Area handbook for Haiti

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Area handbook for Haiti
Physical Description:
1 online resource (xiv, 189 pages) : maps ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Weil, Thomas E
American University (Washington, D.C.) -- Foreign Area Studies
Publisher:
For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.
Place of Publication:
Washington
Publication Date:
Edition:
1st ed.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Haiti   ( lcsh )
Haiti   ( mesh )
Civilización -- Haití
Condiciones económicas -- Haití
Haïti   ( rvm )
Haiti   ( fast )
Haïti   ( ram )
Genre:
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 159-182) and index.
System Details:
Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002.
Statement of Responsibility:
co-authors: Thomas E. Weil and others.
General Note:
"DA PAM 550-164."
General Note:
"Prepared by Foreign Area Studies (FAS) of the American University."

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 597996436
ocn597996436
Classification:
lcc - F1915 .W44
ddc - 917.294/03/6
nlm - F 1915.5 A512a 1973
System ID:
AA00001182:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text








This volume was donated to LLMVC to enrich its on-line offerings and
ffor purposes of long-term preservation by University of Michigan Law Library














AREA HANDBOOK

for

HAITI

Co-Authors
Thomas E. Weil

Jan Knippers Black Howard I. Blutstein Kathryn T. Johnston David S. McMorris Frederick P. Munson




Research was completed February 1973


First Edition Published 1973


DA PAM 550-164































Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 73-600155




























For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402-Price $4.50










FOREWORD

This volume is one of a series of handbooks prepared by Foreign Area Studies (FAS) of The American University, designed to be useful to military and other personnel who need a convenient compilation of basic facts about the social, economic, political, and military institutions and practices of various countries. The emphasis is on objective .description of the nation's present society and the kinds of possible or probable changes that might be expected in the future. The handbook seeks to present as full and as balanced an integrated exposition as limitations on space and research time permit. It was compiled from information available in openly published material. An extensive bibliography is provided to permit recourse to other published sources for more detailed information. There has been no attempt to express any specific point of view or to make policy recommendations. The contents of the handbook represent the work of the authors and FAS and do not represent the official view of the United States government.
An effort has been made to make the handbook as comprehensive as possible. It can be expected, however, that the material, interpretations, and conclusions are subject to modification in the light of new information and developments. Such corrections, additions, and suggestions for factual, interpretive, or other change as readers may have will be welcomed for use in future revisions. Comments may be addressed to:

The Director
Foreign Area Studies
The American University
5010 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016













PREFACE

The Republic of Haiti, which occupies the western third of Hispaniola, a near neighbor of the United States strategically located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, has attracted the attention of foreign powers throughout its turbulent history. Economic and political conditions in this densely populated country have been of particular interest to the United States. In the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century, the United States undertook to prevent intervention in Haiti by European powers; and between 1915 and 1034 the United States carried out a military occupation in the course of which projects designed to improve living conditions were introduced. In early 1973 the United States was extending technical and economic assistance.
This book represents an effort to provide a compact and objective exposition and analysis of the dominant social, political, and economic characteristics of Haitian society. Consultants with first-hand knowledge of the country have provided data not available in printed sources. The authors alone are responsible for the final draft.
English usage follows Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary. French and Creole words and phrases, used only when adequate English equivalents are lacking, are defined at first appearance. If employed frequently, they, are listed in the Glossary. French is based on The New Cassell's French Dictionary (revised). Unless otherwise stated, production and commodity tonnage figures are in metric tons.

















V













COUNTRY SUMMARY

1. COUNTRY: Republic of Haiti (116publique d'Haiti).
2. SIZE, TOPOGRAPHY, AND CLIMATE: Land area of about 11,000 square miles. Occupies western one-third of Hispaniola, second largest island in Caribbean; Dominican Republic occupies eastern two-thirds. Mountainous country in which only 20 percent of territory lies below 600 feet; topography dominated by five ranges with generally eastwest axis. Generally well watered, but rivers have uneven flow. Prevailing temperatures vary with elevation, and sea breezes temper tropical heat in coastal lowlands; little seasonal change. Rainfall limited by fact that most of country lies in rain shadow. Precipitation generally heaviest in north, and heavier in highlands than in lowlands, but considerable local variation. Seasonal incidence also varies by locality.
3. POPULATION: One of most densely populated countries in the world. Population exceeded 4.2 million in 1971 census. Estimated growth rate averaged about 2 percent during 1960s. Urbanization pro,ceeding slowly, and in early 1970s some 75 to 85 percent of population remained rural. Port-au-Prince, with at least half of urban population, was only large city.
4. ETHNIC GROUPS AND LANGUAGES: Great majority of the people are of African descent. Remainder are principally mulattoes,of mixed African-Caucasian ancestry-who, as a group, have occupied an elite position in the society. A small number of Haitian citizens are of Levantine or European origin. French is the official language but is spoken by less than 10 percent of the people. Creole, spoken by virtually all the people, is a combination of French dialects and certain African forms. The two languages are not mutually intelligible.
5. RELIGION: State religion is Roman Catholicism. All religious faiths tolerated. Protestant missionaries active throughout the country. Most of the people profess Roman Catholicism, but voodooism, based largely on West African religious practices, exerts profound influence on lives of the people.
6. EDUCATION: Enrollment of about 300,000 at all levels in 1970s; 90 percent of total in primary system. Most of primary and virtually all secondary and higher schools in urban localities. Only university is public institution in Port-au-Prince. Moderate increase in primary and secondary enrollments during 1960s; university enrollment declined. School instruction conducted in French, but most of rural population

Vii




speak only Creole; as consequence, rural enrollments low, dropout rates high. National rate of literacy estimated at 20 percent or less in 1970.
7. HEALTH: Medical personnel and facilities concentrated in Port-auPrince and a few urban centers. Demand for modern medical care in rural areas limited by survival of traditional health attitudes and practices. Principal health hazards aggravated by poor nu triton and inadequate sanitation. These include malaria, tuberculosis, dermatosis, diseases of early infancy, parasite worms, and respiratory ailments. Yaws, formerly a major hazard, virtually eliminated; intensive antimalaria campaign resulted in sharp decline in its incidence during 1960s.
8. GOVERNMENT: Constitutional democracy, but power is centered in hands of president. Executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Constitution changed in 1964 to make President Franqois Duvalier president for life. Upon his death his son Jean-Claude became president for life. Unicameral legislature with fifty-eight members.
9. INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS: The country is a party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance and a member of the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations and many of its specialized agencies. 10. CURRENCY: Gourde; symbol is G. Rate of exchange is 5 gourdes equal US$1. Currency stable.
11. AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY: Agriculture is basis of economy. Coffee is major export crop, but many other crops grown for both domestic and export markets. Industry, second leading sector of economy; small plants assembling imported components for reexport have been fastest growing segment. 12. LABOR: In 1970 estimated at 2.78 million, or a little over half of population in labor force. Proportion among highest in Latin America and nearly twice that in some Latin American countries. Over 80 percent believed engaged in agriculture and most of remainder in service activities. Women and girls made up nearly half of total. Organized sector of labor force small and of limited significance; confined largely to Port-au-Prince.
13. TRANSPORTATION: Inadequate for needs of country. Roads in poor condition, and many towns connected only by animal trails I
Domestic aviation fills a small part of gap, but larger role is played by hundreds of small craft engaged in coastal trade. One nonfunctioning govern ment-owned railroad of three-feet-six-inch-gauge track. 14. COMMUNICATIONS: About 5,000 telephones in country in 1972. Some domestic telegraph service as well as international telephone and telegraphic service.
15. IMPORTS AND EXPORTS: Exports consist mainly of coffee, cacao, sugar, light manufactures, and bauxite. Imports are varied and

viii




include consumer durables, machinery, food products, chemicals, and fuels.
16. ECONOMIC AGREEMENTS AND AID: Some bilateral agreements have been negotiated with a few countries, including France. Foreign aid provided by United States, international lending agencies, and foreign governments.
17. ARMED FORCES: Security forces consist of army, small coast guard, and air force (totaling about 6,000) and a militia estimated at 7,000 to 10,000. Unified command system by which army controls navy, air force, and police. Army units primarily infantry-type battalions.





































ix
















HAITI

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page

FOREWORD................................................... iii
PREFACE ...................................... ............... v
COUNTRY SUMMARY........................................... vii
SECTION I. SOCIAL
Chapter 1. General Character of the Society.......................... 1
2. Geography and Population.............................. 5
Boundaries and Political Subdivisions -Natural FeaturesSettlement Patterns -Population Structure and DynamicsPopulation Problems-Labor Force
3. Historical Setting........................... 25
Discovery and Con quest-Saint-Dom ingue-IndependenceYears of Turmoil, 1843-1915-United States Intervention,
1915-34-Developments, 1934-57
4. Social System ....................................... 39
Color and Class -Religion -Languages
5. Living Conditions.............. .. ................... 57
Diet -Dress -Hous ing-Patterns of Living and LeisureHealth-Welfare
6. Education, Cultural Life, and Public Information .............81
Education -Artistic and Intellectual Expression -Public
Information

SECTION 11. POLITICAL
Chapter 7. Government and Political Dynamics ...................... 105
Constitutional Framework -Political Dynamics -Foreign
Relations
SECTION III. ECONOMIC
Chapter 8. The Economy ....................................... 127
Government Role -Agriculture-In dustry-Do mestic Trade
and Transportation -Foreign Economic Relations -Finance SECTION IV. NATIONAL SECURITY Chapter 9. National Defense and Public Order ....................... 151
National Defense-Public Order
BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................... 159
GLOSSARY ................................................... 181
INDEX....................................................... 183

Xi




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1 Haiti: Hispaniola and Its Position in the Antilles ...................... xiv
2 Populated Places and Political Subdivisions of Haiti ................... 8
3 Haiti: Relief Features of Hispaniola ................................ 9
4 Organization of the Armed Forces of Haiti, 1973 ...................... 153



LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1 School Enrollment in Haiti, 1967 ................................... 85
2 Haitian Gross Domestic Product, Fiscal Years 1967-71 ................. 128
3 Agricultural Production of Haiti, 1966 and 1969-71 .................... 133
4 Foreign Trade of Haiti, Fiscal Years 1966-70 ......................... 144








































xii











84 ________ 78 ___72 66 60
UNITED
STATS.

24 -24





CUBA'
ATLANTIC OCEAN





HAITI DOMICANS PUERTO
k18~ ".", RICO
18 -Bb
JAMAIAsJ~, *k b0 MAD 18





HONDURAS .

CARIBBEAN SEA



4y

NfFTHFRIAA0DS ANTIIUES

121


COSTA -I !RAD
RICLA a & 0546
CANAll OONI rCOLOMBIA /VENEZUELA


84 78_ 72 66 60


Figure 1. Haiti.- Hi~panliola anld Its Position ill the Alltillel










SECTION 1. SOCIAL

CHAPTER

GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE SOCIETY
In early 1973 the people of Haiti lived in a transitional period following the death of President Franqois Duvalier, whose authoritarian regime had lasted for thirteen and a half years. Repressive measures were somewhat less in evidence; there were signs of an upturn in the economy after years of quiescence; and foreign relations were improving. After the death of Duvalier in 1971 conditions in the country had been relatively tranquil, but rivalry for political power continued among Duvalier's former followers.
Ever since the discovery in 1492 of the island of Hispaniola-the western third of which is occupied by the Republic of Haiti-the people of this territory have felt the effects of foreign intervention in one form or another. When Christopher Columbus, searching for a route to Asia, landed on Hispaniola and claimed it for the Spanish crown, what is now Haiti became part of a Spanish colony; and during the early years of Spanish occupation the indigenous peoples-Arawak Indians-were virtually destroyed by the cruel treatment inflicted by the colonists. As a result the population of modern Haiti, unlike those of most Latin American countries, shows virtually no trace of its indigenous peoples.
More than 90 percent of the people of modern Haiti are descended from African slaves, most of whom were brought in by French colonists to work on plantations. Ceded to France by Spain in 1697, the territory became one of the richest colonies in the French Empire, and the use of the French language and admiration for French culture shown by educated Haitians today had their origin in the French colony. Likewise Creole, the language spoken by virtually all Haitians, although characterized by the syntax of West African languages, is based largely on French dialects.
Present-day Haitians take pride in the fact that they gained their independence in 1804 after defeating French forces sent by Napoleon to put down a slave rebellion; and they are proud of the fact that in 1820 the country became the first Negro republic in the world. Although the economy of the country suffered badly after the departure of the French, the modern-day Haitian peasant, despite his poverty, cherishes his self-reliance and economic independence.

I




Ever since pirates, operating from what is now Haitian territory, preyed on Spanish galleons carrying treasure from the American mainland to Spain, foreign powers have recognized the importance of the Windward Passage, which separates Haiti from Cuba and serves as an important link connecting Central America and South America with North America and Europe. Through the years Haitians have witnessed shows of force by foreign powers anxious to protect their interests in the country; and between 1915 and 1934 the United States intervened militarily to protect the lives of its citizens and their property and to prevent intervention by European powers. In 1973 Haitians were receiving economic, technical and military assistance from abroad.
Haitians inhabit one of the most densely populated countries in the world. A large proportion of the population lives virtually outside the money economy; and agriculture, typically practiced on small, individual, family subsistence plots, is the mainstay of the country's economy. The proportion of the population that is economically active is substantially larger than the average in Latin American countries; and the participation rate of women is almost as high as that of men. Women play an important part in the rural economy -particularly in their role of vending or bartering produce in the village markets. At least 80 percent of the people live in rural areas, and most of the people working in urban localities are engaged in service occupations.
The people face the problem of extracting their living from plots of land, which are not only small but which have been overcultivated. Roughly two-thirds of the country is mountainous and unsuitable for cultivation. The rough terrain not only limits the amount of arable land but also renders internal communications difficult.
By 1973, although Haiti continued to be one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, the government had attained a more favorable fiscal position; foreign investment was increasing, along with growing confidence among businessmen; and the tourist trade was reviving. Exports -principally coffee, sugar, handicrafts, bauxite, and manufactured goods -contributed to unusually high reserves of foreign exchange. A promising development was the increasing number of small factories in and around Port-au-Prince, the national capital, in which imported raw or partially finished materials were processed for export-largely to the United States. Light industries were producing, among other things, baseballs, athletic goods, and electric components.
In a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in Latin America, the number of pupils attending secondary schools in 1972-primarily in urban areas-was increasing rapidly. In most parts of the nation, however, educational facilities were extremely limited; and the fact that instruction was given in French, in a country in which the great majority of the people understood only Creole, inhibited the effective2





ness of education in public schools. Nevertheless, Haitians have developed a literary tradition; and among the people, folk music and painting play an important part in their lives. Artists and writers have created a consciousness of a distinctively Haitian culture, and emphasis has, in the twentieth century, been on aspects of Haitian life rather than on French models used in the past.
Freedom of expression, although guaranteed by successive constitutions, has often suffered under tyrannical governments. In 1973 newspapers and broadcasting stations avoided publishing or transmitting material that might be offensive to the government, but official censorship was not apparent. Because very few people were able to read, radio was the most influential mass medium in the country.
The small percentage of the population who enjoy the advantages of education and who are mainly responsible for intellectual activity are, for the most part, successors to the wealthy whites who constituted the elite in colonial times. When the whites were expelled at the end of the eighteenth century, the mulattoes -descendants of Africans and whites-became the elite. They preserved their position through generations of changing governments, whether the government was controlled by mulattoes or Negroes. In 1973 they continued to revere French culture and to support the Roman Catholic Church, but a society that had been sharply divided between the elite and the masses was changing. The beginnings of a middle class were apparent; and educated, wealthy nonelites were joining the old elite to form an upper
*class with a broader base. At the same time the masses in the countryside lived much as they had a hundred years earlier. Although the great majority were Roman Catholics, their lives were profoundly affected by voodooism-the Haitian religion based on West African religions-whose priests exercised a significant influence throughout the country.
In 1973 the people lived under a highly centralized government. Although the constitution provided for a system of checks and balances-with executive, legislative, and judicial branches-the president, supported by the armed forces, exercised strong executive power. In late 1972 legislative elections, which had not been held since 1967, were scheduled for February 1973. Various factions were jockeying for positions, as were individuals close to President Jean-Claude Duvalier, who had been designated president-for-life by his father, President Fran ois Duvalier. Meanwhile, in the countryside the people continued, for the most part, to live under conditions that had existed since the beginning of the nineteenth century.






3













CHAPTER

GEOGRAPHY AND POPULATION
The approximately 11,000 square miles that make up the territory of Haiti occupy the western one-third of Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean; the eastern two-thirds is occupied by the Dominican Republic. Lying about 600 miles southeast of Florida, the island is separated from Puerto Rico on the east by the Mona Passage, and from Cuba on the west by the Windward Passage (see fig. 1). Because these two seaways are the principal water routes linking North America and Europe with Central and South America, the histories of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have been affected by external influences with unusual frequency.
In the aboriginal language, the word haiti means high land. The name is appropriate, for although the highest crests do not reach elevations as great as those of neighboring Dominican Republic, intricately convoluted mountains and hills cover most of the countryside. Less than 20 percent of the land lies at elevations below 600 feet, and about 40 percent is at elevations in excess of 1,500 feet. The mountain ranges, which follow a roughly east-west axis, make internal communication difficult and have contributed to the development of regionalism.
Once largely covered with tropical rain forest and Caribbean pine, the country has been subjected to extensive clearing of its woodlands for farming and for provision of timber and firewood. Erosion has been severe, and in the early 1970s very little commercial forest remained. Rodents of various kinds are the only native mammals, but there are numerous species of birds, reptiles, and fresh-water and salt-water fish. Mineral resources are limited.
One of the smallest of the American nations, Haiti is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. During the 1960s and barly 1970s the annual population growth rate was moderate in comparison to that registered in most other Latin American countries, but the limited amount of arable land coupled with massive erosion had resulted in severe rural crowding. A migration from country to town had been in process during the years since World War 11, but its volume had been restricted by the urban economy's inability to develop industries in sufficient number to provide an increasing number of new jobs for the migrants. In 1972 four-fifths or more of the population continued to live in rural localities; a preponderant majority engaged in subsistence farming.

