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Haiti Travel Information and Hotel Discounts Haiti Travel Information and Hotel Discounts


Haiti Hotel Accommodations
Haiti Hotel Accommodations
Haiti Travel Information and Hotel Discounts

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El Rancho Hotel Petionville, Haiti

Nestled in hills of Petion-Ville
1200 feet above the city of
 Port-au- Prince, El Rancho is
 more like a palatial private estate than a hotel.
 In fact it was
the home of Albert Silvera-
the world-renowned collector
 of classic automobiles-
who in 1950 decided
to convert it into the
 most elegant resort in Haiti.

El Rancho Hotel Petionville, Haiti

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  The Republic of Haiti is a country situated on the western third of the island of Hispaniola and the smaller islands of La Gonâve, La Tortue (Tortuga), Les Cayemites, and Ile a Vache in the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba; Haiti shares Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The total land area of Haiti is 10,714 square miles (27,750 square km) and its capital is Port-au-Prince on the main island of Hispaniola.

A former French colony, it was the first country in the Americas after the United States to declare its independence. In spite of its longevity, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is currently in a state of transition following a rebellion (see 2004 Haiti Rebellion) which deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004; he had been re-elected in 2000 in an election which several opposition parties boycotted due to disputes with the vote counting of the parlimentary elections.

1804: Independence
Freed blacks and mulattos joined with slaves under Pierre-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture against Napoleonic France in 1801 to achieve the Caribbean's first successful revolution for independence. The largely black nation remained isolated politically throughout the 19th century, though penetrated economically by international capitalism.

1915-1934: U.S. Occupation
Main article: United States occupation of Haiti (1915-1934)

From July 28, 1915 until mid-August 1934, Haiti was under the occupation of the U.S. Marine Corps, effectively making Haiti a colony in all but name. Efforts were made to improve Haiti's infrastructure and education systems in particular, but because of the imposed nature of these reforms, with little regard for Haitian customs or traditions, these generally were not well-received nor especially effective.

The Rise of Duvalier
A medical doctor, François Duvalier was not allowed to establish his own practice due to racist customs in Haiti. After securing employment with an American medical project that was fighting widespread tuberculosis, Duvalier had the opportunity to see the poverty that existed in the countryside.

This fueled his interest in politics, and despite the fact that the Haitian government was predominantly mulatto, Duvalier was able to gain a following and joined forces with powerful union leader Daniel Fignole. Together they formed the popular Mouvement Ouvriers Paysans (MOP) party. They continued to gain public support and waited for their moment to seize power.

Both men wanted to take the top job of President, therefore the party was split and in 1957 Fignole became president of Haiti. His position lasted only 18 days, however, because Duvalier was able to overthrow him and began what was to become a 29-year dynasty.

2000-2004: Second Aristide Term and Ensuing Crises
In May 2000, Haiti held legislative and local government elections. The Family Lavalas Party won over 50% of the vote in nearly all the contests but a dispute arose about the method used to tabulate the percentages for the Senate elections. The Organization of American States (OAS) and the international community condemned the results for the Senate elections as fraudulent. The Haitian government refused to re-calculate the percentages. In response, most of the opposition parties refused to acknowledge the results or take part in second-round run-offs. In the months leading up to the Presidential election at the end of the year, numerous negotiations failed to produce a settlement. Therefore, most opposition groups boycotted the Presidential election. Aristide won this election by 90% of the popular vote, but due to the earlier dispute, the opposition parties never accepted his victory as legitimate.

Aristide took office on February 7, 2001, but his presidency was mired in controversy, and his government was undermined by the political impasse and the use of armed gangs, called 'chimeres', to enforce his rule. By 2003, the country was deeply divided between pro-and anti-Aristide camps. This finally led to an armed conflict which increased in intensity on February 5, 2004, 200 years after the Haitian Revolution, when an armed rebel group which formerly called itself the Cannibal Army and worked for President Aristide transformed itself into the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front took control of the Gonaïves police station. This rebellion then spread throughout the central Artibonite province by February 17 and was joined by opponents of the government who had been in exile in the Dominican Republic.

On February 29, 2004, United States flew Aristide out of the country. Aristide was forced to sign a resignation of the Presidency and was taken to the Central African Republic. The circumstances surrounding this flight are a matter of controversy. Many media sources reported that Aristide had resigned and been refused asylum by South Africa. On March 1, 2004, US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), along with Randall Robinson, a family friend of the Aristides, each reported that Aristide had told them using a smuggled cellular telephone that he had been forced to resign against his will by United States diplomats and Marines, and that he was abducted against his will, and continued to be held hostage by an undisclosed armed military guard. [6], [7] When asked whether Aristide was guarded in the Central African Republic by French officers, the French Defense Minister answered that Aristide was protected, not imprisoned, and that he would leave when he could; and that France had many officers present in the Central African Republic following the recent events in that country, but that they did not control Aristide's comings and goings [8].
The native Arawak Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Columbus in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola, and in 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island - 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 and after a prolonged struggle, became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history since then, and it is now one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Over three decades of dictatorship followed by military rule ended in 1990 when Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE was elected president. Most of his term was usurped by a military takeover, but he was able to return to office in 1994 and oversee the installation of a close associate to the presidency in 1996. ARISTIDE won a second term as president in 2000, and took office early in 2001. However, a political crisis stemming from fraudulent legislative elections in 2000 has not yet been resolved.
Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
Geographic coordinates:
19 00 N, 72 25 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 27,750 sq km
land: 27,560 sq km
water: 190 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
mostly rough and mountainous
Ethnic groups:
black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3% (1982)
note: roughly half of the population also practices Voodoo
French (official), Creole (official)


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