Country of the World Haiti

About the country Haiti, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Haiti is located on the western third of Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean (Cuba is larger). Nearly two thirds of the Haitian terrain is mountainous and unable to support crops. The warm, rainy tropical climate is moderated by trade winds.

Size: 10,714 sq. mi. (27,750 sq. km.).

Population: 4.8 million.

Who Rules: Although Haiti became the first black republic in 1804, it has endured a political history scarred by a long procession of dictators. After a 1950 military coup, its present constitution was adopted (updated in 1964 and 1971). The constitution calls for a popularly elected chamber of deputies, a 12-member cabinet, and a president empowered to name his successor. In fact, the country has been ruled by decree since 1961.

Who REALLY Rules: Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier became president for life upon the death of his father, the ruthless Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier (1907-1971). Jean-Claude is now firmly in control. Although Haiti remains one of the hungriest, poorest, and most repressive countries in the Western Hemisphere, Duvalier has managed to interest some foreign investors (the rock-bottom wages and absence of strikes are very attractive). Almost one half of all children in Haiti die before the age of four.

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