U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Haiti, March, 1998
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.
OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Haiti
Area: 27,750 sq. km. (10,714 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.
Cities: Capital--Port-au-Prince (1995 est. pop. 1.5 million). Other
cities--Cap Haitien (65,000).
Terrain: Coastal plain with steep mountains.
Climate: Warm, semiarid; high humidity in many coastal areas.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Haitian(s).
Population (est., 1998): 7.5 million.
Annual growth rate: 2.3%, 2-3% anticipated in 1998 (IMF).
Ethnic groups: African descent 95%, African and European descent 5%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 10%; voodoo practices
Languages: French (official), Creole (official).
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--73% of 6 to 11 year-old
children; secondary school 15%. Adult literacy--35%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--74/1,000. Life expectancy--55 yrs.
Work force (est.): 3 million. Agriculture--66%. Industry and commerce--
Type: Elected government.
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 are the Organization
of the Struggling People (OPL, formerly the Lavalas Political
Organization) and the Fanmi Lavalas Party founded by former President
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GNP (1997): $3.0 billion (unadjusted for inflation).
GNP growth rate (FY 1997): 1.1%; 2-3% expected growth in 1998 (IMF).
Inflation (FY 1997): 17%.
Per capita GNP (est.): $400.
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 (1997): Exports (to U.S. $188 million)--apparel, mangos, essential
oils, toys/sporting goods, electrical. Major market--U.S. (historically
about 75%). Imports (from U.S. $500 million)--rice, wheat flour, motor
vehicles, soybean oil, machinery, sugar, petroleum. Major supplier--U.S.
Exchange rate: About Haitian gourdes 17=U.S.$1.
Haiti is densely populated, 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
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 six-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.
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
During this period, African slaves were brought to work the sugarcane
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 U.S. Coast Guard rescued a total of 41,342 Haitians from 1991 to
1992, more than the number of rescued refugees from the previous 10
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 Gen. 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
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 Resolution 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.
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. Territorial elections
designed to decentralize political power were held in early April 1997.
The government of Prime Minister Rosny Smarth resigned on June 9, 1997.
He continued in caretaker status until November 1997.
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 about
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. The United Nations Transition
Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) replaced UNSMIH to November 30, 1997. The 12-
month UN Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) was established by
the Security Council and began operations on December 1, 1997, after the
conclusion of UNSMIH. Its 300 authorized civilian police (CIVPOL) are
divided into two groups. Up to 160 CIVPOL mentors, including 30 U.S.
police officers, are tasked with bringing the Haitian National Police
(HNP) to levels of operational competence required before UN specialized
agencies, including the UN Development Program (UNDP), can assume
responsibility for further long-term institutional development. The
remaining 140 CIVPOL are Argentine gendarmes who, as part of a special
police unit (SPU), are on call to ensure the safety of CIVPOL from
situations where HNP may not be able to do so. MIPONUH does not have a
The judicial system in Haiti is still weak and remains a high priority
for international donors. USAID programs focus on improving
administration in prosecutors' offices and the courts, establishing a
case-tracking system, legal aid, and training for judges, court, and
prosecutorial staff. 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 helped
the Government of Haiti set up a Special Investigative Unit within the
Haitian National Police, and the investigation of several of these
crimes is in progress. Steps have been taken to end the culture of
impunity that has dominated Haiti for decades. The Office of Inspector
General of the Haitian National Police investigates complaints against
police officers, and around 200 have been dismissed. Training continues
in an effort to build the fledgling National Police into a non-
political, fully professional force committed to the rule of law.
Principal Government Officials
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Fritz Longchamp
Ambassador to the U.S.--vacant (Louis Harold Joseph, Charge d'Affaires)
Ambassador to the OAS--vacant (Louis Harold Joseph, Acting)
Ambassador to the UN--Pierre Lelong
The Embassy of Haiti is located at 2311 Massachusetts Ave., NW,
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-4090).
