haitian agricultural workers. A 
transitional program has also been established to ease rural mass 
unemployment which employed as many as 50,000 workers per day. To combat 
unemployment, the U.S. helped secure an additional $55 million from the 
World Bank to continue a highly successful job creation program started 
with $35 million from USAID. 

Humanitarian assistance from Haitian and U.S. NGOs includes food for up 
to 1,200,000 Haitians and helps reinforce the planning and management 
capacities of the Ministry of Public Health and Population. In addition 
to sponsoring vaccination programs, the U.S. Government has financed 
basic health care services, accessed by more than 2 million people. 
Health services are also provided for child survival, reproductive 
health, and rape victims. By providing economic assistance the U.S. 
seeks to improve the quality of life for Haitians.

Security Assistance President Preval and the Smarth Government are 
committed to the success of the Haitian National Police (HNP), and our 
active support for their efforts will remain strong for a considerable 
period to come. Over 5000 recruits completed training in the ways of 
modern law enforcement, and we have now turned our efforts to more 
specialized training to further strengthen key areas of importance. U.S. 
instructors from the International Criminal Investigative Training 
Assistance Program (ICITAP) are providing specialized training to select 
HNP officers in such areas as crowd control, operation of firearms, and 
VIP protection. Most importantly, experts within ICITAP are working 
closely with the Haitian Government in recruiting and training qualified 
individuals to fill mid-level supervisory positions. Finally, the U.S. 
has provided materiel from military stocks through the police training 
program (once it established that sufficient inventory controls were in 
place) to help equip the HNP. Great strides have been made with Haiti's 
first civilian law enforcement force with a drop in reports of human 
rights violations and a new respect for the law. 

U.S. Business Opportunities Support of the Haitian economy continues 
through the private sector. The U.S. has been and remains Haiti's 
largest trading partner. With a number of U.S. businesses, including 
banks, airlines, oil companies, agribusiness, and U.S.-owned assembly 
plants, more than 8300 American (mostly Haitian-American) residents, and 
as many as 1500 American tourists in Haiti at one time, the U.S. 
maintains its strong economic presence in this new democracy.

Further opportunities for U.S. businesses include the development and 
trade of medical supplies and equipment, rebuilding and modernizing 
Haiti's depleted infrastructure, tourism, waste disposal, 
transportation, energy, telecommunications, and export assembly 
operations. Because of the assembly sector's importance, opportunities 
exist for U.S. exporters to supply this industry; primary inputs include 
textiles, electronics components, packaging materials, and raw materials 
used in the manufacture of toys and sporting goods. Other U.S. export 
prospects include construction materials, plumbing fixtures, hardware, 
and lumber. Benefits for both Haitian and American importers and 
exporters are available under the 806 and 807/HTSUS Programs (U.S. 
Customs laws on products assembled from U.S. components or materials), 
and under the Caribbean Basin Initiative.

Markets exist for four-wheel-drive vehicles, consumer electronics, rice, 
wheat, flour, sugar, and processed foodstuffs. The government wants to 
reactivate and develop agricultural industries where Haiti enjoys 
considerable comparative advantages, among which are essential oils, 
spices, fruits and vegetables, and sisal. The government encourages the 
inflow of new capital and technological innovations.

Establishing a Business For foreigners to set up a business in Haiti, 
one must obtain a residence visa, and a transient businessman or woman 
must have a locally licensed agent to conduct business transactions 
within the country. Requirements for individuals wishing to practice a 
trade in Haiti include the following:

Obtaining an immigrant visa from a Haitian Consulate; Obtaining a work 
permit, with some exceptions;  All transient and resident traders must 
have a professional ID card.

 Property restrictions still exist for foreign individuals. Property 
rights of foreigners are limited to 1.29 hectares in urban areas and 
6.45 hectares in rural areas. No foreigner may own more than one 
residence in the same district, nor own property or buildings near the 
border. To own real estate, authorization from the Ministry of Justice 
is necessary.

Hurdles for businesses in Haiti include the poor infrastructure, crime, 
the port which is the most expensive in the Caribbean, and customs 
delays. The government places a 30% withholding tax on all profits 
received. There is little direct investment, though more is incoming 
than outgoing (see Economy).

Foreign investment protection is provided by the constitution of 1987, 
which permits expropriation of private property for public use or land 
reform with payment in advance. American firms enjoy free transfer of 
interest, dividends, profits, and other revenues stemming from their 
investments, and are guaranteed just compensation paid in advance of 
expropriation, as well as compensation in case of damages or losses 
caused by war, revolution, or insurrection.