5




In the early 1970s more than half of the population was economically active, as compared with a proportion of less than one-third in Latin America as a whole. The participation rate for women, which was only slightly less than that for men, was the highest in the region. Most of the small urban labor force was engaged in service occupations, and in the country as a whole-the number working for wages and salaries was far smaller than the number of employers and self-employed persons or the number of unpaid family workers.
BOUNDARIES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
The 193-mile border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the island country's only international frontier, was agreed upon in a treaty signed in 1929. Some 80 percent of its demarcation was completed by 1930, and five remaining disputed border sections were settled by a 1936 protocol. For the most part, the frontier follows mountain ridges and courses of streams. There are also several short distances that follow straight lines, and in a portion of the interior highlands it is defined by the International Route (Route Internationale), a highway that parallels the course of the Libon River (Rivi re Libon), a stream that had served as the border before the road was built.
Because of the dense rural population in Haiti and the relative emptiness of the frontier zone in the Dominican Republic, there has been considerable pressure on the border. During the nineteenth century the line in some places shifted substantially to the east, a circumstance that explains the occurrence of Spanish names such as Los Palos and Los Pozos for places on the Haitian Central Plateau (Plateau Central). Haitian farmers occupying miniature farms close to the border have looked enviously at the relatively empty lands on the Dominican side, and the Dominican government has established a string of frontierzone agricultural colonies in order to make the border secure. The Haitian government, on its part, has endeavored to minimize friction by forbidding the construction of homes within one kilometer (0.62 miles) of the border in certain localities. Illegal migration of Haitians seeking employment in the neighboring country has continued, however, and the border had been closed for most of a five-year period when it was reopened at the beginning of 1972. At the middle of the year. however, it was reported to. be closed again.
On the eve of a conference on the law of the sea held in Santo Domingo early in 1972 and attended by fifteen states with Caribbean interests, Haiti issued a decree fixing the limits of its territorial waters at twelve nautical miles, plus a contiguous three-mile zone in which fishing rights were reserved. It also asserted the right to control the exploration of natural resources of its continental shelf, a principle later adhered to by the states attending the Santo Domingo conference.
The Constitution of 1957 and subsequent legislation call for the internal division of the country into nine departments (d6partenieiits).

6





In mid-1972, however, the perimeters of these departments had yet to be determined, and the country was still divided internally into the five departments that had been in existence in 1957. These were the Department of the Northwest (D6partement du Nord-ouest), Department of the North (D~partement du Nord), Department of the West (D~partement de l'Ouest), Department of the South (D~partement du Sud), and the Artibonite Department (D~partement de l'Artibonite). The last was made up of an area corresponding generally to the lowland areas in the central part of the country. Curiously, the Department of the West was located in the southeast, directly to the east of the Department of the South (see fig. 2).
The departments are composed of arrondissements, which are in turn divided into communes. Both vary substantially in size and in population. In general, internal administrative boundaries correspond with natural features. Watersheds are the most common, but the courses of streams are also frequently used.

NATURAL FEATURES

Landform and Drainage
The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic follows an irregular line extending from north to south, but the relief features of Hispaniola follow an east-west axis (see fig. 3). As a consequence, the principal mountain ranges and intermontane valleys are shared by the two countries. The laterally extending mountains have made internal communications difficult and have given rise to regionalism in both countries. The arrangement of intervening valleys, however, has also served to furnish easy access from one country to the other and has led to border incidents and illegal crossings of the troubled frontier that have played an important part in the histories of the two nations. Highlands
The intricate highland pattern that covers more than three-fourths of Haiti is characterized by narrow-crested east-west ranges and spurs extending in random directions. Although there are at least five major systems and numerous spurs, the ranges meet one another to form a highland conglomerate that is discontinuous only in the south where the Cul-de-Sac lowland extends eastward from the Gulf of Gonave (Golfe de la Gonave) at Port-au-Prince to the Dominican frontier. The slopes of the mountains are often precipitous, but the demand for agricultural land has been so great that the steepest of mountainside plots have been tilled, and jocular but vivid tales are told of farmers falling to their deaths off their cornfields. Intensive utilization of these slopes has in many localities resulted in complete removal of the original forest cover, and erosion of the landscape is so extensive that only remnants of the natural topsoil remain.
In the north, the most extensive of the mountain systems is the

7







74 73 72



ATLANTIC OCEAN
Tortue -20

20PORT-DE-PAIX:::::::::::::::::::
................
................
................
Zf BORGNE ......................

NO RD-O UEST A CAP-HAITIEN .......................
................
MOLF-ST.-NICOIAS ......................
I IMBE 0

BAlf-DE-HENNI FORT-11811111
X.
...........
..........
*GRAW-RIVIEff-OU-NO0
............ ......
............... .. .
NO RD ... ... ......
GONAIVIS 0 ENNERY XX .*.*....-,.*..
*SAINT-RAPHAEL ----- ------
..................
..................
...................
N
.....................

GOLFE UARTIBONITE

DE LA GONAVE
..........
......... ..
W OND % ...... ..
0 HINCHE
SAINT-MARC .................
V[RflETT[S
3 ..... .---------------0 10 20
.................. 19
.. .......................
.. ...........
19
MILES e MONTROYIS ... .... ...... .
.......................
......................
... .............
.... ... .. ...
.....................
Ile de la Gondve ...... .. .
MWBAWS ANSE A GALETS
...................
...................
.....................

Les Coyemites ittitmIt
...........................
--------------------.. .......................
PORT-AU-PRINCE ----------------------------...........

vAmt-MARIE PETIT-TRO11-DE-NIPPIS MINICAN::
PES TEL EOGANE OPETIONVIIII
R E P U 8 L I C
ANSE D'HA INA UL T ...............................
0 KENSCOfF Etang
Sou
MIRAGOANE atre
..........
PETIT-GOAVE O UEST ........
SUD ..............
0 TROUIN
LES A NGLA IS
................
................
ItAGUIN JACMEL MARIGOT BFUEANSE


LES CA rES COTES-DE-FER BAINET
---------- ---------- ............. ------......... ---% ......... ..
....................
....................
PORT LU
.... ......
Ile 6 Vache ::::: . .........
....... ....
..... ....
....................
.... .......
18
18 ................
------------...............
..............
CARIBBEAN SEA ...........
..........
........... I..-....74 73 72


fYgure 2..Populated Places and Political Subdivisions ofHaiti










74 73 71 70 69
ILE DE LA TORTURE 20- PORT Of P -20
AIX
ATLANTIC OCEAN
LAPHAITIEN 1,14 Via \-lp'll-To PIATA
lk4NN pt 4
oij
At 1/n 4
Oft
GONAW All 9,96 C/194 ON4t
0

cj" 4 R 4t
19- ILE DE LA GONAVE kfRD 19
f"I
1111,R11110v 74 6111011 L RA ORIENTAI,
lVIT SAIV D
LES CAYEMITES LLANURA COSTERA DEL CARIBE
PORTAUPR I
'4 SANTO DOMINGO
MA LA V.P ?/ .
MASPS31F .LASE E '4 ,ffl /
ISLA SAONIZZ>
sle
T-l
18- -18
ILE A VACHE %C,



lp"SLA BEATA
0 20 40
6-L=6..L==l CARIBBEAN SEA MILES


74 73 72 71 70 69

Figure 3. Haifi ReliefFeatures ofHispaniola





Massif du Nord, which slants southeastward from the Atlantic Ocean near Port-de-Paix across the Dominican border to become the Cordillera Central. This range forms part of the Caribbean Antillean system that extends from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands westward across Hispaniola to Cuba. Nowhere in Haiti does it reach 4,000 feet in elevation, but it is rugged and intricately dissected. Its complex geology includes sedimentary, magmatic, and plutonic rock, and limestone cliffs scar its slopes. To its west at the extremity of the island, satellite ranges extend to M6le-St.-Nicolas. To the southwest, the range called the Montagnes Noires has altitudes up to 2,000 feet and extends laterally across the country to a point where its approaches are separated by the Artibonite River (Rivi~re de l'Artibonite) from the Chaine de Mateaux, a range with a southwesterly axis that extends from the Gulf of Gonive to the frontier and into the Dominican Republic as the Sierra de Neiba.
The Chaine de Mateaux is separated by the Cul-de-Sac from a mountain system in the far south that extends the full length of the long southern peninsula of Haiti to the frontier and into the Dominican Republic as the Sierra de Bahoruco. In the west it is the Massif de la Hotte, and in the east it is the Massif de la Selle. The latter range has several peaks with elevations of over 7,000 feet, and the Morne de la Selle at 8,793 feet is the country's highest peak. Extensive pine forests on the higher slopes of this range constitute the country's principal remaining timber reserve.
Lowlands
The most important of the lowland regions of the country are the Northern Plain (Plaine du Nord), the Central Plateau, Artibonite Plain (Plaine de l'Artibonite), and the Cul-de-Sac. There are also scattered stretches of narrow coastal plain and small coastal basins, as well as pockets of level land tucked into the mountains where small groups of people practice subsistence agriculture in virtually complete isolation.
The Northern Plain, which has an area of about 150 square miles located between tho Atlantic Ocean and the Massif du Nord, extends eastward from near Cap-Haitien to the Dominican border. Its rich soils are formed in part by abrasion and in part by alluvial deposition. The heartland of the plantation economy of the French colonial era, the plain is a geographical extension of the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic.
Southward from the Massif du Nord, the Central Plateau extends eastward from the Montagnes Noires to the Dominican frontier, where it joins the San Juan Valley. Its more than 840 miles of rolling terrain make it the largest of the country's flatlands. Slightly dissected and composed of consolidated and unconsolidated sediments, the plateau has an average elevation of about 1,000 feet, and its relatively thin soils are useful principally for pasturage.
Separated from the Central Plateau by the Montagnes Noires and

10




located to the north of the Chaine de Mateaux, the funnel-shaped Artibonite Plain has an area of about 300 square miles. Drained by the Artibonite River that crosses the central part of the country after rising in the Dominican Republic, it is broadest along the coast of the Gulf of Gondve and narrows progressively to the east as the adjacent mountains encroach progressively on the river valley. The region is generally fertile, but near the coast its soils are too alkaline for intensive agriculture. In the early 1970s its rural population remained somewhat less dense than that of the Northern Plain and of the Cul-de-Sac, and there was promise of expanding its acreage of arable land through irrigation.
In the far south, the 150 square miles that make up the Cul-de-Sac lie between the Chaine de Mateaux and the Massif de la Selle. Extending eastward from Port-au-Prince to the frontier, the Cul-de-Sac becomes the Neiba Valley in the Dominican Republic. It is a downfaulted depression once filled by the waters of an ocean channel that separated the mountain ridges to the south from the mainland. Later, alluvial fans formed gradually by rivers at both ends blocked off the waters of the channel, causing them to evaporate and to leave a series of sedimentary terraces and brackish lakes.
According to the Haitian Statistical Institute, there are sixteen other plains, valleys, and basins, ranging in extent from seventeen to 115 square miles. These, together with other smaller lowland areas including those on the adjacent islands, have a total area of a little more than 300 square miles. In all, the lowlands cover about 22 percent of the country's territory.
Hydrography
More than 100 rivers and streams form an intricate tracery as they flow from their mountain headwaters into the Atlantic, into the Gulf of Gonive. which is formed between the extended arms of the northern and southern peninsulas, and into the Caribbean Sea. None of any size flows eastward into the Dominican Republic. In the highlands the flow is rapid and permanent, but the movement tends to slow and to meander as the watercourses reach the lowlands. The flow becomes subject to considerable seasonal change, and in many instances it is dissipated by evaporation before reaching tidewater. None of the rivers is navigable, but they are important for crop irrigation and for their hydroelectric power potential.
Much the largest of the streams is the Artibonite River. It is shallow, as are the other Haitian watercourses; but it is the longest, and its flow averages ten times that of any of the others. Second in length is the Trois Rivi~res, which spills into the Atlantic at the town of Port-dePaix at the gap between the Massif du Nord and the smaller ranges that cover the tip of the northern peninsula. Next is the Grande Anse, which reaches tidewater near the town of J~r~mie on the southern peninsula. The Massacre River (Rivi~re du Massacre, better known as





the Rio Dajabon) and the Pedernales River (Rivi~re Pedernales), both of which rise in the Dominican Republic, form portions of the HaitiDominican Republic border before they flow into the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, respectively.
The largest of the lakes, seventy square miles, is the brackish Lake SaumAtre (Etang Saumnitre), which is located in the Cul-de-Sac close to the frontier and is the habitat of many exotic species of tropical wildlife. There are also several smaller natural lakes and a reservoir known as Lake P61igre (Lac de P61igre), formed by the damming of the upper Artibonite River at the point of convergence between the Montagnes Noires and the Chaine de Mateaux. Initiated in the 1930s as a flood control project, the project also involves irrigation and hydroelectric schemes that have progressed slowly. Completion of the dam in 1956 resulted in the creation of a massive artificial lake and made possible some control over the flow of the Artibonite River, which had previously changed seasonally from a raging torrent to an uncertain trickle. Work on the entire project continued on an off-and-on basis after 1956, and the hydroelectric operation was finally inaugurated early in 1971.
Coastal Waters and Islands
Much of the Haitian coastline is rimmed by an underwater sedimentary platform that extends around the island of Hispaniola. There are many protected anchorages, but waters close to the shoreline tend to be shallow. These depths range from about four feet at Port-de-Paix on the Atlantic coast to ten feet or more at Les Cayes on the Caribbean coast and Gonaives on the Gulf of GonAve. The platform is widest at Port-au-Prince--the country's principal port-where it spreads across most of the adjacent bay as far as Gon~ve Island (Ile de la Gonive). The platform extends continuously along the Atlantic coast where, off the port towns of Cap-Haitien and Port-de-Paix, there are also coral reefs. A reef adjacent to Cap-Haitien is believed to hold the remains of the flagship of Columbus, the Santa Maria.
The Haitian government classifies six places as maritime ports, four places as secondary maritime ports, and an additional sixteen as ports for coastal traffic. About half are located on the Gulf of Gon~ve, and the remainder are distributed equally between the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts. They tend to be shallow, however, and port improvements, including dredging, might be of considerable importance to the transportation system in a country where internal transportation is notably deficient (see ch. 8).
The largest of the islands is Gondve, located in a gulf of the same name off Port-au-Prince. Its area of approximately eighty square miles is made up of rugged terrain, and its highest point, Morne la Pierre, rises to more than 2,500 feet. Second in size is Tortue Island (le de la Tortue), better known by its Spanish name of Tortuga. Having an area of seventy square miles, it lies in the Atlantic Ocean off Port-de-Paix.

12




It was a major pirate stronghold during the colonial era.
Among the remaining islands, the largest are Vache Island (Ile ;k Vache) located off the town of Les Cayes in the Caribbean, and the Cayemites (Les Cayemites) in the Gulf of GonAve west of the town of J6r6mie. Both are surrounded by dangerous coral reefs. In 1972 all of these islands were inhabited, but only Tortue Island was of particular economic importance. A large part of it was being developed as a multimillion-dollar tourist resort complex and free port.
Climate
Prevailing temperatures vary with elevation, and sea breezes temper the tropical heat in sea-level localities near the coast. The annual average temperature of about 81'F in the lowlands drops to 76'F in the elevated interior. In some intermontane basins, however, protecting mountain walls coupled with the direct heating effects of the sun produce what are sometimes the country's highest temperatures. Nowhere is the mean annual temperature range greater than 10'F. Within the limits of this range, the highest temperatures are recorded from June through September and the lowest in February through April.
Port-au-Prince, at the western terminus of the Cul-de-Sac, is sheltered both to the north and to the south by mountain walls; the result is that average temperatures are among the highest recorded in cities of the Antilles. Temperatures in the mountain vacation resort of Kenscoff, some fifteen miles from Port-au-Prince, may be 15'F cooler than in the capital city. Eastward in the mountain-girded Cul-de-Sac, however, there is a hothouse climate with little air movement and stifling humidity exceeding that of Port-au-Prince.
Rainfall is produced primarily by the moist north and east trade winds slanting across the mountainous eastern part of Hispaniola. As a consequence, most of the country lies in a rain shadow that makes it drier than the Dominican Republic. For the most part, highlands receive more precipitation than plains, and the north- and east-facing slopes receive generous precipitation. The heaviest rainfall tends to occur in the north of the country, but local variations are such that the annual total varies from twenty inches to more than 100 inches.
The seasonal incidence of rain varies by locality. Near the north coast there is more rain in winter than in summer, but farther south the winter is a relatively dry season, and Port-au-Prince has its heaviest rains in two seasons-April through June, and August through November. In the capital city, rain occurs most frequently at dusk and during the night, and even in the rainy months the days tend to be clear and sunny.
Thunderstorms account for much of the country's summer precipitation, and hurricanes contribute considerable but irregular amounts of rainfall during the summer and fall. Haiti lies in the hurricane belt but is less exposed than the Dominican Republic, and the two paths of

13





maximum hurricane frequency pass to the north and to the south of Hispaniola. The surrounding mountains leave Port-au-Prince relatively free of hurricane effects, but in 1963 the eye of hurricane Flora passed over Haiti, causing heavy rains and widespread damage.
Particularly in the southern part of the country, a high rate of solar evaporation occurs when temperatures exceeding 80OF result in arid or semiarid conditions in many localities that have moderate amounts of rainfall. As a consequence, much of the Cul-de-Sac and much of the Artibonite Plain support only natural desert growth, and irrigation is needed for farming.
Vegetation and Wildlife
In few countries of the world has the destruction of the natural woodland cover been so nearly complete. In the mountain areas there is still the occasional stand of mahogany, lignum vitae, pine, or other commercially valuable woods. Where forests remain, Caribbean pine tends to be the principal tree species, along with various hardwoods. Only in the higher levels of the Massif de la Selle in the south, however, is there a situation in which the pine forest and its undergrowth constitute the prevailing mountain cover.
Aside from pine forests of the south, little of the Haitian countryside remains where the forest has not been cut over. Remaining scatterings of the original cover include rosewood and sapin, such fruit trees as avocado, orange, lime, and cherry. In some places, there are still giant tree ferns, and the native forest includes some twenty species of trees and plants useful for nutritional or medical purposes. Mangroves fringe the Gulf of Gonive and the north coast to the east of Cap-Haitien, and guava thickets everywhere figure prominently among the secondgrowth species.
The natural vegetation closely reflects conditions of climate. Wetter areas were originally covered with dense rain forest, but drier slopes supported only scrub woodland. In the southern lowlands, the moderate rainfall and high atmospheric humidity are insufficient to counter the effects of a high rate of evaporation. The soils of the Cul-de-Sac support only a scrub woodland natural cover, and for the most part the naturally rich soils can fully be exploited only under irrigation.
The Northern Plain supports scattered patches of desert-type growth and wide stretches where trees grow only along the margins of watercourses between which lie stretches of open grassland. A similar pattern obtains in the northwestern part of the Central Plateau where the grassland is dotted with scattered semideciduous trees and conifers; toward the southeast, there is scrub woodland and cacti. In the Artibonite Plain thorny scrub woodland near the coast gives way to grassland savanna and mixed woodland toward the east.
The island of Hispaniola has no indigenous land mammals other than rodents. There are, however, several species of reptiles, including

