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  • 1. A Story Told by Contrast
  • 2. Haiti is a difficult country to chart
    The country has only had five censuses in its 200+ years
    The greatest problem has been the 2010 7.1 magnitude earthquake
    No statistics here are before 2001
    Many statistics have some level of estimation to them
    All of this means: No one really knows Haiti
    I made for myself this rule: If I didn’t come across a statistic at least twice, I withdrew it.
    Many of these statistics are actually much worse…
    Prefatory Note:
  • 3. Haiti
  • 4. At the economic base of the pyramid, several systems battle each other for leverage
    These battles tell a story…
  • 5. Haiti vs. Dominican Republic
    Columbus discovered Hispaniola in 1492
    The French took the West side of the island from Spain and imported African slaves
    Haiti was the crown jewel of the French Empire
    Haiti abused its resources—massive amounts of Haitian timber was exported to France. Haiti was once the largest exporter of timber in the Western Hemisphere
    Haiti has always been more densely populated than its neighbor, almost equal population, (9 million) except Haiti is half the size
    Per capita GDP $5,464 vs. $1,338
    GDP $50.874 vs. $11.976 Billion
    Dominican Republic has more arable land and more rain
    Genocide of Haitian immigrants by Trujillo/ El Tiempo de Mariaposas
  • 6. Haiti is disproportionately female—especially in urban areas
    50-70% of households in Port-au-Prince are headed by women—30% in rural areas
    Haitian women participate in the workforce to a far greater extent than in neighboring countries
    75% of the assembly industry is female
    70% of the services sector is female
    Most common marital relationship (85%) is a plasaj: an agreement between families—not a marriage
    A man or a woman may have a number of plasaj-relationships in their lifetime, and children with different people. The elite look down on plasajarrangements
    Marriage, which is expensive, gives social prestige
    Women’s issues are strong and growing, very little gender discrimination
    Male vs. Female
  • 7. Haiti is a disproportionately young society
    33% of Haiti is school age ( 5-18 years old)
    40% of the population is under age 15
    Unsafe water, unsanitary conditions make it hard to get old
    Life expectancy: 59.2
    2010 estimates are horrific: Life expectancy at birth: total population: 29.93 years male: 29.61 years female: 30.25 years
    Young vs. Old
  • 8. Haiti is 95% Black and 5% Mulatto/White
    1791-1803: Haitian Revolution/ Black uprising, destruction of Mulatto/White property, and mass murder of Mulatto/Whites
    In 1804: Haiti declared independence—2nd oldest republic after U.S.
    1915: U.S. occupies Haiti for 19 years after government executes 150 political prisoners
    Black majority and ruling Mulattoes have always been in conflict
    Black Nationalism has not helped Haiti: Francois Duvalier
    Haitians in Dominican Republic typically shun their African heritage
    The Dominican Republic does not view black Haitians favorably
    Black vs. Mulatto
  • 9. Almost all government services are exclusively available in cities
    Port-au-Prince has: 52% of country’s hospital beds, 73% of it’s physicians, and 67% of its nurses
    Almost all foreign aid goes directly to cities—especially the capital
    For this reason, rural poverty is more severe than urban poverty
    Growth in urban areas results from an inability to live in rural areas
    Heavy deforestation comes from energy needs/rapid urbanization: wood in rural areas and charcoal made from wood in urban areas—fossil fuel consumption is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere
    Haiti remains the most rural country, as well as the most densely populated country, in the Western Hemisphere
    Much travel is done in Tap-Taps, which means Quick-Quick. These are trucks that have been converted to hold several passengers. Riding in one is crowded and dangerous, but often necessary.
    Rural vs. Urban
  • 10. Haiti has two prevalent languages—Creole is the national language as of 1987
    9 out of 10 Haitians only speak Creole
    1 out of 20 is fluent in both
    Fluency in French is an indicator of elite status
    In Creole the phrase “to speak French” means “to be a hypocrite”
    School textbooks are generally written in French, although teaching is generally done in Creole
    Talking has a high cultural value
    Emigration to U.S. and Dominican Republic has resulted in Haitians using English and Spanish
    French vs. Creole
  • 11. Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Haiti
    Interestingly, Haiti has had a priest as president
    Voodoo, which originates from Haiti, is practiced in conjunction with Catholicism by Haitians
    Historically, the church and state have tried to persecute voodoo, to no avail
    Voodoo transcends class and race. It is the result of African slaves holding onto their indigenous religious beliefs after being forcefully converted to Christianity
    Past presidents have employed Voodoo priests as counselors and advisors
    Roman Catholicism vs. Voodoo
  • 12. Cash crops: coffee and sugar cane (cocoa and cotton)—competitive and speculative
    Food crops: legumes, rice, bananas( banana trees are easily destroyed by tropical storms), beans, corn, potatoes (tubers increase soil erosion)
    Agriculture is declining as population is increasing
    Tropical storms, floods, droughts, and hurricanes are common
    Only 7% of the land is suitable for farming due to mountainous terrain, yet 48% of the land is cultivated
    Fishing is done mostly for consumption, not commercial, needs
    Haiti exports significant amounts of coral, sea turtles, and aquarium fish directly to the United States
    Cash Crops vs. Food Crops
  • 13. On November 28 2010: A fraudulent election
    March 20th: A run-off election will be held to decide Haiti’s next president
    Ms. MirlandeManigat vs. Mr. Michel Martelly
    Haiti’s Interim Reconstruction Commission, chaired by ex- U.S. president Bill Clinton, is awaiting the results
    Aid to Haiti- several millions- has been frozen pending this election
    Haiti’s future hangs in the balance
  • 14. Globalization has left Haiti behind. Without much natural wealth, Haiti can do little else but react to the future
    One large impact of technology on Haiti has been mobile giving
    Climate change means a more violent and unpredictable hurricane season
  • 15. Haiti’s importance on the worlds stage is like an accordion…it expands and shrinks
    Haiti was in serious trouble long before the earthquake