Policy Background  After the September 1991 coup d'etat ousted Haiti's 
democratically elected government, the United States was pressured to 
take action. The United States imposed a series of economic sanctions on 
Haiti, followed by the OAS and ultimately the UN adopting a series of 
economic sanctions aimed at restoring constitutional rule to the 
country. As political conditions worsened, however, the United States 
intervened militarily in Haiti under UN auspices with Operation Uphold 
Democracy. Launched on September 19, 1994, Operation Uphold Democracy's 
aim was initially to restore Haiti's democratically elected government, 
and later to establish and maintain a safe and secure environment for 
institutional reform and democracy (see History). A peaceful operation 
set the stage for a multinational force to be established.

The U.S. has led the training for judicial officials and the reform of 
the court and prison systems. The U.S. has led the movement to support 
democracy, and maintains a visible presence in Haiti. The U.S., along 
with the international financial institutions, has encouraged the 
privatization of inefficient parastatals and the move toward private 
enterprise.

Principal U.S. Officials 
Ambassador--William Lacy Swing  
Deputy Chief of Mission--Robert C. Felder  
Public Affairs Officer--Meg Gilroy 

The U.S. embassy in Haiti is located on Harry Truman Blvd., Port-au-
Prince (tel: (509) 22-0200) (fax: (509) 23-1641).

CONTACT LIST

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)  
1615 M Street, NW  
Washington, DC 20527 
 tel: (202) 457-7200; fax: (202) 331-4234

U.S. Department of Commerce  
14th and Constitution Ave., NW  
Washington, DC 20230  
Haiti Hotline (202) 482-4302  
Haiti Telefax (202) 482-2521 

Office of Latin America and the Caribbean 
(202) 482-0704; fax (202) 482-0464

Caribbean/Latin American Action  
1818 N Street, NW, Suite 310  
Washington, DC 20036  tel: (202) 466-7464 
fax: (202) 822-0075

Association des Industries d'Haiti (ADIH)  
Bldg. Le Triangle Delmas 31, #139  
Port-au-Prince  
tel: (509) 46-4509, (509) 46-4510

Centre Pour la Livre Entreprise et la Democratie (CLED)  
37, Avenue Marie-Jeanne, No. 8  B.P. 1316
 Port-au-Prince 
tel: (509) 22-9720, fax: (509) 22-9721

Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie d'Haiti  
P.O. Box 982  Port-au-Prince 
tel: (509) 22-0281, (509) 22-2475

Haitian American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HAMCHAM)  Complexe 
384, Delmas Road  P.O. Box 13486 Delmas  Port-au-Prince tel: (509) 57-
4767, fax # not available

PEOPLE

Haiti is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with 
approximately 250 people per square kilometer (650 per sq. mi.). About 
95% of the Haitians are of African descent; the rest of the population 
is mostly of mixed African-Caucasian ancestry. A few are of European or 
Levantine stock. About 70% of the people live in rural areas.

French is one of two official languages, but it is spoken by only about 
10% of the people. All Haitians speak Creole, the country's other 
official language. English is increasingly spoken among the young and in 
the business sector.

The state religion is Roman Catholicism which most of the population 
professes. Some have been converted to Protestantism by missionaries 
active throughout the country. Haitians, however, tend to see no 
conflict with voodoo traditions of African origin co-existing with 
Christian faiths.

Although public education is free, private and parochial schools provide 
perhaps 75% of educational programs offered. Only 63% of those enrolled 
will complete primary school; on average, it takes 16 years to produce a 
single graduate of the 6-year cycle. Though Haitians place a high value 
on education, most families cannot afford to send their children to 
secondary school.

Recent large-scale emigration to the U.S., and secondarily to Canada and 
Caribbean neighbors, has created what Haitians refer to as the Tenth 
Department. About one out of every six Haitians lives abroad.

HISTORY

The Spaniards used Hispaniola (of which Haiti is the western part and 
the Dominican Republic is the eastern) as a launching point to explore 
the rest of the Western Hemisphere. French buccaneers later used the 
western third of the island as a point from which to harass English and 
Spanish ships. In 1697, Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to 
France. As piracy was gradually suppressed, some French adventurers 
became planters, making Saint-Domingue--as the French portion of the 
island was then called--one of the richest colonies of the 18th-century 
French empire.

During this period, African slaves were brought to work the sugar cane 
and coffee plantations. In 1791, the slave population--led by Toussaint 
L'Ouverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe--revolted and 
gained control of the northern part of Saint-Domingue. 