14




three varieties of crocodile, the rhino-horned iguana, many small lizards, and several species of nonpoisonous snakes. There are many insects, arachnids such as spiders and scorpions, and centipedes. All of these are poisonous, but their stings are rarely fatal. Among the forms of birdlike are parrots, four kinds of wild pigeon, guinea hens, ducks, and weaverbirds. Egrets and flamingos are found in the brackish lakes of the Cul-de-Sac.
Minerals
The country's known mineral wealth is limited both in scope and extent, and the degree to which man has traversed all parts of Haiti leaves little hope that there is much mineral wealth yet undiscovered. Bauxite, the most important, has been mined since 1957 from a locality at about the midpoint in the southern peninsula. Copper oresedimentary and in veins-has been mined from the Massif du Nord since the early 1960s. The ores have yielded some gold and silver. Some copper is known to exist in the vicinity of Cap-Haitien, and copper explorations have been carried out in the Terre-Neuve district of the Artibonite Department. In various parts of the country moderate quantities of limestone, sand, gravel, clay, building stone, and salt are intermittently produced for local consumption.
There are undeveloped manganese deposits in the Morne Macaque region of the Massif du Norde, and lignite deposits are extensive in the Central Plateau. Other minerals known or believed to exist in some quantity include iron, antimony, lead, zinc, nickel, coal, sulfur, marble, porphyry, and gypsum. Unsuccessful petroleum drillings have been undertaken in the Central Plateau, the Cul-de-Sac, and off Gonive Island. In general, mineral resources appear far scantier in Haiti than in the Dominican portion of Hispaniola.
SETTLEMENT PATTERNS
The prevailing settlement pattern is one in which every acre of usable land is used; there are no frontier lands awaiting the machetes and plows of adventurous frontiersmen, and in the early 1970s the acreage not already under cultivation was left idle, not because of its remoteness from markets, but because it did not appear to be worth cultivating. The population density averaged nearly 500 per square mile, as compared with less than thirty-six per square mile for the Latin American region as a whole. Farms were estimated to average no more than 2.5 acres in size, and many comprised less than one acre. Significantly, the myriad little plots from which the operators battled for subsistence living were referred to not as farms but as "gardens".
A few large plantations remained, primarily in the northern plains and in the Cul-de-Sac, but the characteristic pattern was one of small holdings. By department-the principal political subdivision-the heaviest concentration was in the Cul-de-Sac in the Department of the

15




West. Next in order were the Department of the North, the Department of the South, the Department of the Artibonite, and the Department of the Northwest.
The pattern was one of rural villages strung out along a road, nuclear villages clustered haphazardly in a mountain basin or on a coastal indentation, or of isolated farms located wherever a patch of tillable soil could be found. This pattern had evolved after the destruction of the French plantation economy that had supplied half of Europe with sugar and cocoa, as well as with cotton, indigo, and coffee. The revolution that expelled the French colonials destroyed both the symbols and the substance of their rule. Manor houses and cane fields were put to the torch; the highways and irrigation systems were sabotaged and fell gradually into disuse.
A different and simpler kind of life emerged in an atmosphere where agriculture was pursued on a basis of subsistence rather than for largescale commerce. Land resources diminished rather than increased, and in the early 1970s no more than 10 percent of the cultivated lands were in plantations. The rural population clusters characteristic of the plantations had been replaced by the patchwork gardens of the subsistence farmers.
The little farms were established first on the easily accessible lowlands where the plantations had been located. Later, the subsistence farmers moved progressively higher into the uplands -wherever land capable of producing food crops could be found. The villages that developed were relatively few. Central market towns were fewer still, and few roads were constructed to bring produce to central markets and to ports. Trade was too limited to encourage urban growth. Towns were not needed as population nuclei for defense purposes, and the voodoo priests who provided religious and civic leadership had no need of any regional central organization of their own.
With the passage of time, the already small farms were subdivided because of inheritance, and by the time of the 1950 census some 23 percent of the farm holdings consisted of multiple parcels of land located at some distance from the farmer's residence. This circumstance entailed spending some time in travel to and from the fields, but the possession of noncontiguous plots of land sometimes had the advantage of making it possible to produce different crops at different times of the year.
The movement of people during the twentieth century has taken the form of unplanned expansion, which has reached in every available direction in order to fill up the remaining empty places. A discernible, change in the rural settlement pattern has evolved only to the extent that during the late 1930s several agricultural colonies near the frontier were established for the benefit of returned illegal emigrants to the Dominican Republic.
Throughout the nineteenth century, and during much of the twen16




tieth century, there was very little urbanization. The colonial capital of Cap-Haitien stagnated, while Port-au-Prince grew moderately. In general, however, the breakdown of the colonial system had been accompanied by a disintegration of the beginnings of urban life in the interior. Coastal fishing communities survived better, and in the early 1970s all Haitian urban localities with populations in excess of 10,000 were located at tidewater. Even at the few internal crossroads, market or communications centers of importance had not developed.
POPULATION STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS
Preliminary results of a census conducted in 1971 showed the population of the country to have been 4,243,926. The figure, however, was so much lower than had been anticipated that a considerable underenumeration appeared to have occurred. Population estimates previously released by the government for 1969 and 1970 had been 4,768,010 and 4,876,200 respectively, and an increase to 5,399,400 by 1975 had been projected. Other estimates for 1970 had ranged as high as 5.5 million, and the consensus was a little over 5 million.
Censuses have been few. A largely forgotten survey taken during 1918 and 1919 indicated that there were about 1.9 million people in the country, and the first formal census-taken in 1950-showed the population to have reached 3,097,000. The 1950 census, however, suffered from a variety of deficiencies, some of which may also have affected the 1971 tabulation. The participating officials lacked training and experience, and many of the persons enumerated lacked fixed places of residence. Women, in particular, tended to disguise their ages in the belief that certain ages were luckier than others, and some men were believed to have avoided enumeration in order to escape military service. Perhaps more important, there was a general suspicion of visiting strangers asking questions. The total number reported in 1950 was later calculated by United Nations demographers to have represented an underenumeration of 8.3 percent; other estimates of the magnitude of the shortfall reached as high as 30 percent.
Before the preliminary results of the 1971 census were announced, demographers of the Haitian government, the United Nations, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) had estimated the rate of population growth during the 1960s to have averaged about 2 percent annually, considerably lower than the 2.9 percent average for all Latin American countries. The actual census figures for 1950 and 1971 indicated a population increase during the twenty-one intercensal years of 1,146,000 or about 37 percent of the 1950 total, and an annual average of substantially less than the previously estimated 2 percent. A mid1972 publication of the Haitian government, however, estimated the growth rate during 1972 as 2.5 percent. The various data available are speculative to a degree that limits their usefulness, but they lead to the general conclusion that population growth during the 1960s and

17





early 1970s was at a moderate but probably increasing rate.
Between the 1950-55 and 1963-70 periods the birth rate was estimated by the United Nations to have declined from 45.5 to 43.9 per 1,000, and death rates from 25.5 to 19.7 per 1,000. Between the two periods cited, life expectancy at birth was estimated to have risen from 32.6 to 43.9 years. The United Nations life expectancy data did not differentiate between the sexes, but other estimates indicated an expected lifespan of 39.4 years in 1950. A lifespan of 38.7 years was estimated for males and 40.1 years for females; the lifespan was estimated to increase to forty-seven or forty-nine years during the early 1970s.
Infant mortality was estimated to have been as high as 190 per 1,000 babies in the late 1960s, and the limited data available indicated that it might have shown a slight rise during the decade. This proportion was at least double the average for Latin America and, as a consequence, the country's fertility ratio was relatively low. This ratio (the number of children under the age of five years per 1,000 women between the childbearing ages of fifteen and forty-nine) was an estimated 732 in 1970-about the average for Latin America. Given the very high Haitian birth rate, the country's fertility ratio would have been correspondingly high had it not been for the high toll of infant mortality.
Both the 1950 census and 1970 estimates by the ILO show the median age of the population to have been about nineteen years, the age of females averaging slightly higher than that of males. Age data collected in the 1950 census suffered badly from technical deficiencies and from fears and prejudices of the people counted, and therefore do not point to reliable conclusions. A 1970 United Nations estimate shows males in a small majority through the age of twenty-nine years, and females in a majority in subsequent age groups. A 1970 ILO estimate shows males in a small majority in all age groups from birth through the age group of forty-five through fifty-four years and females in a majority in all older groupings. Both series, in showing males substantially outnumbering females through the age of twenty-nine, suggest a fairly high rate of maternal mortality.
The preliminary 1971 census report showed the urban population to have represented 19.4 percent of the total as compared with the 12.2 percent counted in 1950. The populations of cities and towns grew much faster than those in rural localities during the twenty-one-year period, but in 1971 the proportion living in the countryside remained among the highest in Latin America. Moreover, the proportion overlooked by the census takers was presumably much higher in the rural than in the urban sector. In addition, the census definition that categorizes all administrative centers of communes as urban localities is a generous one that includes some very small population clusters with predominantly rural characteristics. The preliminary 1971 census data did not include detailed tabulations, but in 1950 the smallest locality classified as urban had a population of seventy-two, and only 8 percent

18




lived in places with populations in excess of 2,500.
For the most part, the growth of Port-au-Prince and the few other major urban centers was relatively faster than that of other urban localities. According to one series of estimates, between 1960 and 1970 the overall population growth rate of 2 percent annually was made up of a 5.2 percent rate for the capital city; 3.8 percent for all urban localities; 2.7 percent for urban places other than Port-au-Prince; and 1.6 percent for rural Haiti.
The effect of this movement was to cause a relative increase in the size of the larger centers. The 1950 census had counted Port-au-Prince as having a population of 134,117. Cap-Haitien, which had a population of 24,617, was the only other city with more than 20,000. One source estimated that in the early 1970s the population of Port-au-Prince had reached 500,000-including the satellite towns of P6tionville and Carrefour, which had been counted separately in 1950. Cap-Haitien was estimated to have reached 50,000, and Gonalves, to have reached 29,000. The towns of Les Cayes, Rr6mie, and Saint-Marc were estimated to be next in size, with populations of between 10,000 and 20,000.
The 12.2 percent proportion of the national population defined as urban in the 1950 census was refined to show that females outnumbered males. In 1972 no more recent data or estimates were available, but there was no reason to believe that the proportions had changed. Essentially, there were relatively few jobs available for girls and young women in the countryside, and there was a relative abundance available in untrained domestic and other service activities for young females migrating from town to town.
The urbanization that has been characteristic of Latin American countries during the years since World War II has tended to consist of a push-pull process. The push provided by rural overpopulation and the lack of amenities in rural life is coupled with the pull that consists of the promise of better jobs and better lives in urban places, the latter often underlined by glowing letters received from relatives or friends who have migrated earlier. The hopes of migrants are seldom fully realized, but in most countries the people who have migrated do, in fact, find their new urban lives superior in quality to the old rural existences that they have abandoned.
This has not been entirely true in Haiti. Migration from country to town has been predominantly a push movement that has not been accompanied by a strong urban lure. Urban Haiti in 1972 had yet to develop an industrial base sufficient to make jobs available to the migrants from the countryside, and the limited information available does not indicate that the urban migrants have found their lives improved by the change.
Movement between rural places has been insignificant. For example, the 1950 census showed that in the Department of the North some 92 percent of the population outside of the department's one large urban

19





center of Cap-Haitien resided in the commune in which they had been born. In addition to the fact that there is no remaining rural frontier offering new lands, countryfolk continue to be strongly influenced by the local voodoo pantheon. A departure from the place of birth may be resented by these spirits.
The irregularity of land tenure also plays a part in discouraging mobility. No comprehensive cadastral survey has ever been executed, and those country people who hold deeds to their farms seldom have legal means for establishing the boundaries of their properties. These are occupied largely on the basis of general recognition by neighbors of property claims. Titles cannot readily be transferred, and they can best be confirmed by continuous occupancy.
External migration appears to have been large enough to have had some effect on the population level. Immigration since World War II has been negligible, but emigration may have resulted in a net population loss through external migration of as many as 20,000 people annually during the 1960s.
Historically, the principal outflow has followed the bottoms of the east-west valleys leading into the Dominican Republic. Haiti's smaller territory, larger population, and lower standard of living have resulted in a continuing flow of jobseekers across the border. For the most part they have migrated seasonally in order to serve as field hands in the sugar harvest, but an undetermined number have remained. In 1968 Dominican immigration authorities were quoted as reporting that fewer than 25,000 Haitians had received alien registration documents, but that as many as 200,000 were living in the country. Although the actual number is a matter for conjecture, the presence of cheap Haitian labor in the Dominican Republic has been a cause for continuing friction between the two countries, and in December of 1971 the Dominican State Sugar Council announced that it would no longer employ Haitian workers in the sugar harvest.
Many Haitians have emigrated by legal or other means to the United States, a considerable number reportedly having entered informally through Puerto Rico. Estimates of the number during the early 1970s ranged from 80,000 to 200,000, most of them apparently living in New York City.
Between 1915 and 1930 as many as 300,000 may have migrated to Cuba. During the onset of the world depression in the 1930s most of this number returned to Haiti, but a 1953 Cuban census counted nearly 28,000 remaining in that country. In addition, in the early 1970s as many as 50,000 were estimated to be residing in the Bahamas, and a sizable Haitian colony was reported in Venezuela.
The substantial emigration has been useful in the sense that it has had a moderating effect on population growth in the already crowded country. Qualitatively, however, it has resulted in a relatively heavy loss of professional and skilled personnel. According to a report by the

20




Organization of American States, between 1959 and 1967 an average of 288 professional and skilled workers emigrated each year. Of these, a little more than one-third was reported to have had a university education, the second-highest proportion among emigrants from seventeen Latin American countries surveyed.
POPULATION PROBLEMS
Many Latin American countries during the early 1970s faced potential or emerging problems of overpopulation, but in Haiti the problem had already materialized. Its 2 percent annual population growth rate during the 1960s was very moderate by Latin American standards, and the twenty-nine years estimated in 1969 as required for doubling of the population was considerably longer than the Latin American average. Its birth rate was not among the highest, and despite remarkable gains in longevity during recent years, the death rate remained among the highest in the hemisphere. The rural population density of some 350 persons per square mile in 1970 was the highest among the independent countries in the hemisphere, however, and had reached the qualitative and quantitative limits that were viable in terms of the available amount of arable land.
To meet the problem entailed by these circumstances, a small private Family Planning Association was formed in 1962 but ceased activities in 1964 when the Haitian government installed a department for family planning in what was then the Ministry for Social Affairs. The president of the country in 1968 requested technical assistance in family planning as well as in other health matters from the Pan American Health Organization. During the same year, a new private planning body was formed, which received assistance from the Western Hemisphere office of the Planned Parenthood Federation, even though it did not become a formal participant in that organization's activities.
External assistance for the public and private programs has come from several sources. Among these have been the Pathfinder Fund, the Church World Service, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Mennonite Central Committee, and World Neighbors. In general, family planning was being presented less as an independent program than as a part of larger programs for advancement of family welfare. For the most part, it had been made available only in urban localities, and its potential effectiveness depended largely on an increase in the general level of education.
LABOR FORCE
The labor force in 1970 was estimated by the ILO to consist of 2,780,000 workers, or 53 percent of the total population. An increase to 3,468,000 by 1980 was projected. The only statistics available in 1972 came from the 1950 census, which counted 1,747,000 workers, or 56.7

21





percent of the total. Adjusted data prepared by the ILO for the same year showed a figure of 1,942,000, or 57.4 percent. All these rates were far higher than the Latin American average, estimated by the ILO to have been about 31 percent in 1970. Other ILO estimates show that in 1960 82.75 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture and related activities, 6.75 percent in industry, and 10.5 percent in personal and other services.
The elevated rate of participation in the labor force was primarily a reflection of remarkably heavy participation by females who, according to the 1960 ILO estimates, made up nearly 46 percent of the total, as compared with slightly under 20 percent for Latin America as a whole. Girls and women made up 44 percent of the number engaged in agriculture and related activities, 44 percent of those in industry, and nearly 60 percent of those in personal and other services. This heavy female participation is explained at least in part by the traditional role of the Haitian woman as a worker as well as a housewife. This derives from the origin of the people in Africa, where women shared work equally with their men, and from a harsh early history where the loss of many men in combat made it necessary for women to work the fields. In addition, in primarily agricultural Haiti where much of the soil is barren and badly eroded, a very high input of manpower is required. Moreover, it is traditionally the farm wife who-in addition to working in the fields-performs the task of selling the produce that is brought to market. Both husband and wife may be considered underemployed, but both contribute their labor to support of the family.
Estimates by the ILO indicate that the participation rates for the population as a whole remained at a near maximum between the ages of twenty and sixty-four. By five-year age groups the specific rates ranged from 86 to 89 percent of the total population. Participation varied between 93 and 98 percent for men, and between 78 and 81 percent for women. Among those over sixty-f ive years of age, participation of males dropped to about 81 percent and female participation declined more sharply to 55 percent. Between the ages of fifteen and nineteen, however, participation was almost equal for the two sexes; nearly 74 percent of the females and slightly more than 75 percent of the males were economically active. It was in this age grouping that the largest number of young women migrated from country to town to take jobs as domestic servants or in other untrained service occupations. Between the ages of ten and fourteen some 231,000, or a little less than 38 percent, were economically active; boys slightly outnumbered girls. No employment of children under the age of ten was reported.
According to the 1950 census, some 44 percent of the labor force were employers and self-employed persons. Twelve percent were wage and salary earners; 41 percent, unpaid family workers; and 3 percent not identified by category of employment. Males outnumbered females by nearly two-to-one among employers and self-employed, and by three22





to-two among wage and salary earners. Among family workers, however, females were in a slightly greater than two-to-one majority. By sector of employment, nearly all of the unpaid family workers were engaged in agriculture and related activities. Among wage and salary earners the largest numbers were in agriculture and in services. Among the employers and self-employed a large majority were engaged in agriculture, and most of the remainder were in manufacturing and in commerce.
More recent data were not available in 1972, but it appeared likely that the proportions had changed only to the extent that urban migration might have brought about some decline in the number of unpaid family workers. The figure of 213,000 wage and salary earners reported for 1950 may, however, have been excessive. In the early 1970s estimates with respect to the number of persons earning wages and salaries ranged downward from 200,000 to as few as 80,000.
The information available in 1972 suggested that few members of the labor force had acquired any skills other than the father-to-son communication of traditional ways to farm the land and, correspondingly, traditional ways of creating artisan products. In the educational system, few secondary students were enrolled in vocational courses, and-at the university level-most of the students chose to specialize in medicine and law rather than in disciplines providing skills of immediate value to the economy (see ch. 6). In the absence of specialized training, the Haitian feels little incentive to familiarize himself with workaday technology, and an old creole maxim holds that if work were a good thing, the rich would long ago have taken to it.
The 1950 census indicated that about 1 percent of the entire labor force was engaged in the professional, technical, executive, administrative, and clerical activities that in a more developed society could have been expected to absorb a larger proportion of the working population. In 1970 the National Development and Planning Council estimated that there was one trained agricultural technician for each .5,000 rural inhabitants, and public administrators of the program for development of the P61igre dam system on the Artibonite River felt it necessary to establish a special schedule for training of the engineers and other professional and technical personnel that might be required for the maintenance and functioning of the hydroelectric and irrigation aspects of the project.
No fully satisfactory data on the extent of unemployment have been developed. The 1950 census found it to represent only 2.4 percent of the labor force, but a survey of working-class families in Cap-Haitien during the late 1950s revealed that more than one-third of the people over the age of fifteen who were surveyed considered themselves unemployed on the date of the canvass. In 1972 an entity of the Haitian government noted that Port-au-Prince was still a preindustrial city and that, as a consequence, the city's economy lacked the capacity to

