Often labeled a “fail state,” global mass media has a tendency to eclipse Haiti’s successes and focus on its failures. However, Haiti’s problems are not always internal; external, destructive forces such as earthquakes also plague the nation. Politically, Haiti has made some progress over the past few decades. Although its history has been characterized by multiple dictatorships and occupations by foreign forces, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of Haiti set it on the path to a more democratic society. This path has experienced setbacks – such as President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s multiple removals from office – but the current President Michel Martelly has served since May 14, 2011 and vows to improve Haiti’s trust in its government. The greatest obstacle posed to Haitians in recent years was wrought not by a dictator but rather by Mother Nature, in the shape of the famous Haitian Earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Haiti’s housing situation has come a long way since the earthquake of 2010, but there is still much progress that needs to be made. After the earthquake, 1.5 million people were displaced; today, 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain. These IDPs live in makeshift campsites where vital resources are scarce, conditions are often unhygienic, and women have no protection from sexual violence. Under President Martelly, some progress has been made, but allegations of corruption and violent forced evictions have tarred his presidency. The current 16/6 plan, which targets only 5% of the IDP population, has highlighted the need for a more comprehensive, peaceful housing plan in Haiti that stems from not NGOs or foreign entities, but rather with direct input from the Haitian people.
Please use the tabs above, under “Haiti Today,” to navigate this section and learn more about the nation’s present situation.