In 1804, local forces defeated an army deployed by Napoleon Bonaparte, 
established independence from France, and renamed the area Haiti. The 
defeat of the French in Haiti is widely credited with contributing to 
Napoleon's decision to sell the Louisiana territory to the United States 
in 1804. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and the second-
oldest republic after the United States in the Western Hemisphere. 
Haitians actively assisted the American Revolution and independence 
movements of Latin American countries.

Two separate regimes (north and south) emerged after independence but 
were unified in 1820. Two years later, Haiti conquered Santo Domingo, 
the eastern, Spanish-speaking portion of Hispaniola. In 1844, however, 
Santo Domingo broke away from Haiti and became the Dominican Republic. 
With 22 changes of government from 1843 until 1915, Haiti experienced 
numerous periods of intense political and economic disorder, prompting 
United States military intervention in 1915. U.S. military forces were 
withdrawn in 1934 at the request of the elected Government of Haiti.

From 1986, when the 30-year dictatorship of the Duvalier family ended, 
until 1991, Haiti was ruled by a series of provisional governments. In 
1987, a constitution was adopted that provides for an elected bicameral 
parliament, an elected president who serves as head of state, and a 
prime minister, cabinet of ministers and supreme court appointed by the 
President with Parliament's consent. The Haitian Constitution also 
provides for the election of mayors and administrative bodies 
responsible for local government.

Aristide and the 1991 Coup d'Etat In December 1990, Jean-Bertrand 
Aristide, a charismatic Roman Catholic priest, won 67% of the vote in a 
presidential election that international observers deemed largely free 
and fair. Aristide took office in February 1991, but was overthrown by 
dissatisfied elements of the army and forced to leave the country in 
September of the same year. It is estimated that between 300 and 500 
Haitians were killed in the days following the September coup, and 3,000 
in the following three years. The coup created a large-scale exodus from 
the country; in fact, the Coast Guard rescued a total of 41,342 Haitians 
from 1991 to 1992, more than the number of rescued refugees from the 
previous 10 years combined. 

From October 1991 to June 1992, Joseph Nerette, as president, led an 
unconstitutional de facto regime and governed with a parliamentary 
majority and the armed forces. In June 1992 he resigned, and Parliament 
approved Marc Bazin as prime minister of a de facto government, with no 
replacement named for president. Bazin sought to negotiate a solution 
with exiled President Aristide and to end the economic embargo and 
diplomatic isolation of Haiti imposed after Aristide's ouster. In June 
1993, Bazin resigned and the UN imposed an oil and arms embargo, 
bringing the Haitian military to the negotiating table.

Transition to Democracy President Aristide and General Raoul Cedras, 
head of the Haitian armed forces, signed the UN-brokered Governors 
Island Agreement on July 3, 1993, establishing a 10-step process for the 
restoration of constitutional government and the return of President 
Aristide by October 30, 1993. As part of this process, Robert Malval was 
sworn in as Prime Minister on August 30, 1993. The military derailed the 
process and the UN reimposed economic sanctions. Malval resigned on 
December 15, 1993, but remained as acting Prime Minister for 11 more 
months. The political and human rights climate continued to deteriorate 
as the military and the de facto government sanctioned repression, 
assassination, torture, and rape in open defiance of the international 
community's condemnation.

In May 1994, the military selected Supreme Court Justice Emile 
Jonassaint to be provisional president of its third de facto regime. The 
UN and the U.S. reacted to this extraconstitutional move by tightening 
economic sanctions (UN Res. 917). On July 31, 1994, the UN adopted 
Resolution 940 authorizing member states to use all necessary means to 
facilitate the departure of Haiti's military leadership and restore 
constitutional rule and Aristide's presidency.

In August 1994, Haiti had parallel governments, the illegitimate 
military-backed Jonassaint regime that controlled the government 
apparatus in Haiti, and the constitutional government, whose members-- 
like President Aristide--were in exile or who, like acting Prime 
Minister Malval, were blocked from carrying out their duties.

In the weeks that followed, the United States took the lead in forming a 
Multinational Force (MNF) to carry out the UN's mandate by means of a 
military intervention. In September, with U.S. troops prepared to enter 
Haiti in a matter of hours, President Clinton dispatched a negotiating 
team led by former President Jimmy Carter to discuss with the de facto 
Haitian leadership the terms of their departure. As a result, the MNF 
deployed peacefully, Cedras and other top military leaders left Haiti, 
and restoration of the legitimate government began, leading to 
Aristide's return on October 15.