Haiti's economic reform agenda under President Preval includes
trade/tariff liberalization, modernization (understood to mean
privatization) of state-owned enterprises, measures to control
government expenditure and increase tax revenues, civil service
downsizing, and financial sector 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 commitment to economic reform
with the implementation of sound fiscal and monetary policies and the
enactment of a "modernization" (privatization) law, along with the
creation of the privatization council (CMEP), and the launching of its
ambitious plan to privatize nine parastatals. The state-owned flour mill
has been privatized, and privatization of the cement plant is in
progress. Much of the population expected more immediate results from
tough reforms. The views of former President Aristide, still popular,
also influence discussions of economic reforms. President Aristide has
been skeptical of economic reform, but he remains a popular figure in
External aid is essential to Haiti's future economic development. Haiti
is the least-developed 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,
political instability, a shortage of good arable land, environmental
deterioration, continued use of traditional technologies,
undercapitalization, migration of large portions of the skilled
population, and a weak national savings rate.
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
80,000 workers in the mid-1980s. During the embargo, employment fell
from 33,000 workers in 1991 to 400 in October 1994. Since the return of
constitutional rule, assembly sector employment has gradually recovered
to a level of nearly 20,000 in February 1998.
Private domestic and foreign investment has been slow to return to
Haiti. The investor community is concerned about political conditions
and economic reform. International financial institutions and donor
agencies have committed substantial sums to assist Haiti in restoring
and expanding its physical infrastructure. High domestic interest rates
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
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 U.S. $2.25) applies to most
workers in the formal sector.
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
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 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 more than
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 some 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.
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, although much of this amount has not been disbursed.
Disbursement is contingent on progress in economic reform. Major
bilateral donors are led by the United States, with the largest
bilateral assistance program, and include Canada, France, Germany, and
Japan. 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.
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 improve poor public
President Preval joined President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders
in May 1997 in Bridgetown, Barbados, for the first-ever U.S.-regional
summit. The meeting strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on
justice and counternarcotics, finance and development, and trade.
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 FY
1996 and $101 million in FY 1997. In addition to financial support, the
U.S. provides human resources. U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to Haiti
returned in 1995. U.S. assistance provides support for democracy
initiatives, agriculture, and improving health standards.
Additional U.S. efforts include the establishment of the U.S.-Haiti
Business Development Council, an Overseas Private Investment Corporation
commercial loan program, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, all
providing greater market opportunities for American and Haitian
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 between 50,000 to 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 million 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.
The Government of Haiti is committed to the success of the Haitian
National Police (HNP). More than 6,000 recruits have completed training
in modern law enforcement. 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. provided equipment to
support the HNP.
U.S. Business Opportunities
The U.S. has been and remains Haiti's largest trading partner. A number
of U.S. firms, including banks, airlines, oil companies, agribusiness,
and U.S.-owned assembly plants, maintain a 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 obtaining an immigrant visa from a Haitian Consulate; obtaining
a work permit, with some exceptions; and 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
Hurdles for businesses in Haiti include poor infrastructure, crime, a
high-cost port, 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.
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 supported training for police personnel and judicial
officials and the reform of the court and prison systems. The U.S.,
along with the international financial institutions, has encouraged the
privatization of inefficient parastatals. The U.S. has also encouraged
open markets in the Haitian economy.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador--Timothy M. Carney
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).
OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION
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
Tel: (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
Tel: (509) 46-4509 or (509) 46-4510
Centre Pour la Livre Entreprise et la Democratie (CLED)
37, Avenue Marie-Jeanne,
No. 8 B.P. 1316
Tel: (509) 22-9720
Fax: (509) 22-9721
Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie d'Haiti
P.O. Box 982
Tel: (509) 22-0281 or (509) 22-2475
Haitian American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HAMCHAM)
P.O. Box 13486
Tel: (509) 57-4767, fax not available.
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
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Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
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Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information
quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term
conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of
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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:
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
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-
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.
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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).
Registering with the embassy may help you to replace lost identity
documents or help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information:
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet,
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information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch,
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings;
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an 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-us.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information.
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