23




absorb its heavy burden of unemployed labor.
The level of underemployment is also a matter for conjecture. According to one estimate, however, during the early 1970s it was rated at 50 to 60 percent of the labor force in the countryside and at 30 to 40 percent in Port-au-Prince. In general, the country's economy was still insufficiently developed for it effectively to utilize the services of its labor force.









































24










CHAPTER

HISTORICAL SETTING
Haitian society reflects, for the most part, the historic impact of French colonization in the eighteenth century and the importation of slaves from Africa. There are virtually no traces of Spanish culture or of the culture of the Taino (Arawak) Indians. The official language is French, and the language spoken throughout the country is Creole, a dialect based on French. French influence is apparent in the educational system, and the elite mulattoes-descendants of black and French progenitors -tradit finally regard Paris as the world's cultural capital. The agricultural economy is based mainly on small plots carved out of the French plantations that flourished in the eighteenth century. The transition from a prosperous plantation economy to a nation of peasants, proud of their landownership, began early in the nineteenth century, when rulers of the newly independent country cut up large estates and parceled the land out to people who had recently freed themselves from slavery.
West African influences are apparent in the religion of the majority of the people who, despite nominal adherence to Roman Catholicism, believe in voodooism, the Haitian version of West African religious beliefs. Throughout the countryside the voodoo priests are community leaders who exercise significant power over the people.
Haiti was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 when, in the course of his first voyage in search of a route to Asia, he landed on the northern shore of the island, which he named La Isla Espafiola, later known as Hispaniola. This island became the first permanent European colony in the Americas (Santo Domingo). The western part of the colony of Santo Domingo was to become a French colony (SaintDomingue), which in 1804 became the Republic of Haiti, while the eastern part eventually became the Dominican Republic.
Unions of French and blacks in colonial times produced a, mulatto element that became an elite class. Throughout the history of the republic the rivalryof mulattoes and blacks has resulted in struggles for power and prestige involving assassinations, insurrections, and civil wars. Interest in Haiti's strategic position on the Windward Passage has brought foreign warships into Haitian waters. The United States concern for the territorial integrity of Haiti during World War I and its desire to protect investments in a country that was in a state of chaos triggered the military occupation that lasted from 1915

25





to 1934. The occupation forces brought many benefits to the people in the form of public works, health programs, and public utilities, but after the departure of the United States forces these were allowed to deteriorate.
During the early years of the republic, powerful leaders undertook to direct economic and political life along definite lines, but it soon became obvious that planned social structures would not remain intact. Subsequent developments in the political and economic life of the country were largely unplanned, and in the twentieth century standards of living, compared with those of many other countries, were low.
Turbulence has played a prominent role in the history of Haiti, beginning with the annihilation of the Tainos by the Spaniards and the establishment of the first permanent settlement by French and English pirates. The slave rebellion that drove out the French at the end of the eighteenth century, invasions of the Dominican Republic, revolutions supported by mercenary Haitian guerrillas, and rulers who have exercised dictatorial powers ruthlessly-all have contributed to instability and uncertainty in the lives of the people. After the rise to power of Rafael Le6nidas Trujillo Molina in 1957, the peasant continued to cling to his small plot of land; the mulatto elite maintained its prestigious position; and black leaders remained politically powerful.
DISCOVERY AND CONQUEST
It was in Hispaniola that Columbus conceived a colonial policy for Spain that left a lasting imprint on the life in the New World. Finding friendly Taino Indians who wore golden ornaments, Columbus predicted that Europeans would gain "profitable things without number," and he speculated on the great opportunity for spreading Christianity that would result from his discovery.
After founding the town and fortress of Navidad on the northern coast, Columbus returned to Spain, leaving about forty men with instructions to avoid trouble with the Indians, to seek gold, and to explore the island. After an enthusiastic reception in Spain, Columbus sailed with seventeen ships; 1,500 settlers; soldiers and missionaries; and supplies of agricultural implements, cattle, and seeds. He found Navidad deserted. The settlers, who had treated the Indians ruthlessly, had been killed.
Columbus then founded Isabela on the northern coast of what is now the Dominican Republic. The settlers suffered from disease and fought off attacks by Indians, thousands of whom were killed. In an effort to build a handsome city, Columbus ordered his followers to perform manual labor-a command deeply resented by men who considered themselves gentlemen. These malcontents plotted against Columbus and denounced him to the authorities in Spain. The Spaniards' cruel treatment of the Indians generated revolts that were mercilessly

26




crushed, and many Indians fled to the mountains.
Isabela, where Columbus' brother Bartolom6 was serving as Columbus' deputy, was in a virtual state of anarchy, and the prospects for the colony were gloomy. In June 1496 Columbus, intent on defending himself against his detractors, returned to Spain, where he waited two years before obtaining ships for a third voyage.
When Columbus arrived at the town of Santo Domingo, a new settlement founded by his brother, many Spaniards in the northern part of the island were openly revolting against Bartolom6. In an effort to mollify the rebellious colonists, Columbus established a system of exploitation that was to become a basis for social institutions throughout the Spanish colonies in America. This was the scheme of repartimientos, under which a settler was granted a large tract of land, along with the Indians who lived on it, to exploit as he pleased. In order to rid themselves of a gold tribute that the Spaniards had been demanding, the Indian chieftains turned their subjects over to the colonists.
News of dissension among the colonists, however, had prompted the Spanish king and queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, to name Francisco Bobadillo chief justice to investigate conditions in the colony. On his arrival at Santo Domingo in August 1500 he found a number of colonists, who had revolted against Columbus, swinging from the gallows and several others about to be hanged. Bobadillo ordered the arrest of Columbus and his brother Bartolom6 and sent them to Spain in chains.
Columbus was released six weeks after his arrival in Spain and was received by Ferdinand and Isabella; but, without consulting Columbus, the monarchs sent Nicola's de Ovando to Hispaniola as governor. Ovando imported the first blacks into Hispaniola, fought Indians who had managed to maintain their independence, and built up the city of Santo Domingo. Columbus, however, persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella to furnish ships for a fourth voyage, in the course of which he coasted the shores of Central America, was wrecked on the island of Jamaica, and was rescued by Ovando. The man who, in the words of Hubert Herring, had made the Caribbean Sea "a Spanish lake" returned to Spain and died in 1506.
The repartimiento system failed to improve the lot of the Indians, and in 1503 the Spanish crown instituted the encomienda system, under which all the land theoretically became the property of the crown, but the colonist to whom land was granted was entitled to certain days of labor from his Indian tenants. He was obliged to look after their physical well-being, to instruct them in Christianity, and to pay a tribute to the crown. Although the enconiienda did not involve actual possession of the land, grantees were able in one way or another to become owners of the tracts assigned to them and to reduce the Indians to a state of virtual slavery.
Although it was to persist for many years in the Spanish colonies on the mainland and was not outlawed until the end of the eighteenth

27





century, the encornienda system in Hispaniola did not last long. By the middle of the sixteenth century the Taino population, estimated at about 1 million in 1492, had been reduced to about 500. The need for a new labor force led to the importation of increasing numbers of Negro slaves, principally for the cultivation of sugarcane, and by 1520 Negro labor was used almost exclusively in Hispaniola.
Throughout the island each landowner exercised virtually complete authority over his estate, and there was little contact between the hinterland and Santo Domingo, the capital city. Santo Domingo was principally concerned with its relations with Spain, which furnished supplies, administrators, and settlers for the colonies, and with the continent, which provided treasure for the crown. It was a way station for traffic between Spain and continental America, and a jumping-off point from which the Spaniards explored the New World.
In 1509 Columbus' son, Diego, was appointed governor of the colony. With a view to curbing the power of the governor, the crown in 1511 established a new political institution called the audien cia-a tribunal consisting originally of three judges with jurisdiction over all the West Indian Islands, where it became the highest court of appeals. During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries audiencias, established in many parts of the Spanish Empire, became the continuing core of royal authority; but the failure of some to carry out administrative and disciplinary duties assigned to them led to the appointment of viceroys, who personified the power and the prestige of the king. In 1535 Hispaniola became part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, which included Central America and much of North America.
After the conquest of Mexico by Hern~n Cort6s in 1521 and the discovery in Mexico and Peru of great wealth in gold and silver, the prestige of Santo Domingo began to decline. Alluvial deposits of gold were depleted, and the Indian labor force was dying off. Large numbers of colonists left for Mexico and Peru, and the population of Hispaniola declined sharply. Agriculture was neglected, and Spain became preoccupied with the larger and richer colonies on the mainland. According to the Haitian historian, J.-C. Dorsainvil, the population of the colony in 1545 amounted to no more than 1,100 persons.

SAINT-DOMINGUE
The Spaniards neglected Hispaniola, but French and English pirates, intent on attacking Spanish shipping, established a base on Tortue Island (Ile de la Tortue), better known as Tortuga, in or around 1625. In 1641 they founded Port Margot on the western end of Hispaniola and before long had gained a foothold in the surrounding territory. The French then drove out the English and, along with piratical operations, occupied themselves with hunting wild cattle and hogs and with farming. The settlement prospered in spite of Spanish efforts to destroy it, and in 1664 Louis XIV, king of France, placed the territory

28




under the control of the French West India Company and appointed a former pirate, Bertrand d'Ogeron, as governor.
To build up the country the governor encouraged agriculture and brought young women from France to marry the men. Among a number of small towns founded in western Hispaniola, called SaintDomingue by the French, was Cap Fran~ais (now Cap-Haitien), laid out in 1670. In 1697, under the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain ceded SaintDomingue to France; and a governor general, who served as the principal royal authority, and an intendant, the chief judicial and financial officer, established their authority over the inhabitants.
The population of Saint-Domingue at the end of the seventeenth century included about 6,000 adult white and mulatto males and approximately 50,000 black slaves. Although mulattoes were, strictly speaking, the first generation offspring of Negroes and whites, the term was applied to their descendants. By 1775 the slave population was estimated at approximately 250,000; and the resident white population, at more than 3O,0O00. Under a decree issued by Louis XIV in 1685, certain mulattoes (gens de con leur) achieved their freedom and French citizenship; and at the end of the eighteenth century these mulattoes, also known as freemen (aff ranch is), numbered about 28,000.
During the eighteenth century Saint-Domingue became one of the richest colonies in the French Empire. The colonists raised sugar, coffee, cacao, cotton and indigo-products that were exported to France and eventually to the United States. Roads were built; handsome houses were constructed; and irrigation was developed. The planters lived in luxury, and many spent much of their time in Paris. Many freemen acquired great wealth and aroused the jealousy of the petits blancs, the whites who had failed to become grands blancswhites who held high office, owned large plantations, or were wealthy merchants.
In the last quarter of the eighteenth century freemen owned plantations in all parts of the colony, and one fertile parish in the south (J~r~mie) was almost entirely in their hands. They owned large numbers of slaves, sent their children to France for their education, and in many cases were accepted in the society of the grands blancs.Eventually the rising tide of color prejudice influenced grands blancs, and discriminatory laws were passed by the colonial authorities prohibiting most freemen from carrying firearms and imposing other yestrictions. The freeman was not allowed to hold any office superior to those held by a 'white person and was barred from certain occupations. He was required to wear clothing different from that worn by white people and was segregated when he attended church or the theater.
When news of the French Revolution (1789) reached Saint-Domingue, the freemen hoped to win back their rights as French citizens. The whites, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to gain independence for the colony under white rule. Early in 1791 a young mulatto, Vincent

29





Og6, encouraged by members of an organization in France called the Friends of the Blacks (Les Amis des Noirs), led a demonstration against the colonial governor and was put to death. Before long, the colony was torn with riots involving all groups. Slaves deserted their masters and organized bands that burned and pillaged throughout the colony. The insurrection that started in August 1791 resulted in the massacre of every white man, woman, and child on whom the slaves could lay their hands. All whites who escaped this fate fled the colony.
One of the leaders of the slave rebellion was Toussaint Louverture, an exslave whose French master had allowed him leisure for selfeducation and for the acquisition of a private fortune. He had considerable knowledge of military tactics and possessed significant qualities of leadership and political acumen. In the course of the slave rebellion Toussaint crossed the border from Saint-Domingue into Santo Domingo and joined Spanish troops in their battles with French forcesa consequence of the French revolutionary wars in Europe. He rose to high command in the Spanish forces; when France announced the emancipation of slaves in Saint-Domingue in 1798, however, he returned to that colony and joined the French units fighting British and Spanish forces, which had attacked Saint-Domingue by land and by sea. With the support of Negro forces led by Toussaint, the French drove out the Spanish and British invaders.
In 1795 Spain ceded Santo Domingo to France, and Toussaint had himself appointed commander-in-chief of all French forces in the colony. He assumed dictatorial powers and in 1801 promulgated a constitution that in theory emancipated all slaves in Hispaniola but in fact provided for further importation of African slaves. The constitution also provided that the Roman Catholic Church, which had been established in Santo Domingo by the Spanish and in Saint-Domingue by the French, would be the official church and that whites and blacks would be equal before the law. Toussaint declared the whole island of Hispaniola an independent nation and was made president for life.
INDEPENDENCE
Napoleon Bonaparte, who had become first consul of France in 1799, refused to recognize Toussaint's rule in the colony; he dispatched an expeditionary force of 23,000 men that, after meeting strong resistance from Toussaint's armies and suffering from the ravages of yellow fever, brought about Toussaint's defeat. Toussaint died in a French prison in 1803, but in November of that year the French forces remaining in the colony surrendered to General Jean-Jacques Dessalines; on January 1, 1804, Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Haiti-the first colony in Latin America to sever its political ties with the Old World. Virtually all the whites had left, and the blacks were in power. A struggle for position was about to begin between the mulattoes and the ruling blacks.

30





Dessalines, an exslave who assumed the title of governor general for life, had no followers with experience in government. On his orders, most of the few whites who were left were killed. The fighting in 1802 and 1803 had virtually ruined agricultural projects and plantations. The population of the country had dropped to about 380,000; and women outnumbered men by almost three to two. Dessalines established an economic organization that was, in effect, based on serfdom. All people except soldiers were "attached as cultivators to a plantation," a system which gave the people no opporutnity to become familiar with occupations other than tilling the soil. Dessalines' system, sternly administered, furnished the roots for the peasantry that would soon become a typical form of Haitian life.
Dessalines used his troops to enforce discipline among the workers on the land and forbade individual enterprise. He tried to gain control of most of the land in the country, but when he died many of the mulatto landowners who had held estates in colonial times retained their properties. Dissatisfaction with his callous, autocratic rule burgeoned, and in October 1806 he was ambushed and killed near Port-au-Prince. Utilizing a display of force, which created fear among the people, Dessalines had succeeded in establishing a state.
After the death of Dessalines, the country was split under separate rulers. In the north Henry Christophe, the last of the revolutionary generals, ruled from 1808 to 1820. Born a black slave in the English Caribbean island of St. Christopher, he had settled in Haiti and was one of 800 Haitians who had volunteered for service under the Marquis de Lafayette in the American revolutionary war. An admirer of things English, he spelled his first name in the English manner rather than the French. He invited English scientists to visit his kingdom and tried, without success, to introduce English agricultural methods. In 1811 he had himself crowned King Henry I and established a royal court filled with barons, counts, and knights. He built the magnificent royal palace of Sans Souci and, on a mountaintop, the imposing citadel of La Ferri~re.
Christophe saw to it that everyone worked, and men assigned to the fields performed their tasks under military discipline. As a result of his energetic measures, profitable agriculture and commerce were revived, and the people probably enjoyed greater security than they had ever known before. Christophe's rule combined military despotism with certain paternalistic elements and territorial feudalism based upon the noble class that he had created. Christophe's stern discipline generated dissatisfaction, however, and, eventually, rebellion. In 1820, according to legend, Christophe, a benevolent despot, killed himself with a silver bullet.
The rival regime in the south was headed by Alexandre Potion, a mullato, who served with the title of president from 1808 to 1818. Educated in France, P~tion had a certain admiration for democratic