Current Conditions Elections for parliament and local government offices 
were held successfully between June and October 1995, although they were 
delayed by seven months and marred by serious administrative problems 
and some violence. President Aristide's Lavalas party and its affiliates 
swept into power at all levels. In the December 1995 presidential 
election, with Aristide barred by the Haitian constitution from 
succeeding himself, prominent Lavalas figure Rene Preval (who was 
Aristide's first prime minister in 1991) overwhelmed his 13 opponents by 
garnering 88% of the vote and took office the following February. The 
democratization of Haiti continued with territorial elections held in in 
early April 1997 designed to decentralize political power.

With the situation in Haiti gradually stabilizing, the international 
security presence has been reduced. The MNF, which at one time had more 
than 20,000 troops in Haiti, gave way in March 1995 to a UN peacekeeping 
mission (UN Mission in Haiti) under U.S. leadership, including 
approximately 6,000 troops. By mid-1996, the UN forces no longer 
included any U.S. military personnel, and the UN Special Mission in 
Haiti (UNSMIH) had been scaled back to about 600 troops under Canadian 
leadership, as well as 300 international police monitors from six 
different countries. The UNSMIH mission, originally set to expire at the 
end of November 1996, was extended through July 31, 1997. It has been 
agreed in principle that the Canadians will participate in a post-UNSMIH 
presence, but it has not been determined what form that involvement will 
take. 

The judicial system in Haiti remains weak, and remains a high priority 
for the United States. International and Haitian officials are 
cooperating to investigate several high profile murders that may have 
been politically motivated, including the murders of opposition 
politicians Antoine Leroy and Mireille Durocher Bertin. The U.S. 
Government has helped the Government of Haiti set up a Special 
Investigative Unit (SIU) within the Haitian National Police, and the 
investigation of many of these crimes is in progress. Steps have been 
taken to end the culture of impunity that has dominated Haiti for 
decades. By March 1996, President Preval had removed several individuals 
from the security services who appeared to have been implicated in 
murders, a stipulation that allowed the United States to continue 
assisting Haiti's security forces. In addition, the Haitian Senate 
rejected the nomination of a police director general who was publicly 
linked to allegations of corruption in mid-1996. Training Haiti's police 
to be a non-political, competitively-selected, and well-trained force 
committed to the rule of law has also greatly contributed to this 
progress.

Principal Government 
Officials President--Rene Preval  
Prime Minister--Rosny Smarth  
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Fritz Longchamp  
Ambassador to the U.S.--Jean Casimir  
Ambassador to the OAS--Jean Casimir  
Ambassador to the UN--Pierre Lelong

The Embassy of Haiti is located at 2311 Massachusetts Ave., NW, 
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-4090).

ECONOMY

Haiti's economic reform agenda under President Preval includes trade 
liberalization, modernization (privatization) of state-owned 
enterprises, measures to increase state revenues, and public 
administration reform. Structural adjustment agreements with the 
International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development 
Bank, and other international financial institutions are aimed at 
creating necessary conditions for private sector growth. The government 
did show considerable commitment to economic reform with the creation of 
the privatization organization (CMEP) and the launching of its ambitious 
plan to privatize nine parastatals, but the government's reform measures 
have often proven contentious. Much of the population expected more 
immediate results from tough reforms and President Preval has failed to 
articulate the long range benefits of reform to the people. In March, 
1997, cries for the ouster of Prime Minister Smarth were heard resulting 
from Smarth's commitment to economic reform. The specter of former 
President Aristide, still intensely popular, also looms over discussion 
of economic reforms. He has been ready to criticize economic reform, 
possibly in an effort to solicit support from the populace as there 
remains little question regarding his ambition to return to the 
presidency in 2001.

External aid is essential to Haiti's future economic development. Haiti 
is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the poorest 
in the world. Comparisons of social and economic indicators show that 
Haiti has been falling behind other low-income developing countries 
(particularly in the hemisphere) since the 1980s. Haiti's economic 
stagnation is the result of earlier inappropriate economic policies, a 
shortage of good arable land, environmental deterioration, continued use 
of traditional technologies, undercapitalization, a weak national 
savings rate, un- and under-employment estimated at 70%, and the 
emigration of many relatively well-educated and skilled workers.

The consequences of the 1991 coup d'etat and irresponsible economic and 
financial policies of the de facto authorities greatly accelerated 
Haiti's economic decline. Following the coup, the United States adopted 
mandatory sanctions, and the OAS instituted voluntary sanctions aimed at 
restoring constitutional government. International sanctions culminated 
in the May 1994 UN embargo of all goods entering Haiti except 
humanitarian supplies such as food and medicine. The assembly sector, 
heavily dependent on U.S. markets for its products, employed up to 
50,000 workers in the mid-1980s. During the embargo, employment fell 
from 36,000 workers in 1991 to 400 in October 1994. Since the return of 
constitutional rule, assembly sector employment has gradually recovered 
to a level of 19,442 in June 1996.

