Haiti became the world’s first black-led republic and the first independent Caribbean state when it threw off French colonial control and slavery in a series of wars in the early 19th century. However, decades of poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship have left it as the poorest nation in the Americas.
A mostly mountainous country with a tropical climate, Haiti’s location, history and culture – epitomised by voodoo – once made it a potential tourist hot spot, but instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have severely dented that prospect.
Meanwhile, Haiti’s most serious underlying social problem, the huge wealth gap between the impoverished Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking minority, 1% of whom own nearly half the country’s wealth, remains unaddressed.
Haiti is also ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath of the tropical storms that frequently sweep across the island, with severe deforestation having left it vulnerable to flooding. Natural disaster struck with full force early in 2010, when the capital Port-au-Prince was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake – the country’s worst in 200 years. Tens of thousands of people were killed and much of the capital and its wider area devastated, prompting a major international aid effort.
Ten months later, with the country still struggling to recover from the earthquake, an outbreak of cholera added to Haiti’s woes.
Thank you to the BBC for the information above.
Haiti is a very challenged country but there are hopes that it can rebuild a brighter future. For useful information and further ideas about what sights & sites should be on your itinerary take a look at these links:
Project Istwa coordinates photography workshops throughout Haiti to help young people’s increase self-empowerment, awareness and self-expression. Coordinated and managed by Project Istwa staff and volunteers, the workshops are held in different towns in Haiti and last for two weeks. The … Continue reading