31






ideals and allowed the people to enjoy unprecedented liberty of action. He confiscated the large French plantations and parceled out small plots of land to soldiers and officers. P6tion's generosity, however motivated, changed the entire agricultural base of the society. No longer willing to cultivate coffee, indigo, and sugar, most of the people in the south grew garden crops for their own use. Although profits from export crops declined, the common man, secure on his small plot, probably considered himself better off than ever before. In terms of national prosperity, however, the results were calamitous. Customs and tax revenues declined; paper money without backing was issued; and a few foreign loans were obtained at excessive interest rates. Nevertheless, the people in the south enjoyed freedom, while the people in Christophe's kingdom lived as serfs. P6tion, who died in 1818, was popular with the people he endeavored to serve.
After the death of Christophe, Jean Pierre Boyer, who had succeeded P6tion in the south in 1818, reunited the north and the south and, in addition, annexed the eastern part of Hispaniola where, in 1822, the people of the colony of Santo Domingo had driven out the Spaniards. Boyer, like P6tion, was a mulatto educated in France, who had served in the P6tion government. When he took office, he continued the distribution of small parcels of land and left the people to their own devices. When, in 1825, Boyer's government approved a French ordinance that recognized Haiti's independence in return for trade privileges and a large indemnity, Boyer hoped to ward off another invasion by the French, but black leaders were enraged by the fact that these concessions had been made by a mulatto-dominated government. The blacks were also angered by Boyer's negotiation of a French loan to pay the indemnity, a transaction that made it necessary to issue paper money to meet domestic needs.
When the internal situation continued to deteriorate, Boyer abandoned his moderate rule and adopted the stern tactics of Dessalines and Christophe, forcing the peasants to plow and harvest under armed guard. His inept r le lasted until 1843, when he was overthrown and exiled by a conspiracy of members of his own social group-urban mulattoes. In the ensuing turmoil the people of Santo Domingo threw off Haitian rule, and the Dominican Republic was established in the eastern part of Hispaniola. After trying unsuccessfully to establish a stable government, the mulattoes in Haiti lost their power to unlettered Negro leaders, and for the next seventy-two years Negroes were in almost complete control of the country.
In the middle of the nineteenth century Haiti reached an economic impasse. Toussaint Louverture's system of forced labor had generated a temporary increase in the colony's productivity, but many peasants had fled to the hills and settled on land that they regarded as their own. A system of sharecropping had been initiated by white 6migr6s whom Toussaint had encouraged to return. Under Dessalines certain

32





freemen who were allowed to possess plantations had continued the system of sharecropping instituted by Toussaint. Thus for many years forced labor, squatting, and sharecropping had persisted as the bases of agricultural production. P6tion's large-scale distribution of land, continued by Boyer, had contributed to the deterioration of the country's agricultural economy. Most individual holdings were too small for sugar and indigo cultivation, and sugar had all but disappeared from the country's list of exports. The major export was coffee, a crop that was more easily cultivated on small farms.
The lives of the people were profoundly influenced by voodooism (vodun), the religion based largely on West African beliefs and practices, including ancestor worship, performance of propitiatory rites, and belief in communication by trance with deities. Although the Catholic missionaries brought to Hispaniola by the Spaniards and to Saint-Domingue by the French had made nominal converts of many of the slaves, voodooism's hold on the blacks was usually stronger than the influence of the church and was to continue into the twentieth century as a major element in Haitian life.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the stratification of society that was to last into the twentieth century had clearly evolved. The elite were, for the most part, the descendants of the freemen, or gens de couleur, of the colonial era. When the French colonial aristocracy was destroyed, they had acquired much of the wealth of the colonial
-elite and under P6tion and Boyer had enjoyed social and political dominance. When the Negroes came to power in 1843, the elite were compelled to console themselves with a belief in their social superiority. A d6ep chasm separated the elite from the masses, who now constituted a peasant society largely illiterate and poor.
At the end of the Boyer regime it was apparent that the mulatto effort to rule the country as an elite class while making economically damaging concessions to the predominantly black population had ended in failure. Not only had organized cultivation of cacao, cotton, and sugarcane for export ceased, but irrigation works had fallen into disrepair, tidy coastal towns had become villages of wooden houses, and the countryside was dotted with African-type huts of mud and wattles. The elite mulattoes had abandoned their plantations and, lacking any direct involvement in agriculture, had shown little interest in maintaining irrigation systems and roads or in promoting rural education. Crowding into the cities, they turned their backs on the peasants. Color prejudice grew and became a permanent feature of Haitian life.

YEARS OF TURMOIL, 1843-1915
The seventy-two years following the exile of Boyer were marked by the rise and fall of twenty-two dictators and recurring civil

33





distrubances. Between 1844 and 1859 the Negro army, determined to reduce the power of mulattoes in government, placed four Negro presidents in office. One of these was Soulouque (1847-59), who, assuming the title of Emperor Faustin I, made two unsuccessful attempts to reconquer Santo Domingo, killed many Haitian mulatto leaders, and assigned illiterate blacks to public positions. He practiced voodoo openly and devoted hours to elaborate court ceremonies daily. Opposed by forces led by General Fabre Nicolas Geffrard, Soulouque fled the country in 1859.
Fabre Geffrard, described as "neither black nor mulatto" (the son of a black father and a mulatto mother), served as president from 1858 to 1867. He encouraged the cultivation of cotton; established an agricultural credit corporation; promoted public works such as reservoirs and gaslight companies; and opened schools of architecture, painting, and law. He favored the Concordat of 1860, under which the breach with the Vatican, created by Dessalines at the beginning of the century, was mended; and educational and charitable orders such as the Sisters of St. Joseph de Cluny (Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny) and the Brothers of Christian Instruction (Fr~res de l'Instruction Chr~tienne) were allowed to establish themselves in Haiti. Geffrard's efforts to improve the lot of the people failed to prevent an insurrection, however, as he was driven into exile in 1867.
Louis F61icit6 Lysius Salomon, president between 1879 and 1888, who had served as Soulouque's minister of finance, introduced monetary reforms, but these were offset by the issuance of quantities of paper money that led to inflation. His efforts to effect agricultural reforms were unsuccessful. Among constructive projects inaugurated during his term of office were improvement of communications with the outside world, effected by the laying of a submarine cable. Nevertheless he was bitterly opposed by the mulattoes, who mounted an insurrection in 1883. In reprisal, Salomon executed so many mulattoes in Port-au-Prince that business came to a virtual standstill. Then, in 1889, when he attempted to extend his tenure of office beyond the constitutional limit, he was faced with another civil war and was forced into exile.
Another president during the 1843-1915 period who is remembered for efforts to improve conditions is Florvil Hyppolite, in office from 1889 to 1896. A dark-skinned member of the elite, he established the Ministry of Public Works, which built bridges, introduced telegraph and telephone systems, and constructed new marketplaces in Port-auPrince and other cities. As a result of an increase in the price of coffee, the country enjoyed a short period of relative prosperity, which prompted the government and merchants to indulge in extravagant expenditures. This led to a deteriorating financial situation and growing dissatisfaction among Hyppolite's rivals. In 1891 Hyppolite mercilessly suppressed an uprising in Jacmel, in the south; but five years

34





later, he died while leading his troops to punish the rebellious Jacmelians again.
During a period of almost three-quarters of a century after the Boyer regime, only three of the twenty-two presidents were mulattoes. The mulatto elite of necessity adjusted to existing conditions -controlling the business sector, indulging in cultural pursuits and, because of their superior education, serving in certain government positions. Political consciousness and activity were confined almost entirely to the army, the townspeople, the elite, and those who aspired to elite status. The great mass of the peasants were little affected by reform movements, revolutions, counterrevolutions, financial disasters, or foreign relations. During this period Haiti evolved into a country of peasants cultivating small plots of land, which, when divided among heirs, became increasingly smaller.
At the end of the nineteenth century Haiti lacked a significant educational system. No president had seen fit to introduce universal education, and some powerful members of the elite expressed doubts regarding the educability of the black masses. Lacking education, the people had no opportunity to compare Haiti with other countries or to participate in political discussion, and they were easily swayed by agitators who opposed the incumbent president. A politician planning a revolution could raise an army and take the field against the government after borrowing money from a merchant at approximately 100 percent interest, to be paid when the revolution succeeded.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century an important factor in the political life of the country was the use of mercenary guerrillas by revolutionary politicians aspiring to the presidency. Certain peasants, who found fighting and rapine an occupation more profitable than any other, were known as cacos in the north and as piquets in the south. Known as "kingmakers," the cacos would make an agreement with a presidential aspirant under which, for a certain sum to be paid after a successful revolution and an opportunity to loot towns on the way to the capital, they would move down from the mountains and place a revolutionary leader in power. During the American intervention, initiated in 1915, caco leaders organized an uprising, which was suppressed by United States Marines after several years of guerrilla warfare. The marines' success was generally regarded as a death blow to the cacos.
Between 1843 and 1915 Haiti received little aid from foreign countries in solving its domestic problems, and for many years after independence it had been virtually isolated in the field of foreign relations. The first nation to recognize the country's independence was Francein 1825. At about the same time a British consul general was appointed, but the United States did not extend recognition until 1862, after which a coaling station for the United States West Indian Squadron was established at Cap-Haitien. Between the termination of the United

35





States Civil War and the intervention in 1915 Haiti was affected by the opposing interests of Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and France and by strained relations with the Dominican Republic.
Between 1908 and 1915, a period characterized by revolutions, assassinations, and insurrections, Haitian governments raised money through bond issues and unorthodox financial operations, driving the republic into political and financial bankruptcy. During this period seven men served briefly as president, most of them having seized power with the support of cacos. One was killed when the presidential palace was blown up; others fled the country; and the last was hacked to pieces by an infuriated mob. In 1915, when Germany was winning victories in World War 1, there were rumors that Germany sought a naval base in Haiti, and Germans in Haiti who had lent large sums to finance caco revolts were asking their government for help. French owners of Haitian securities were pressing the Haitians for payment, and United States financial interest controlling Haiti's railroads and banking were concerned over the danger to their investments. In the face of these threats to United States interest in the Caribbean and bearing in mind United States responsibility for the Panama Canal, President Woodrow Wilson made the decision to intervene in Haiti.
UNITED STATES INTERVENTION, 1915-34
In 1914 there were frequent visits to Haitian ports by United States naval vessels. Marines from French, British, and German warships also went ashore to protect their countries' interests. In January 1915 Vilbrun Guillaume Sam marched toward Port-au-Prince at the head of a cavo army and by March had established himself as president. An American admiral, William Caperton, whose ships were standing by, had warned Sam against violence but, when a rival caco army was reported on its way to the capital to overthrow the president, Sam threw his principal critics into prison and fled to the French Legation. More than 160 prisoners, including respected members of the elite were killed, probabl-y on Sam's orders. A mob then dragged Sam from the French Legation, tore his body apart, and marched through the city with the pieces. Admiral Caperton then landed with 300 marines from his cruisers.
Supported by additional forces the marines spread out over the country, disarmed the Haitian army, and opened recruiting offices for a native constabulary. This police force of about 2,400, commanded at the outset by 100 marine officers, was the nucleus of the future Haitian Guard (Garde d'Haiti). Roads connecting the principal towns were built; clinics, hospitals, and telephone systems were established; and reservoirs and sewerage systems were constructed. Between 1915 and 1930, under presidents installed in office by the occupying forces, United States officials eliminated graft, collected taxes, introduced economies, and managed the treasury. The Haitian Guard proved to

36





be the best constabulary in the history of the country, and United States engineers oversaw the construction of much-needed public works. The Americans organized a public health program and opened a school for farm leaders. The American presence was, however, resented by Haitians, who were angered by the affront to Haitian sovereignty, by Haitian army officers and politicians whose usual sources of income had dried up, and by cacos who, resenting the drafting of peasants for roadbuilding, staged an insurrection that was said to have cost the lives of 2,000 Haitians.
Haitians were angered by the terms of a treaty with the United States, reluctantly accepted by the Haitian government in 1915, which gave the United States control over the customs and over the gendarmerie. Most Haitians were unhappy over the fact that the occupying forces seemed to favor the mulattoes and to discriminate against blacks. In 1930 a commission appointed by President Herbert Hoover recommended that the incumbent Haitian president step down in favor of an interim government that would supervise a free election. The election brought St6nio Vincent to the presidency in 1930. The United States minister appointed by President Hoover was given the responsibility for bringing to an end the American occupation as rapidly as possible. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933, the process was well underway. In 1934 President Roosevelt ordered withdrawal of the marines, and in 1941 a financial commission that had remained to protect United States investments was finally withdrawn.
DEVELOPMENTS, 1934-57
The United States occupying forces had shifted political responsibility from the blacks to relatively enlightened mulatto leaders, who ruled until 1946. The black masses, however, worked for a return to black leadership. Backed by the Haitian Guard, which had been organized by the United States occupying forces, black leaders ousted a mulatto president and installed Dumarsais Estim6, who purged the government of mulatto officials and replaced them with blacks and who initiated reforms designed to benefit urban workers and to improve agriculture. He discharged the American debt and signed an agreement with the United States Export-Import Bank to finance a US$6 million irrigation and land-reclamation project in the Artibonite Valley. When, in 1950, he attempted to have the constitution amended to allow him to succeed himself, the army removed him from office and sent him out of the country.
Estim6's successor was Colonel Paul E. Magloire, a black leader and a powerful figure in the army, who seemed to enjoy the tacit approval of the elite along with the enthusiastic support of the black masses. In his inaugural address of December 6, 1950, President Magloire promised to safeguard rights guaranteed by the constitution, to give priority to irrigation projects, soil conservation, cooperatives, and

37





independent planters, and to grant assistance to education. He took a stand against communism, persuaded the United States to expedite aid programs, and encouraged foreign investment. Total foreign trade increased in 1951 and 1952, largely as a result of high prices for exports stimulated by the Korean War. Magloire was accused of despotic rule and corruption, however, and in December 1956 he was overthrown. For nine months thereafter there were seven shaky governments, and in September 1957 Franqois Duvalier, a former follower of Estim6 who had refused to accept Magloire in 1950, was elected president (see ch. 7).








































38










CHAPTER

SOCIAL SYSTEM
Throughout its history the social system of Haiti has been marked by a dual heritage-that of the French colonial and that of the African slave. The social and racial configuration was introduced during the colonial period when a small minority of wealthy whites held sway over the lives of their black slaves. A rigid, color-based stratification system evolved that enhanced initial cultural differences. As independence was ushered in, the white elites were ushered out, giving Haiti the opportunity to develop new values and institutions. The new mulatto elite opted for the social model of their predecessors, however, and kept Roman Catholicism, the French language and culture, and light skin color as criteria of high social position.
The slave masses that fought alongside the mulattoes gained little more than emancipation and subsistence plots after independence. The lifestyles that had evolved during slavery were adapted to their new peasant status with only minimal changes. They maintained their own religion (voodoo) and their own language (Creole) and continued to center their lives on African and slave-based family and market patterns, Little has changed in the peasants' isolated, rural existence ,since slave days; they remain outside the national economy and political life and are virtually untouched by modern technology or social change.
The twentieth century has seen the initial erosion of the traditionally dichotomous society and the emergence of a nebulous middle class. The rise in black consciousness and nationalism has brought an increased awareness of the African heritage by Haitian intellectuals -as witnessed by the liberalizing of official attitudes towards voodoo and the sporadic attempts to bring greater prestige to Creole. Expanding economic opportunities have caused differentiation within social strata, and political awareness has given impetus to the incipient middle sector. Geographic isolation and regionalism are breaking down as rural inhabitants become more mobile and seek opportunities outside their ancestral villages. Although members of the elite retain their exalted position as the last bastion of prestigious French culture, the group has opened its ranks to wealthy, educated nonelites, forming a broader based upper class.
In spite of these signals of change, the overall social structure has not been deeply affected. At the base of the social pyramid the peasants'

39





life is unchanged. Observations of rural life made in the nineteenth century were only slightly updated by the social scientists of the 1930s and 1940s; in general, these commentaries are still a fairly accurate picture of the peasant in 1972. Power and wealth have not been diffused throughout the society. New groups are developing, but the balance of power has remained with the 5 to 10 percent of the population possessing wealth, education, and social prestige. Finally, there has been no effective amalgamation or adoption of lower class norms. Creole and voodoo, despite their pervasiveness, have never been officially acknowledged by the upper class, who remain culturally segregated. Traditional class criteria are still employed to designate status. The middle class is ambivalent about its double heritage and has developed little class solidarity.

COLOR AND CLASS

Racial and Ethnic Heritage
The evolution of Haitian class structure and ethnic configuration may be seen in terms of three periods: the colonial and early independence period; the period of the American occupation (1915-34); and the revolution of 1946. The racial composition was established during the first of these periods, and subsequent history served to reinforce rather than to change the early colonial configuration. Although the colonial period technically began in 1492 with the Spanish conquest of the Taino Indians on Hispaniola, little of lasting cultural importance was to take place on the western half of the island until the arrival of the first French planters and their African slaves in the middle of the seventeenth century (see ch. 3).
The French presence in Haiti was of shorter duration than that of any other colonial power in the New World, yet the cultural transmission was extensive and especially affected the elite. The values of wealth, light skin color, Roman Catholicism, education, and cultural refinement were introduced by the French. Haitian society has never successfully shaken the legacy left by the early planters. Although the outlines of social values and institutions were drawn by the French, the details of daily life were often supplied by the black slaves. The blacks developed lifestyles that incorporated their African background and their experience as slaves, and they passed on this legacy to their offspring. The differences between the French and African cultural backgrounds have never been fully reconciled nor amalgamated, however; and the result has been the development of parallel institutions, values, and lifestyles of the mulatto elite and the peasant masses.
The French imposed a stratification system composed of three classes and based on color and French-derived class criteria. At the top of the social ladder were the white elite, who were further subdivided between those born in France and those born on the island and

40




between government officials, planters, and the poor whites. The bottom rung was occupied by the black slave masses who had been taken from more than 100 African tribes. They, too, were differentiated between those born in Africa and those born on the island and between house servants and field hands. Finally, due to the extensive miscegenation between the slaves and their masters, a third group arose to occupy the middle stratum. Referred to as freedmen, people of color, or mulattoes, many of these individuals held a relatively advantageous position in the society. Some prospered financially, owning slaves and land; others attained a high level of education in France. This group effectively reinforced the French culture throughout the colony by emphasizing the positive values of wealth, education, and light skin color.
The issues of race and ancestry were an integral part of the whiteoriented class system, further fragmenting the colonial society. Numerous terms were employed to categorize mulattoes according to their parentage. Even the courts of Saint-Domingue came to recognize as many as ten major, and 200 minor, blood combinations. Racial prejudice increased as whites began to fear the power, wealth, and rising numbers of the free, colored people. Not a solidified class under any other circumstances, the white population united in their efforts to draw and maintain the color line. Mulattoes were deprived of their civil rights as stated in the Code Noir of 1685 and were barred from positions in the court and the militia. Every effort was made to keep mulattoes from gaining authority over white men. Mulattoes were eventually barred from the more profitable occupations as well as from the professions and public service. Finally, in an effort to maintain social distance, the whites enforced segregation in churches and theaters and ostracized any white who married a person of color (see ch. 3).
By the end of the eighteenth century, racial and class strife affected all classes of Haitian society. Virtually no group felt secure in its status. Hatred, fear, and envy dominated social relations and eventually erupted into a slave revolt that led to the expulsion of the whites and to the independence of the Haitian republic in 1804.
The stratification system shaped during the colonial period settled into two caste-like strata in the years following independence. The vacuum created by the exodus of the white elite was rapidly filled by the educated, wealthy, and powerful mulattoes. The black slaves gained both freedom and land, yet the majority continued to live outside the realm of national affairs as they had under the French. Consequently, Haitian values and institutions remained much the same as before independence. French language and culture were still emulated by the urban upper class, whereas the black peasant masses remained poor, rural, and powerless. Lighter skin was still an indicator of upper class status, and elite families were careful to preserve the color

41





distinction through intermarriage.
Despite the politically favorable position of the mulatto elites, many Haitian leaders rose from the disadvantaged and darker lower classes. The most outstanding of these leaders was Jean-Jacques Dessalines (see ch. 3). All Haitians revere him as the national hero who established independence and effectively discouraged the return of white overlordship. The folk saying "Dieu, Dessalines, Duvalier" (literally, "God, Dessalines, Duvalier") expresses the loyalty Haitians feel toward,; the country's first president. Historians have described him as an illiterate man who hated whites and persecuted mulattoes: nevertheless, he equated being black with being Haitian and engendered national pride within the world's first black republic. His rule emphasized absolutism, authority, and a strong military ethic, and these values were still evident in 1972. The term "Dessalinian" has evolved to describe certain personality traits and indicates the respect and admiration accorded the individual manifesting these traits.
For the first hundred years of its independence Haiti remained one of the most isolated states in the hemisphere. Except for continued contact with France, there was little foreign cultural input, and few foreigners intermarried with Haitians. The preexisting fissures between the peasantry and the elite deepened. The hatred and mistrust that had characterized relationships between whites and nonwhites came to exist between mulattoes and blacks as the divergent lifestyles solidified.
The second important period of social history was the American occupation (1915-34). For the first time in over a hundred years, Haitians found themselves under the political jurisdiction of a white foreign power. The nineteen years of occupation had several effects on the class structure. The United States Marines and the supremacy of the occupation forces helped to strengthen both the value given militarism in government and the military ethic initiated under Dessalines. More importantly, the color stratification system was reinforced and the inherent racial prejudices of both countries were brought to the fore' The white administrators were both envied and resented for their light skin.
Although the American occupation forces supported the mulatto elites for government positions, they fended to treat the upper class as social inferiors. Furthermore, they introduced cultural influences that clashed with traditional Haitian values and presented alternative lifestyles. New educational and occupational opportunities opened up as a consequence of the occupation, and these fostered an incipient middle class. Finally, appreciable numbers of lighter skinned Haitians of lower class status were born during the United States occupation, thus creating a second mulatto group. When they reached maturity, these lighter skinned individuals found the opportunities for economic and social betterment more readily available than did their darker contemporaries.