Domestic and foreign investment has been slow to return to Haiti, as 
businesses have awaited the establishment of stable political 
conditions. International financial institutions and donor agencies have 
committed substantial sums to assist Haiti in restoring and expanding 
its physical infrastructure. Further investment in infrastructure is a 
necessary condition for future economic growth. High domestic interest 
rates, tight monetary policies by the central bank, and poorly developed 
internal capital markets are other factors restraining economic 
performance.

As political stability increases in Haiti, tourism could take its place 
next to export-oriented manufacturing (the assembly sector) as a 
potential source of foreign exchange. Remittances from abroad now 
constitute a significant source of financial support for many Haitian 
households.

Workers in Haiti are guaranteed the right of association, and trade 
organizing activities are protected by the labor code. A legal minimum 
wage of 36 gourdes a day (approximately US$2.20) applies to most 
workers.

FOREIGN RELATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

Haiti is one of the original members of the United Nations and several 
of its specialized and related agencies, as well as, the Organization of 
American States (OAS). It maintains diplomatic relations with 37 
countries.

The international community rallied to Haiti's defense during the three 
years of illegal military rule from 1991 to 1994. In the end a total of 
31 countries participated in the U.S.-led Multinational Force (MNF) 
which, acting under UN auspices, intervened in September 1994 to help 
restore the legitimate government and create a secure and stable 
environment in Haiti. At its peak the MNF had over 23,000 troops, mostly 
Americans, and over 1,000 international police monitors. Within six 
months, the troop level was gradually reduced as the MNF was replaced 
smoothly by the UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), consisting of approximately 
6,000 UN peacekeeping troops and 900 civilian police who were charged 
with maintaining the secure environment which the MNF had helped 
establish. A total of 38 countries participated in UNMIH.

From March 1995 to February 1996 UNMIH was led by the U.S., which kept 
approximately 2,500 troops in Haiti. As U.S. troops were withdrawn in 
early 1996, Canada assumed the leadership of UNMIH and its successor, 
the UN Support Mission in Haiti, which as of July 1996 included 1300 
troops from Canada and Pakistan and approximately 300 police monitors 
from 6 countries. UNSMIH's mandate is similar to that of UNMIH and 
originally ran from July to December 1996. The mandate was extended 
through the end of July 1997, although questions remain regarding an 
international presence after the expiration of UNSMIH. The Canadians 
have stated a strong commitment to stay the course in Haiti for at least 
the remainder of the year after UNSMIH officially concludes, although no 
formal arrangements have been made as of yet.

In order to spur Haiti's economic recovery, international development 
banks and donor agencies have pledged to provide over $2 billion in 
assistance by 1999. Additional support depends on the passage by 
Parliament of significant portions of the economic reform program 
negotiated between the Government of Haiti and the International 
Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other international financial 
institutions. Unfortunately, Parliament continues to delay a vote on the 
government's budget and international assistance agencies grow 
increasingly weary of committing long term funds to such a tenuous 
situation. The IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 
and UN Development Program (UNDP), all have resident representatives in 
Haiti. The European Union (EU) contributes economic assistance to Haiti 
under the Lome Accords, which Haiti joined as a full member in 1989. 
Major bilateral donors are led by the United States, with the largest 
bilateral assistance program, and include Canada, France, Germany, and 
Japan.

There are 283 private voluntary organizations (PVOs) which coordinate 
different help networks in the country. Led by the U.S., the 
international community feeds 1.3 million Haitian people a day. USAID's 
food-assistance program, PL 480, plays a large role in providing 
necessary food supplies to the population

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION 

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
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term conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of 
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by 
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information 
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: 
http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). 
To access CABB, dial the modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will 
accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal communications program to N-
8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. 
The login is travel and the password is info (Note: Lower case is 
required). The CABB also carries international security information from 
the Overseas Security Advisory Council and Department's Bureau of 
Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication 
series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a 
safe trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-
7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250. 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
4000. 

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. 
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate 
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648) 

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see Principal 
Government Officials listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous 
areas, are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a 
country (see Principal U.S. Embassy Officials listing in this 
publication). This may help family members contact you in case of an 
emergency. 

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. DOSFAN's 
World Wide Web site is at http://www.state.gov; this site has a link to 
the DOSFAN Gopher Research Collection, which also is accessible at 
gopher://gopher.state.gov. 

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a semi-annual basis 
by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact 
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. 
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or 
fax (202) 512-2250.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information. 

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