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The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations. Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 25 km (15 mi) west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Over 300,000 people were killed and some 1 milllion left homeless. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Republic of Haiti
Conventional short form Haiti
Local long form
Republique d'Haiti/Repiblik d' Ayiti
Local short form Haiti/Ayiti

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Port-au-Prince
Geographic coordinates 18 32 N, 72 20 W
Time difference
UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time No DST planned for 2012

Administrative divisions
10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est

Independence
1 January 1804 (from France)

Constitution
Approved March 1987; this is Haiti's 23rd constitution

Legal system
Civil law system strongly influenced by Napoleonic Code

International law organization participation
Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Michel MARTELLY (since 14 May 2011)
Head of government
Prime Minister Laurent LAMOTHE (since 16 May 2012)
Cabinet
Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
Elections
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 28 November 2010; runoff on 20 March 2011 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly
Election results
Michel MARTELLY won the runoff election held on 20 March 2011 with 67.6% of the vote against 31.7% for Mirlande MANIGAT

Legislative branch
Bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - in reestablishing the Senate in 2006, the candidate in each department receiving the most votes in the 2006 election serves six years, the candidate with the second most votes serves four years, and the candidate with the third most votes serves two years
Elections
Senate - last held on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections on 20 March 2011 (next regular election, for one third of seats, to be held in 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections on 20 March 2011 (next regular election to be held in 2014)
Election results
2006 Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 11, FUSION 5, OPL 4, FL 3, LAAA 2, UNCRH 2, PONT 2, ALYANS 1; 2006 Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'ESPWA 23, FUSION 17, FRN 12, OPL 10, ALYANS 10, LAAA 5, MPH 3, MOCHRENA 3, other 10; 2010 Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Inite 6, ALTENNATIV 4, LAVNI 1; 2010 Chamber of Deputies- percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Inite 32, Altenativ 11, Ansanm Nou Fo 10, AAA 8, LAVNI 7, RASANBLE 4, KONBIT 3, MOCHRENA 3, Platforme Liberation 3, PONT 3, Repons Peyizan 3, MAS 2, MODELH-PRDH 1, PLAPH 1, RESPE 1, Veye Yo 1, independents 2, vacant 4

Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation

Political parties and leaders
Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Mirlande MANIGAT]; Christian and Citizen For Haiti's Reconstruction or ACCRHA [Chavannes JEUNE]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; Cooperative Action to Rebuild Haiti or KONBA [Jean William JEANTY]; December 16 Platform or Platfom 16 Desanm [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; Democratic Alliance or ALYANS [Evans PAUL] (coalition composed of KID and PPRH); Effort and Solidarity to Create an Alternative for the People or ESKAMP [Joseph JASME]; Fanmi Lavalas or FL [Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE]; For Us All or PONT [Jean-Marie CHERESTAL]; Grouping of Citizens for Hope or RESPE [Charles-Henri BAKER]; Haiti in Action or AAA [Youri LATORTUE]; Haitian Youth Democratic Movement or MODEJHA [Jean Hector ANACACIS]; Haitians for Haiti [Yvon NEPTUNE]; Independent Movement for National Reconstruction or MIRN [Luc FLEURINORD]; Lavni Organization or LAVNI [Yves CRISTALIN]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Jean Andre VICTOR]; Love Haiti or Renmen Ayiti [Jean-Henry CEANT and Camille LEBLANC]; Merging of Haitian Social Democratics or FUSION [Edmonde Supplice BEAUZILE] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert de RONCERAY]; Mobilization for Progress in Haiti or MPH [Samir MOURRA]; National Coalition of Nonaligned Political Parties or CONACED [Osner FEVRY]; National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti or FRN [Guy PHILIPPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Open the Gate Party or PLB [Anes LUBIN]; Peasant's Response or Repons Peyizan [Michel MARTELLY]; Platform Alternative for Progress and Democracy or ALTENATIV [Victor BENOIT and Evans PAUL]; Platform of Haitian Patriots or PLAPH [Dejean BELISAIRE and Himler REBU]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN]; Strength in Unity or Ansanm Nou Fo [Leslie VOLTAIRE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Sauveur PIERRE-ETIENNE]; Union [Chavannes JEUNE]; Union of Haitian Citizens for Democracy, Development, and Education or UCADDE [Jeantel JOSEPH]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNPH [Edouard FRANCISQUE]; Unity or Inite [Levaillant LOUIS-JEUNE] (coalition that includes Front for Hope or L'ESPWA); Vigilance or Veye Yo [Lavarice GAUDIN]; Youth for People's Power or JPP [Rene CIVIL]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Autonomous Organizations of Haitian Workers or CATH [Fignole ST-CYR]; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Economic Forum of the Private Sector or EF [Reginald BOULOS]; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; General Organization of Independent Haitian Workers [Patrick NUMAS]; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; The Haitian Association of Industries or ADIH [Georges SASSINE]; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP [Chavannes JEAN-BAPTISTE]; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Protestant Federation of Haiti; Roman Catholic Church

International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Paul Getty ALTIDOR
Chancery
2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 332-4090
FAX [1] (202) 745-7215
Consulate(s) general
Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Consulate(s) Orlando (Florida)

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Kenneth H. MERTEN
Embassy
Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
Mailing address Use mailing address
Telephone [509] 229-8000
FAX [509] 229-8028

Flag description
Two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength); the colors are taken from the French Tricolor and represent the union of blacks and mulattoes

National symbol(s)
Hispaniolan trogon (bird)

National anthem
Name
"La Dessalinienne" (The Dessalines Song)
Lyrics/music
Justin LHERISSON/Nicolas GEFFRARD
Note
Adopted 1904; the anthem is named for Jean-Jacques DESSALINES, a leader in the Haitian Revolution and first ruler of an independent Haiti


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  Haiti (Port-au-prince):


  GPS points from Haiti (Port-au-prince)

Tima Departement Du Centre

Morne Cabrit Departement De L'ouest

Ti Davis Departement De L'artibonite

Chaine Monte Frio Departement Du Nord-est

Barriere Battant Departement Du Nord

Chansolme Departement Du Nord-ouest

Chaterie Departement Du Sud

Roche Campe Departement De L'ouest




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