42





The third period, beginning with the revolution of 1946, was in part a reaction to the American occupation. This era brought the most radical change to the traditional stratification system. The backlash of antiwhite sentiment that followed the American occupation was accompanied by a rise in black consciousness and an awareness of Haiti's African heritage among the educated and progressive. The new wave of black nationalism was strikingly reflected in artistic and intellectual endeavor (see ch. 6). The revolution was also experienced at the political and social levels, as educated and experienced blacks from lower and middle class origins emerged to fill the presidency and other important government posts. Under the influence of these men the middle class grew in numbers and strength, their social status paralleling the growing power of the government.
Upper Class
The Haitian upper class traditionally constituted less than 10 percent of the total population and in 1972 composed from 2 to 5 percent. In the past it existed as the elite of a closed, caste-like society. Social position was determined by birth, and class solidarity was reinforced by traditional values and marriage within the group. This fragment of the society was cosmopolitan and possessed education, wealth, and social prestige. It directed the destiny of the country and that of the peasant mass below. The criteria that distinguished elite status were economic, social, physical, and geographic.
A prestigious occupation and relative wealth historically characterized the elite's economic position. The elite disdained manual labor, industry, and commerce in favor of the more gentlemanly professions of law, medicine, and architecture. The elite woman never worked, devoting all her time to home and family. In sharp contrast to other Latin American countries, the Republic of Haiti has not had a landed oligarchy. A few wealthy citizens have owned homes in the country, but the land itself has belonged to the peasant since the days of Dessalines. Property ownership has existed, but it was urban land that brought in the rental income.
Traditional elite status presupposed descent from freed mulattoes followed by several generations of legal marriage. The highest elite traced their ancestry to the famous "Two Hundred Families" of revolutionary times. Class solidarity was rooted in a strong family system, blood relationships, and common heritage. The interlocking family ties were carried to such an extent that all elite appeared to be related. The elite adopted the French social institutions and exhibited extreme franco'phile attitudes, manifesting elegant deportment, fiery patriotism, and European savor faire.
Light skin was highly prized and was accompanied by the notion of the superior intelligence of the white race. On the other hand, the prejudice lodged against the black peasants was far more cultural than

43





racial in nature. Rural dwellers exhibited the characteristics that the elites found most degrading about their country -illiteracy, poverty, slave heritage, belief in voodoo, and a lack of cultural refinement, that is, French culture. It was practically impossible for someone of humble origin to move up through the society but, providing he could adopt the other requirements for social acceptance, he was not denied elite status because of his blackness.
A final determinant of elite status was geographic. From the earliest days of the republic the elite formed an exclusively urban enclave in the predominantly rural society. There were few wealthy landowners among the elite, and the majority of the land was left to the peasants. The geographic split enhanced the cultural differences between the elites and the masses, keeping the former in the mainstream of national and world trends at the expense of rural isolation.
In the past few decades, however, there has been a marked relaxation of social boundaries as a result of the weakening position of the elites. In the 1960s and early 1970s the elite was still considered the paragon of Haitian society, although political persecution and extensive emigration had undermined the significance of the traditional elite. Their political power was rapidly declining, and their social and economic position was weakening. As a consequence, this stratum is no longer recognizable as an elite caste. It has opened into an upper class composed of the elite and nonelite elements sharing a similar standard of living and prestige but not a common social life.
The criteria for upper class status reflect the change in its composition. Increased immigration from Europe and intermarriage with foreigners has brought German, Danish, and Syrian surnames to rosters once exclusively French. Broader opportunities for education and wealth have introduced individuals of humbler origin into the ranks of the upper class. The value assigned to commercial activity increased, and enterprising persons of nonelite status have moved upward through wealth accrued in industry or the export-import business. Many members of'the traditional elite, faced with economic ruin, have been forced into commercial enterprises despite social taboos concerning manual labor. Wealth, always vital in maintaining a high standard of living, has done much to weaken the color barrier and raise personal status. A famous Haitian proverb expresses it-"The rich black is a mulatto; the poor mulatto is a black." Women, foreigners, and blacks have found more career opportunities than did their forebears. In addition to receiving the vote and certain property rights, it is now common for upper class women to be employed, especially as bilingual secretaries.
For members of the upper class, the family has remained the focal point for love and loyalty. Social life revolves around an extended kinship system and interaction through upper class social clubs. Norms encouraging intraclass marriage have appreciably weakened, however.

44





Financial security has become as attractive a quality in a potential mate as light skin and family background once were, and members of the elite have intermarried with wealthy nonelites or foreigners. Haitian men studying abroad exhibit a distinct preference for white women of European extraction and often make matches abroad.
Although many norms have been relaxed to broaden the base of upper class membership, other standards have been maintained and even reinforced. The value of French culture, language, Roman Catholicism, and education has remained constant. Individuals aspiring to high status must adopt these standards and emulate the life-styles and customs of the traditional elite. Despite the increase in black consciousness in the arts, little genuine affinity with Africa is felt among the upper class; the psychological and cultural ties remain with France. Moreover, as French culture is found only in the urban areas, the upper class has remained concentrated in the cities, thus reinforcing the rural-urban dichotomy.
Middle Stratum
There was little room for a middle class in the two-caste system existing in Haiti before the twentieth century. Anthropologists conducting studies as late as 1940 described the elite and the masses and make only casual reference to a middle sector. They portrayed it as being neither elite nor mass and neither distinct nor functional as a separate class. Individuals of this category were found to be urban, literate, legally married, and regularly employed, but having little effect on the national society. They were upwardly mobile and were considered to be aspirants to elite status who did not reach their goal.
The middle stratum has become more sharply defined since the 1940s because of changes that occurred during the American occupation and thereafter. Educational change in the 1920s, the upsurge in black consciousness, and the wave of industrialization and economic prosperity that followed the wars, resulted in the strengthening of the middle stratum. It has continued to grow in numbers and political power; the regime of former President Fran ois Duvalier reflected his middle class origins through numerous political appointments.
The middle stratum is still a residual segment caught between the upper and lower classes and constitutes only 2 to 4 percent of the entire population. It is culturally ambivalent and insecure, a factor that makes it a suspicious and sensitive group. Class solidarity and identity are virtually nonexistent, as are common class values and traditions. It remains an essentially urban catchall category. The majority of its members is concentrated in the capital, is of provincial or foreign extraction, and includes Syrian, Lebanese, Corsican, and some Europeans; yet a great many are also found in the smaller provincial towns.
The chief distinctions between the middle class and the lower class

45




are economic and cultural. Criteria for membership include a nonmanual occupation, a moderate income, education, and a mastery of French. More than half the middle class is dependent upon the government for its occupational security. The other half is variously employed as professionals, businessmen, shopkeepers, and teachers. Regardless of the amount of income or how it is earned, members of this class generally live beyond their economic means.
Family heritage and color are of less importance among members of the middle stratum than among their upper class contemporaries. Their marriage and family patterns are more flexible, allowing them to choose spouses from other classes. Middle class Haitians are upwardly mobile, as are their children, and they perceive education and urban residence as two essential keys to achieving higher status. They attempt to emulate the lifestyles of the elite, while resenting their social prestige and light skin color.
Lower Class
Urban Lower Class
The urban lower class constitutes about 6 percent of the total population and about half the urban population. It is concentrated in Portau-Prince and the other coastal towns. (Because towns of the interior have a much more rural orientation, their residents are classified with the peasantry.) The urban lower class has grown in the last few years because of increased migration from the countryside. Realizing that moving to the city is the only viable means of upward mobility, these rural individuals have come in search of education for their children and employment for themselves.
Within the urban lower class there are several strata, all dependent upon the status criteria of regular employment. Jobs are scarce within this category because there is little industry to absorb the burgeoning migration; consequently, there is much unemployment or marginal employment. The service sector is taken from this group, comprising domestics, shoe shiners, and day laborers. Others are self-employed as shopkeepers, artisans, lottery ticket vendors, and market women.
The urban lower class displays social heterogeneity and a lack of class consciousness. They are a group whose orientation is changing from a rural to an urban way of life, and they still manifest many of their peasant characteristics. There are higher percentages of legal unions, strict Roman Catholics, and French-speakers than in the rural areas. Most members of this group display a preference for speaking Creole, and common law marriage and voodoo are still prevalent.
The political nature and strength of the urban lower class is subject to debate. Both labor and communist movements draw from this stratum, although the great majority identified with Franqois Duvalier who recruited his militia from their ranks. Nevertheless, members within this group are subject to political manipulation by those more powerful than they. Their degree of political articulateness and their

46




ability to effect economic reform has not been determined.
One of the outstanding characteristics of this group is their preoccupation with educating their children. Despite economic hardships for their parents, a real effort is made to keep these children in school for the duration of the official six-year curriculum. A significant and growing percentage of the urban lower class is Protestant, perhaps because of the educational facilities provided by the Protestant groups. Through education and through political participation, some of the more ambitious individuals in this stratum are achieving mobility into the middle class.
Peasants
At the bottom of the social ladder, constituting 88 percent of the population, are the peasants. Of these only about 5 percent are relatively well off and merit the Creole distinction of gros habitant or gros neg (expressions for rural persons of wealth and power). The gros habitant subclass derives its status from its large landholdings and leadership positions within the community. In spite of greater wealth, this group is categorized with the peasants for several reasons. First, the gros habitants identify with the rural masses much more than they do with the urban classes. Although they may have absolute political, social, and economic control within their area, their status is regional, and they wield no power on a national level. In contrast to urban dwellers, this group does not rely on a cash income to maintain a certain lifestyle, and it possesses few, if any, modern conveniences.
The status of these individuals is related to their place in the rural economy and in local politics. In addition to possessing more land, the gros habitants may bring in more income by renting oxen or by conducting a local business, such as a coffee or corn mill. They are also in a position to hire day laborers and specialize in certain crops. The gros habitant manifests his wealth by having a larger home or more common-law wives than his poorer neighbors. He is careful not to appear too prosperous, however, for he then may become the target of black-magic spells cast by jealous peasants. Politically, the gros habitant controls rural Haiti. Many become the chef de section (sheriff) of their community and serve as a liaison between the national and local governments.
Despite their rural orientation gros habitants are not unaware of the city, and many of its members have urban goals. The degree of adult education may range from complete illiteracy to a few years of primary education, yet the children of upper class peasants may be enrolled in urban schools. The more ambitious of these children may remain in the city and thus provide a primary source for the incipient middle class.
On the national level Haitian peasants are politically impotent, economically substandard, and socially ostracized; yet the other 17 percent of the Haitian population is dependent upon them. Not only
47





is the country's economy almost entirely dependent upon the export crops that the peasants produce, but also the world's image of Haitian folk customs, religion, and language is based on the African slave heritage. On the other hand, the peasant is not dependent upon the activities of the rest of the population for his existence. He consumes little that he does not produce himself and is the most self-sufficient member of the society.
The lifestyle of the rural Haitian has remained virtually unchanged throughout the history of the republic. His technology has not evolved much beyond that of his African ancestors, and the social structure of his community is reminiscent of the slave society. Customs may vary from region to region, but generally speaking the peasant's portrait remains the same: his language is Creole; his religion is voodoo; his marriages are common law; and his value system and livelihood are based on the land.
Unlike peasants in most of Latin America, the majority of rural Haitians have owned their land since independence in the early nineteenth century. Throughout the years this pattern has remained fairly stable despite the increased pressure and excessive fragmentation accompanying population growth. Land is the most valuable rural commodity, and the peasant and his family will go to great lengths to accumulate a few more acres. His family will aid him financially and give him moral support by participating in voodoo ceremonies to gain the favor of the local gods and family spirits. The desire for property is not likely to decrease in the future, as it is propagated within the family, attached to other positive values, and reinforced by proverbs and songs.
Nevertheless, there is some evidence that family units in the northwest are breaking down because of the difficulties in the struggle for existence. Elder members of the community express an unwillingness to part with their land, thus forcing the younger members to seek a livelihood elsewhere. This in turn is breaking down the static condition that grew out of an immobile slave society. Some landless individuals may resort to sharecropping, the lowest status occupation for a rural resident, whereas others may effect the move to an urban center in the hope of improving their lot in the city.
Peasants within an average fifty- to 100-member community are a closely knit group and are often interrelated. In this and other ways their life styles bear a striking resemblance to African social patterns. Men may have several common-law wives living in relative proximity to one another. Although monogamous legal marriage is the ideal, common-law marriage is the rule and is not censured by the community. Because of the character of marital unions, the resultant family is centered on the mother's permanent presence and stability.
The sense of cooperation and togetherness within the community is reinforced by the prestige of the eldest male family member and by the

48





household gods, as well as through the combine. The combine is an agricultural mutual aid society whose basic purpose is the communal cultivation of crops (see ch. 8). It encompasses all adult males and combines the practical and utilitarian aspects of a communal work society with the recreational and ceremonial aspects of a social club.
The peasant woman also plays a prominent role in the economic activities of rural Haiti. Her work and social life are combined in the market system in which she-not the male-is the key figure. Any profit or accumulation of capital will be used in a number of ways. If it is not used to buy more land, it may be invested in sweets or soft drinks to be resold at a public function. If the peasant family is upwardly mobile, the extra income may be used to educate children. Because of her status as a link between the rural community and the urban market, the peasant woman is an important instrument in potential modernization.
RELIGION

Roman Catholicism
A popular Haitian folk expression claims that "Haiti is 90 percent Catholic and 100 percent voodoo." Although Roman Catholicism has been the official religion, it has never been a prominent influence outside the urban areas. Only about one-third of the 90 percent is practicing and active. The other two-thirds are peasants who practice their own brand of folk Catholicism heavily laced with voodooism.
Catholicism did not penetrate French colonial Haiti to the same degree it did the Spanish colonies, largely because of the attitude of the colonials. The buccaneers and planters were chiefly interested in enriching themselves and were unconcerned with making converts among their slaves. They were indifferent and insolent towards the church and regarded the priests working among the slave masses as a potentially subversive force. The Vatican became disillusioned, first with the attitude of the French colonials and later with that of the new republic. (The Constitution of 1805 had separated church and state and had declared marriage to be a civil rather than a religious contract.) For fifty-five years after independence no priest entered Haiti.
I Nevertheless, for the newly installed mulatto elite, Catholicism was
an integral part of the French culture that they adopted. They officially reinstated Catholicism as the national religion with the Concordat of 1860 and welcomed the French and Belgian priests whose life-style and values were so similar to their own. It was too late for the Roman Catholic Church to develop into a powerful or wealthy institution, however. The land-often a source of church revenue in Latin America-had already been apportioned to the peasants. The elite themselves retained the nonchalant attitudes of the colonial

49





planters and, although anxious to set a good example, exerted no social pressure to attend mass. For the elite, and later the upwardly mobile middle class, the church was a symbol of their link with the outside world and a bulwark against the voodoo of the black masses.
Voodoo flourished during the period of isolation (1805-60), and became inextricably fused to Catholicism. The Haitian peasant came to regard the two as interwoven and inseparable and considered himself a member of both religions. The Concordat of 1860 provided for parochial organization and an annual government subsidy, but it made no mention of the complications voodoo presented for the incoming clergy.
The majority of priests have been French-speaking Europeans who confronted a profound cultural gap between themselves and their rural parishioners. Roman Catholic values were respected by the peasants, but actual compliance with these norms-such as legal monogamous marriage-was sporadic. The expense of dressing oneself for mass or preparing for a church wedding or other rite was often prohibitive for the average peasant. Consequently, Catholicism and the priests came to be associated with the elite and the gros habitants who could afford to participate fully in church activities. Finally, and most importantly, the peasants felt that for all practical purposes they were already Roman Catholic. They possessed neither the value orientation nor the religious sophistication to comprehend the theological arguments against voodoo.
Whereas the church has been openly favored by the elite and taken for granted by the peasants, it has been opposed or emphasized by black nationalists. They associated the European-born priests with exploitation and cultural imperialism, fearing the ultimate aim of the clergy was reunification with France and sublimation of Haitian values and culture, particularly voodoo. The conservative and paternalistic attitude of many priests towards poorer Haitians discouraged the more progressive and educated nationalists. The hierarchical, centralized organization of the church was thought to lend itself to political organization and was consequently feared by those in power. President Franqois Duvalier exemplified this negative attitude, and during much of his time in office he kept a running battle going with the Roman Catholic clergy. His opposition culminated in the expulsion of several provincial bishops and the archbishop of Port-au-Prince and eventually in his own excommunication by the Vatican.
Owing to the controversial position of the church in some sectors of the Haitian society, many priests are striving to reorient and redirect the church and its values. They have begun to take a more practical attitude toward voodoo and its believers and the position of the church in a poor community. More priests are becoming interested in the peasant and are moving from the domain of the urban upper class to the countryside. More Roman Catholic vocational training centers, hospitals, and rural schools have been the result of their efforts. An

50





increasing number of priests are Haitian-born and, as of 1972, the archbishop was Haitian.

Voodoo
Voodoo is the living religion of the Haitian masses, although it is not officially recognized and is denigrated by the upper classes. As do all religions, it encompasses a set of beliefs and practices dealing with the spiritual forces of the universe and serves as an intermediary between these forces and mankind. It lacks a formal theology, printed scriptures, a hierarchical clergy, and a system of catechism. Rather, it is an informal religion of action, created by and suited to the rural life of the peasant. It functions as a spiritual release, a vehicle for socializing and recreation, and a loose form of social control.
The word voodoo comes from the Dahomean term meaning "god," but the religion itself cannot be identified with a particular tribe. It is an amalgam not only of African beliefs but also of certain Roman Catholic practices. It began to emerge in the years between 1730 and 1790 when the importation of slaves was at its zenith. The traditional African religious concepts it incorporated included invocation and placation of numerous spirits or gods, water rites, magic, cults of the dead, music, and dance. The dance was the most important of the .early elements, for it served as a nucleus to unify the slaves under the auspices of entertainment and religion. This seemingly harmless outlet actually provided an important means of communication for the discontent that erupted into the slave rebellion. During the revolution voodoo supplied vital moral support, as well as special charms that purportedly made the wearer invulnerable to bullets.
Voodoo was suppressed under the first three rulers because of its potential for sedition. When the mulatto elite presidents rose to power they did not deign to recognize voodoo. During these years voodoo became diffused throughout the society, developing to the form that presently exists. In the years since the mid-nineteenth century there have been a few efforts by the Roman Catholic clergy and the elite to expunge voodoo and its influence, but these have been completely unsuccessful. Until the Fran ois Duvalier regime, the governments chose either to ignore it or to disdain it. Duvalier adopted a new stance and openly favored voodoo. He used it effectively to buttress his regime among the lower class. As he always wore a dark suit and talked in a low key, many peasants took him to be the living personification of Baron Samedi-a voodoo god characterized as a nineteenth century undertaker. Franqois Duvalier retained many voodoo priests as advisers and elevated one priest to the position of secretary of state.
Voodoo is based on a belief in the Christian God and lessor Haitian and African deities, called loa. God is ultimately good and omnipotent but is conceived to be rather remote and not to be bothered with the small details of everyday human existence. This is the realm of

51




the loa, who are consequently closer to the Haitian peasant. The loa possess the same desires and weaknesses as do mankind. As neither man nor loa are entirely good or bad, sin and moral law are not dictated by the gods and are not a part of voodoo. There are hundreds of these gods, and some are directly linked to Roman Catholic saints through a similarity in characteristics or physical appearance.
Possession is one of the most vital aspects of voodoo. It occurs at public religious gatherings when a participant feels himself to be entered -influenced or controlled-by one of the loa. At such times the individual personality becomes subverted, and the possessed manifests the characteristics of the deity. Under the influence of the snake god, for example, a man may seem to glide up a tree in serpentine fashion in apparent defiance of the laws of gravity. When an individual is first "mounted" by a loa, be becomes his "horse," or servant and is baptised to solidify the relationship. Throughout his lifetime, the individual will pay particular allegiance and homage to that god. Only at death is the loa removed so that the man's soul may ascend to God-the Christian God.
Possession is a profound experience because it is believed to be the revelation of divine will of the loa through the medium of the common man. Rural Haitians accept it, and those possessed by it, as a normal part of the community's religious life. Peasants welcome the experience and express neither surprise nor fear if a fellow dancer suddenly sheds his own personality for that of a loa. Although possession is a fairly common occurrence, its frequency does not diminish its prestige or that of the individual possessed. After an individual is mounted by a loa, he is treated with deference and respect by other community members.
The priests and priestesses of voodoo-houngans and mambos, respectively -receive their training as apprentices. There is no hierarchy, and each priest informally establishes himself in an area, his reputation and prestige growing with his proven effectiveness as curer and diviner. The houngan and mambo more closely resemble medicine men thari they do Roman Catholic priests. Their duties include cures and divination, in addition to acting as officiant at voodoo services. The majority have lives outside their religious calling and are full, if not prominent, participants in the community affairs. They are highly respected members of their society and often rise to a position of political eminence.
The rites and services are based to a large extent on the Roman Catholic mass. The ritual encompasses benedictions, genuflections, and responses. It is conducted within a special building decorated with images of saints identified with the loa. The service itself is entirely religious and dedicated to pacifying or gratifying certain gods. The service is not held on a regular basis but as the need arises. It is attended by family members and is followed by a dance, which is a community affair.

52




The dance serves both a social and religious purpose (see ch. 5). Friends come to exchange gossip and to enjoy dancing. Nevertheless, there is a religious undercurrent throughout, and the eventual outcome is a religious experience. Both the dancing and singing have sacred themes, and the drum itself is a sacred object. Inspired by the drumbeat, a believer may become possessed by one of the loa.
The Roman Catholic Church has had a greater influence on the cult of the dead than on any other element of voodoo. In the preparation of the corpse, the wake that follows, the burial in consecrated ground, and the concern for the spiritual peace of the deceased the practices closely resemble those of Roman Catholicism. Contrary to Christian beliefs, h however, it is thought that the spirit retains worldly powers after death and continues to play an important role in the ongoing lives of his family. Should they be neglectful or disrespectful, he may possess and persecute the offender, often to the point of death. Consequently, peasants take utmost precaution in revering and attending their dead.
Certain magical beliefs and practices are closely intertwined with voodoo. A houngan may prepare a cure for a sick follower, but he will not participate in black magic-the practice that may bring harm to another. This is the realm of the bocor, or sorcerer. Like the priests, the reputation of the bocor rests on the exhibition of his powers. Occa-sionally he is engaged by a jealous peasant to cast a spell on a more prosperous neighbor; but more typically his magic is in the form of charms. These are worn for good luck or protection against the evil eye or other evils-such as flying bullets-or as an amulet to ward off disease.
Voodoo is still one of the strongest influences in rural Haiti. It serves to enhance family solidarity on the one hand, whereas on the other it enhances the mistrust of those outside the kin group. It exercises a form of local social control and organization through common belief and participation in voodoo rites. On the national level the low status of voodoo and its exclusive. nature -as opposed to the international character of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism -have served to reinforce the isolation of the peasant believers. Because of its magic and dancing, it is effective for releasing aggression and frustration, as well as for providing entertainment and recreation. Finally, it provides the peasant with a workable explanation of his universe and gives him meaning and direction.

Protestantism
Protestantism is the third religion in Haiti and estimates of its strength vary from 10 to 30 percent of the total population. It was introduced in the mid-1800s by American missionaries who concentrated their efforts mainly among the lower class. A few peasants were converted to the evangelical and fundamentalist denominations

53





because of similarities to the emotional form of worship and the possession of voodoo. Protestantism did not flourish in rural areas, however, because it could not coexist with voodoo. The Protestant clergy encouraged education and economic development. They viewed voodoo and its beliefs as a temporary opiate that served to reinforce the peasants'low status.
Although Roman Catholicism has always been the religion of the elite, the Protestant Episcopal Church has also held appeal for the upper stratum. It was introduced in 1861 by black slaves emigrating from the United States. Some of the elite traditionally resented the Roman Catholic Church, partially because the services were not held in French, and they regarded Episcopalianism simply as Roman Catholicism practiced in their language. Through its foothold among the elite and through the efforts of missionaries in the rural areas, the Protestant Episcopal Church rose to be the most powerful Protestant denomination in Haiti. Leadership emphasis has been transferred from the United States, and today most of the clergy are native Haitians. Many organizations and facilities have stemmed from the Protestant Episcopal Church, among them the Boy Scouts and educational programs.
Numerous Protestant denominations, including Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists, have sent missionaries to the country. They tend to take on a uniquely Haitian character with the passage of years. Some Protestant sects have been backed by small groups or by individuals.
In the last few years there has been a rapid growth of Protestantism, stemming from the efforts of the clergy and the changing attitudes among the lower classes. As of the early 1970s, few rural towns were without their own Protestant church. The clergy have made practical and much needed improvements through schools, clinics, and cooperatives. Their focus is on Creole rather than French. Their schools are free, and the programs are adapted to the lives of the lower class. They compete with the Roman Catholic clergy by performing marriages and baptisms gratis, and they live in the rural areas that may be visited by a Catholic priest only twice a year. Many Protestant denominations are particularly well entrenched in some of the lower class slums around Port-au-Prince. The converts are zealous and upwardly mobile, and many are strongly antivoodoo.
LANGUAGES
Haiti has two national languages. Creole is the language of the common people but is understood and spoken throughout the society. French is the official national language and is understood and spoken only by upper and middle class urbanites. The differences in prestige, usage, and governmental policy surrounding the two languages highlight the polarity of the society and offer a partial explanation for the continuing isolation of 90 percent of the population.

54





Linguists have identified several factors influencing the users and usages of Creole and French. Approximately 7 percent of the population is bilingual, and the rest are monolingual in Creole. For this 7 percent, the two languages are used side by side and are frequently interchangeable within a sentence. French is always used in formal public occasions and is preferred in formal private situations as well. In informal situations, both public and private, Creole predominates. In addition to these social contexts, personality differences and change of style or mood will determine which language the speaker employs. A more relaxed and progressive bilingual indicates his identification with the black consciousness and the native culture through the usage of Creole, whereas a more conservative individual or a member of the rising middle class may insist on French in all situations.
The legendary stories attached to the origins of Creole reflect the deprecatory attitude man infested by most Haitians. Until recently, it was felt that Creole arose as a corrupted, Africanized version of French during the early years of the slave trade in Haiti. Settlers supposedly simplified their language to facilitate comprehension by slaves, who in turn supplied West African grammar. The result was the pidgin French of the lower class, which was considered a patois without the rights or status of a separate language.
Although this theory has some basis in fact, most linguists now consider Creole a full-fledged language arising from the French maritime trade dialect existing prior to colonization but characterized by the syntax of West African tribal languages. The striking similarities of the Caribbean Creole dialects would indicate that Creole did not develop in an insular fashion in each colony. It was an amalgam of the dialects of several French provinces, and it served as the lingua franca for whites and blacks in the slave collecting centers in Africa and in the French colonies alike.
The use of French and Creole during the colonial and independence period set speech patterns and attitudes for the next century. French was established as the language of culture and refinement, and it was spoken only by whites and educated mulatto freedmen. When the slaves became free, the greatest barrier between the various classes of colored peoples was broken down, and all Haitians became legally equal. Thus, the maintenance of the French language and life-style became a vital distinction between the two groups and a necessary means of ensuring the mulattoes' superior status over the former slaves.
Traditional attitudes towards Creole began to change during the twentieth century. The first attempt at a Creole text appeared in 1925 and the first Creole newspaper, in 1943. The black consciousness and nationalistic movements have always been tied to the desire to extend Creole usage, and social protest literature has used the peasant's language for both practical and ideological reasons. There was, however,

55





no official reference to Creole until 1957. The constitution of that year stated that Creole would be recommended over French where there was insufficient knowledge of the latter. In 1969 a law was passed acknowledging the existence of Creole and granting it legal status; it could be used in Congress, law courts, and clubs but not in accredited educational institutions.










































56











CHAPTER

LIVING CONDITIONS
Living conditions in Haiti form a distinctive pattern, somewhat different from that found elsewhere in Latin America. In other countries, the conditions prevailing in urban localities differ sharply from the simpler ones found in the countryside. In Haiti, the distinction is between the conditions under which the mulatto elite live and those experienced by the Negro majority. In other countries the urban working-class people live more simply than the well-to-do, but their lives tend to be much more varied than those of country people. In Haiti the average urban worker's diet is better and his housing is somewhat inferior to that of the subsistence farmer, but low income, his lack of education, and the fact that in many instances he-is a new arrival from the countryside prescribe for him living conditions that are otherwise not very different from those of the subsistence farmer. They have their origin in Africa; those of the elite are patterned after the way of life in Paris.
Almost all of the elite live in Port-au-Prince. There is no rural landholding aristocracy, and the relatively few well-to-do in the other urban localities do not constitute an identifiable provincial elite. In Port-auPrince there are the private clubs, the French boutiques, the wellstocked markets, most of the limited theatrical fare that the country has to offer, and the small private hospitals that serve the elite and, to some extent, an emerging middle class that remains relatively far smaller than in most other countries of Latin America.
Sports play only a limited part in recreational life, although soccer is played in Port-au-Prince, and cockfighting is the national pastime. In very different forms, however, clubs are of unparalleled recreational importance to the elite and to peasants alike. For the elite, the private clubs in and around Port-au-Prince offer dances and banquets, as well as golf, tennis, and swimming. For the peasant, the house of the local voodoo priest serves a corresponding purpose. It is a kind of community center, and the voodoo rites have an importance that dwarfs in significance all other forms of recreation available to the peasant. Voodoo, moreover, is practiced in urban as well as rural localities and is scarcely less significant to the urban worker than to the subsistence farmer.
The concentration of power and wealth in Port-au-Prince results in a corresponding concentration of amenities and services. Over half of the medical personnel of all kinds practice in the capital. It has the

57





country's most extensive water and electricity services and the only sewer service. It also has the comfortable modern or ornate Victorian homes of the elite, but much of its working-class population lives in jerry-built shacks without public services of any kind.
Rural housing tends to be somewhat better than that found in urban working-class districts. There is no electricity, however; and a near absence of sanitary facilities contributes to a general level of health that is among the lowest in the Americas. Peasants, like urban workers, dress simply in brightly colored cotton garments made at home from purchased cloth, but garments are few in number and more worn. The diet of urban workers is fairly adequate, but in the countryside it is so deficient both in quality and quantity that malnutrition is sometimes cited as the most serious of Haiti's many health problems. In the early 1970s, however, public and private programs in nutritional education were achieving considerable success.
DIET
As estimated in 1966 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Haitian daily per capita food consumption averaged 1,633 calories and forty-seven grams of protein. Higher and lower figures have been cited for approximately the same period, but all are well under the daily intake of 2,654 calories and sixty-eight grams of protein quoted by the Organization of American States (OAS) as the average for seventeen Latin American countries during the late 1960s. The Haitian diet, however, included a relatively high proportion of edible oils.
Nutritional deficiency in terms both of the quantity and variety of foods consumed is of such proportions that malnutrition may represent the country's most serious health hazard (see Health, this ch.). During the summer season when few crops are reaching maturity, country people can often afford no more than a single starchy meal per day, and some are said to subsist from time to time by eating mangoes and chewing orisugarcane.
Relatively little is known about the specific deficiencies. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients have been so seriously inadequate, however, that the height and weight as well as the health of much of the population have been adversely affected.
In order to combat this inadequacy, the government in 1962 established the Office of Nutrition, charged with responsibility for the study of nutritional problems and the formulation of solutions. A series of nutritional surveys was initiated, and by 1969 some fifteen public centers and an equal number of private units had been established. The annual cost of each center is no more than G5,000 to G10,000 (5 gourdes equal US$1), depending on the extent of community support. Their work is primarily educational, and it involves teaching rural people to upgrade the quality of their diets by such measures as the

58




increased use of dishes made from beans, corn, and other high-protein vegetables. The program is regarded as an effective one and has been praised as offering better long-run prospects than much more expensive food distribution undertakings.
According to the Haitian Statistical Institute, in 1960 some 71.2 percent of the estimated market value of all comestibles consumed consisted of fruit and vegetable produce. Stockraising represented 8 percent; poultry raising and apiculture, 1.4 percent; and fishing, a scanty 0.5 percent. Domestically processed food products represented 11 percent of the total cost, and the remaining 7.9 percent was in the form of edible imports.
The food crops most in demand are high in starch content. Of the eight principal crops, the tonnages produced in 1969 were highest for corn, followed in order by millet, manioc, rice, and bananas. Bread made from imported wheat is seldom eaten outside urban localities. Green vegetables grow well in Haiti, and a wide variety is available seasonally in Port-au-Prince. The acceptance of green vegetables in the countryside is limited, however, and even onions and tomatoes appear less frequently on rural tables than do the wild greens that are gathered. In addition, citrus fruits, avocados, breadfruit, and mangoes are eaten extensively. Mangoes are of particular importance because of their richness in vitamin A but are available only seasonally.
Because of their relatively high cost, beef and lamb are usually beyond the reach of most of the population; most of the meat consumed is in the form of locally slaughtered goat and pork. Many farmers keep a few chickens, but eggs and poultry are usually reserved for the. urban market; during the late 1960s the annual per capita consumption of milk was less than ten quarts annually. Fish and shellfish abound, but are not popular outside Port-au-Prince. Canadian salt cod is probably the most widely accepted form of seafood.
Sugar is consumed in great quantities, much of it in the form of rapadou, a syrup produced in the refining process. It is also the base for claiiin, the raw Haitian rum that is the most popular alcoholic beverage of the countryside. In addition, an undetermined but probably very large amount is consumed by chewing cane stalks taken from the field. For the Port-au-Prince elite, sweets and pastries are as important to the well-stocked buffet table as are ham and turkey.
The urban well-to-do have diets that are satisfactory both in quantity and variety. Even the working class, however, fares much better in urban than in rural localities. In a 1951 survey, the Haitain Statistical Institute found the daily caloric intake of a representative group of city workers to have averaged 2,450 calories daily; at the same time, the diet in the countryside was reported to average a daily intake of 1,471 calories. A similar survey conducted in 1966 by an unidentified organization found urban and rural caloric intakes to have been 2,100 and 1,600 calories, respectively. Urban-rural data are not available

59





with respect to protein content, but the variety of meats available in urban markets coupled with the much greater urban purchasing power indicates a still greater balance in favor of the urban family. The pattern for consumption of fats and oils is different. The Haitian peasant who consumes little in the way of butter and cheese shares with his urban counterpart the custom of using a relatively large amount of oil in cooking.
In the countryside, the farmer rises at dawn to breakfast on a cup of strong, locally grown coffee, which is sometimes accompanied by a disk of sour bread baked from bitter manioc flour. A light luncheon is brought to him in the fields, and the principal meal of the day-a plate of rice and beans or some kind of stew-is eaten late in the afternoon, soon after his return from work. The poorest farm family is sometimes able to afford only a single meal a day, but etiquette dictates that food be served a visitor who arrives near mealtime.
The monotonous peasant diet contrasts with the diet enjoyed by the urban elite. The Creole cuisine has a variety and elegance unmatched in the Caribbean area and combines elements of French, African, and Spanish cookery. Among the Creole specialties are spiced shrimp, pheasant with orange sauce, green turtle steaks, wild duck, and hearts of palm salad-. One of the most renowned of the many sauces is ti malice, an onion and herb concoction. Among the better known traditional Haitian dishes is calalou, a mixture of salt pork, crabmeat, pepper, onions, spinach, okra, and chili pepper. The ingredients are simmered for an hour or more and served with rice. Among the other traditional dishes are a preparation of grilled meat called tassot and a pudding made of grated sweet potato, figs, bananas, and seasoning.
DRESS
The clothing of the Haitians, both Negro and mulatto, is perhaps the most colorful worn in the Caribbean region. The urban mulatto elite dress with considerable elegance. The accent is on informality, although men are expected to wear coats and ties for dinner, and formal dress is worn in the exclusive clubs. Women wear shorts and slacks in the home and for recreation, but shorts are not seen on the streets of Port-au-Prince. The tropical-weight garments worn year around by the men and the brightly colored cottons of the women are cut according to European style; particularly popular are styles from France, where many of the elite were educated. There are numerous dressmakers in Port-au-Prince, and a variety of boutiques offer clothes designed by personnel purportedly trained in Paris.
Male city dwellers of the working class dress simply in light-weight shirts and trousers for everyday wear. Women wear simple widenecked blouses and full skirts, often gathered at the waist with a sash; bandanas are standard headgear. There is no home weaving in either town or countryside, and much of the material purchased for dress60





making in the home is imported. Shortly after Alaska received statehood, one enterprising United States exporter found in Haiti a ready market for obsolete forty-eight-star flags as clothing material. Wardrobes are limited, but both sexes usually have clothing reserved for special occasions, and garments are usually neat and freshly laundered. Ordinances requiring the wearing of shoes in the larger urban centers are survivals of a regulation originated by Henry Christophe.
The dress of the country people who make up most of the population is similar to that of the urban working class, although older and less varied. Rural women also are fond of bright colors, and most of the clothing is made at home from purchased yard goods, which represent an important cost item in the rural budget (see Patterns of Living and Leisure, this ch.).
Both men and women customarily wear wide-brimmed straw hats at work in the fields, and adults as well as children invariably go barefoot or are shod in sandals fashioned at home of such materials as old automobile tires. Proper shoes are luxury items, and country folk going to Port-au-Prince are often seen carrying their footwear to the edge of the city.
HOUSING
The 1950 census counted some 693,000 housing units in the country. In 1972 this figure remained the most recent statistical figure available, but the pace of construction during the 1950s and 1960s had been slow, and in the early 1970s it appeared that housing starts had not kept pace with population growth. The 1950 census had resulted in a conclusion that 100,000 of the units in existence did not meet the basic conditions for habitation. In 1965 the Haitian Statistical Institute estimated that there was a housing shortage of 392,000 units. The estimate did not include an explanation of how the word shortage was defined. Squatter settlements proliferated around Port-au-Prince during the late 1960s, however; and the Inter-American Development Bank reported that early in the 1970s no more than one-fifth of the population could be considered adequately housed.
Some 80.5 percent of the units counted in 1950 were owner occupied, and 11 percent were rented. Many of the remainder were occupied by giants (agents), occupants in both countryside and town who, for any of several reasons, resided in dwellings without paying rent..Owner occupancy was more common in country than in town. A 1949 survey of a Port-au-Prince working-class neighborhood found that 76 percent of the occupants were tenants. Land titles in Haiti are often not well established, and many of the owner-occupied dwellings are built on lands of uncertain title or on state-owned property for which rent is seldom charged.
Some 14.8 percent of the housing units counted in 1950 consisted of one room, 68.9 percent had two rooms, and only 3.5 percent had as

61





many as four rooms. As defined in the census, hallways and utility areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and storage areas, were excluded. The houses were small by North American standards, but the proportion of one-room units was far smaller and the proportion of two-room units was much greater than the Latin American average. The oneroom dwellings were found principally in urban localities where the housing unit was defined only as living space occupied by a family group. In urban Haiti, housing consists frequently of rooms in tenements or of squatter shacks.
The residences of the elite, for the most part located in Port-auPrince and its more affluent suburbs, represent a mixture of the old and the new. The older dwellings are often frame or of limestone and have ornate gingerbread wood embellishments and ironwork filagree. The newer houses, suburban for the most part, are usually of stone or concrete construction and modernistic or European in style.
No quantitative data are available with respect to the materials used in housing construction, but a scattering of surveys indicates that in both the countryside and in working-class urban communities the most frequently encountered is clissage (wattle), which is usuallybut not invariably -covered with a layer of mud or plaster and sometimes whitewashed. Limestone abounds in the country, and rural people often dig their own material for use in plastering the walls. Floors are usually of pounded earth, although cement or wood flooring is fairly common in urban localities. The roofs, usually gabled, are customarily either of thatched material or of sheet iron. The adobe walls and roofs of oval tile common to most of the Latin American countries are seldom encountered.
The stream of country people coming to Port-au-Prince during the years since World War Il resulted in an occupancy rate in dwelling units rising from 4.05 persons in 1950 to an estimated 6.1 in 1961. Makeshift homes, largely in squatter settlements, are fashioned of scrap materials selected at random. In some parts of the central city, the crowding in tho early 1970s had grown so severe that the shanties were literally piled on top of one another.
Working-class furnishings are simple to an extreme. They consist of a few tables and chairs, which are often homemade, a cupboard, and one or two beds. In larger households, some of the younger members sleep on mats on the floor. Furnishings tend to be fewer in number in urban than in rural homes, possibly because of more effective tax collections in urban localities and the fact that there was at one time a tax levied on each piece of furniture.
Few dwellings are served by public utilities. According to a series of 1969 estimates by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), some 6.5 percent had access to piped water. This total included 44.9 percent of all houses in urban areas and 2.9 percent of all those in rural localities. About one in five had direct connections; the remainder were

62





classified as having easy access to a public fountain. The PAHO also estimated that 18.5 percent of the urban homes had sewer connections.
Few of the urban and almost none of the rural housing units have electricity. International statistical summaries published in the early 1970S were able to quote only a 1949 survey that found 27.1 percent of the dwellings in Port-au-Prince to have electrical connections. In practice, however, a much larger proportion of the urban homes have gained uncertain access to electric current for many years. After dusk, in unlighted neighborhoods, bamboo poles with wires attached are hoisted by householders to powerlines in order to make an electrical contact and provide light. The number of dwellings is so considerable that in 1968 the loss of power in Port-au-Prince during peak consumption periods was estimated at more than 40 percent. To compensate for this attrition, each residential sector of the city was allotted a onehour nightly blackout.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s a majority of the population relied for lighting on kerosine lamps, which were either homemade or of domestic manufacture. Water was obtained from streams or wells in the countryside. In the case of domestic households, some continued to rely on water vendors. A large proportion of the dwellings in Port-auPrince had sewer connections or latrines, although many of the latter were simple pit privies. In other urban centers, however, there was probably considerable dependence on public toilets. Current statistics were not available, but in the late 1950s some 86 percent of the dwellings in a working-class neighborhood of Cap-Haitien used public facilities. In rural localities, a few of the more substantial homes had outhbuses, but probably a majority were without facilities of any sort.
Housing construction, an area of investment traditionally reserved to the small private sector of the economy, has been discouraged by a progressively rising cost in building materials coupled with a continuing shortage in both private saving and public investment directed toward new construction. In the early 1950s the regime of President Paul Magloire undertook several Port-au-Prince housing developments; they were initially conspicuously attractive but after a few years had suffered severe deterioration. Under President Franqois Duvalier, the National Housing Office (Office National de LogementONL) was established in 1966, but the record of public housing during the 1960s was not impressive. The showcase project had been the Simone Duvalier project, which had involved the construction of some 1,000 units in 1964.
PATTERNS OF LIVING AND LEISURE
Holidays and Business Hours
Sunday is a day of rest, but Saturday is a regular business day. The Constitution of 1964 as amended in 1971 lists as national holidays:

63





Independence Day (January 1), Heroes' Day (January 2), Agriculture and Labor Day (May 1), Flag Day (May 18), National Sovereignty and Recognition Day (May 22), Birthday of the President for Life (June 22), Anniversary of the Battle of Vertier6s and Armed Forces Day (November 18), and Discovery of Haiti Day (December 5). Religious holidays are: the moveable dates of Corpus Christi and the Ascension; and the Assumption (August 15), All Saints'Day (November 1), and Christmas (December 25). Pan American Day (April 14) and the Death of Dessalines (October 17) are holidays set by law.
Even in Port-au-Prince there is a wide variation in business times. Stores and offices open and close at varying hours, some occasionally remaining open until late in the evening. There is no regularly observed siesta at midday, but some establishments close for several hours during this period. In provincial towns, the irregularity of hours is more pronounced. In the smallest towns and in hamlets there are few business enterprises; the most important are the weekly open-air markets, which open soon after dawn and terminate when the wares have been sold or the flow of purchasers has ceased.
Social Activity
The manner in which leisure time is enjoyed in Haiti differs sharply from that encountered in most of the other countries of Latin America. The difference results from such factors as the predominantly rural character of the population, the breadth of the socioeconomic gulf between the mulatto elite and the remainder of the population, the extreme poverty of most of the people, and the pervasive influence of voodoo on all important aspects of the national life.
Sports do not have the recreational importance found elsewhere. Soccer games are scheduled regularly at the Sylvio Cator stadium in Port-au-Prince and are played in a few of the larger towns, but the progress of the teams is not followed with the fervor encountered in many other countries, and soccer is seldom played in the countryside. There are no oth6r team sports of importance. There is no regular horseracing, and water sports have only limited popularity, although two fairly good artificial private beaches have been constructed within an hour's drive of Port-au-Prince. Tennis is available only at private clubs, and golf can be played only on a nine-hole course in the Port-auPrince suburb of P6tionville.
The closest approach to a national sport is cockfighting. The encounters are staged informally throughout the country, but the best are those held regularly in Port-au-Prince at the Gagu re arena. Attended by people of all classes, the bouts evoke from spectators the frenzied enthusiasm that in other American countries is lavished on soccer or baseball.
Gambling plays an important part in the recreational life. Even the subsistence farmer occasionally makes a tiny wager on some game of

64





chance. Tickets for the weekly lottery in Port-au-Prince are sold also in other urban centers. Casino gambling is available to the well-to-do in Port-au-Prince, and in 1972 plans had been made for a casino in the new resort complex on Tortue Island. Wagers are made on cockfights, in bezique and other card games, in dominoes, in a local dice game called ouapi, and in wari-a kind of draughts game of West African origin that is played in the capital but unknown in the countryside.
Private clubs play an important part in the recreational life of the urban working class as well as of the elite. A study in the late 1950s found that in a single working-class district of Cap-Haitien there were seven clubs, including two operated by labor unions. For the urban poor as well as for the peasant in the countryside, a kind of club membership is provided by access to the voodoo center, which serves as a clubhouse, music hall, and theater combined.
Music and dancing are outlets of extreme importance to elite and peasant alike. Endowed with a sure sense of rhythm, even the Haitian child barely able to walk will spontaneously break into the dance on hearing the beat of a m&ingue.
The limited formal theatrical fare available consists principally of plays performed in French by a Port-au-Prince company, and dances and drumming performances by the Folklore Troupe of Haiti. Motion ,pictures are principally French films and North American offerings with dubbed soundtracks. Attendance is limited by the low average income as well as by the virtually complete absence of theaters in the countryside where most of the people live. In the mid-1960s the attendance rate was estimated at 0.3 performances per capita annually. Distribution of radio and television sets is also among the scantiest in Latin America.
All of this does not mean that the Haitian does not enjoy a relatively rich variety of recreational activities. A scattering of surveys suggests that the peasant as well as the urban working man devotes a proportion of his income to recreation that compares very favorably with that of people of corresponding income level in other Latin American countries. More important, the very fact of the extreme crowding of the countryside makes possible for the Haitian peasant a degree of community intercourse denied to people who live in more dispersed rural environments.
For its recreational value, the combine is of particular communal value. Essentially, the combine is a working party of neighbors assembled by the small farmer to help in needed tasks, which may involve reaping of a field or the raising of a dwelling. The volunteer workers are not paid, but they receive liberal amounts of food and drink while they engage in work that is accompanied by singing or the beating of drums. Work ends in midafternoon and the entertainment may include a dance that continues until late in the night. Where combites involve a great many workers, particularly in the north, the work

65





may of itself become a contest; the participants divide into two teams and work in competition to determine which finishes first (see ch. 8).
The atomization of farms through inheritance has resulted in some decline in the combine. Moreover, the participants have tended increasingly to arrive late for work and to perform their jobs with less than extreme zeal. Because of the gradual extension into the hinterland of the cash as opposed to the barter economy, the cost of liquor and food involved represents an increasing part of the host's scanty income, and many farmers have chosen to engage the help of neighbors on a commercial basis. This change, however, has served to illustrate the extraordinary peasant ability to derive pleasure where he finds it. Where combine festivities have been replaced by commercial work groups, these elements also combine work with amusement, The groups are often regularly composed of teams that are identified by fanciful names. They are constituted along military and political lines and have presidents, officers, and soldiers who work at regularly assigned and specific tasks. Work is done in an atmosphere of conviviality not too different from that of the original combine, and the organization resembles a benevolent society in the sense that the farm of a disabled or ailing member is often cared for by his fellows.
All other forms of social activity are of far less significance than participation in voodoo rites to virtually all of the rural population and much of the urban working class. Voodoo is a serious matter-fashioned more in awe and fear than in fun-but the Haitian who is possessed by a spirit of the voodoo pantheon and who slithers, snakelike, up a tree is momentarily as completely freed from the immediate concerns of everyday life as are the natives of other American countries as they engage in cheering the winning goals in soccer. The voodoo ceremonies with their rituals, sacrifices, chants, libations, and dances are undeniably the high point in the day-to-day existences of most of the population of Haiti (see ch. 4).
The influence of voodoo on recreation and other phases of Haitian life is nowhere better exemplified than in the harvest festival that occurs, usually over a two-day period, in November. It is called the manger-yam (literally, "eat-yam"), a name derived from the significance of the yam as a dietary staple. Like harvest festivals throughout the world, it is a recreational high point in the year. Manger-yam is celebrated with feasting, libations, singing, and dancing. It is also, however, a voodoo rite, presided over by the voodoo priesthood and marked by incantations to the dead and to the voodoo spirits.
The nonsacred bamboche (literally, "a spree") is the customary means of family or community celebration of weddings, birthdays, and other ceremonial occasions. It is similar to voodoo assemblies but is not presided over by voodoo priests. Even wakes and funerals are occasions of social importance in which the departed is entertained by feasting and drinking of clairin, the performances of storytellers, and

66




the playing of cards and other games.
Several annual occasions directly or indirectly related to the Christian religion are also festivals of importance. In the larger urban centers, Christmas is marked by stringing elaborate displays of lights, by singing and the music of orchestras, and by street dances. Preparations start early in December, and the festivities continue through the beginning of the New Year. Carnival brings work to a near halt during the three days preceding Ash Wednesday and is celebrated with parades, floats, ceremonial kings and queens, dances, and prizes. The concept of Carnival as a final celebration before the onset of the Lenten season of penance has been lost. Festivities continue to erupt on Lenten weekend evenings and reach their highest point during the final days of Holy Week. Special orchestral groups called rara bands (there are several ways of spelling the word), which have danced across the countryside throughout the season, converge on the larger urban centers, particularly the town of Uogdne, a few miles west of Port-au-Prince. The rara tradition derives from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century ceremonies in Europe that have long since been abandoned in their countries of origin.
Rara band leaders are accomplished dancers who wear elegant and sometimes costly costumes topped by towering headdresses of West African origin. When two bands meet, their leaders sometimes challenge one another to competitive dances. Near the town of J6r6mie, rara festivities are associated with exhibitions by wrestlers, who sometimes are accompanied by their own musicians. Traditional personalities that appear as part of the functions include the juggler, the strong man, and the baton twirler. The most important of these is Monsieur Judas, an effigy of Judas Iscariot that is carried about from place to place during Holy Week, On Good Friday, the effigy is hidden and the community makes merry as it hurries about in search of the hiding place of the villain in order that the effigy be destroyed.
Haiti differs from the other Latin American states in the sense that local days of patron saints are seldom causes for celebration, although Saint Joseph's Day and Saint Anne's Day are noted in Port-au-Prince, Saint Pierre's Day is observed in P6tionville, and a few others are celebrated in major centers. The occasional Roman Catholic day of observation, however, is likely to have become obscured by festivities that have become inextricably mixed with those more concerned with the voodoo gods. Perhaps the best example of this mixing occurs in July at the village of Ville-Bonheur, where a celebration called the saut deau (waterfall) is observed. This celebration appears originally to have been set aside for Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16. In practice, it has become a celebration recalling the purported appearance of a miraculous virgin in a tree close to a waterfall. It is one of the major festivities in Haiti, one to which people come from great distances. It is, however, one in which Christianity is honored indiscriminately with the voodoo pantheon.

67




Consumption Patterns
The composition of the Haitian demand for goods and services is strongly influenced by the low average cash income; in the late 1960s and early 1970s it was probably well under G400 a year. Miners and skilled factory workers could earn as much as G10 a day, and the minimum legal daily wage was G5. A maximum of 200,000 persons worked for wages, however, and the average for the self-employed workers in handicrafts and services activities was probably much lower (see ch. 2). A large majority of the labor force was made up of subsistence farmers who lived virtually outside the cash economy.
Specific data are scanty, but according to a government survey the proportion of disposable per capita income spent on food ranged irregularly, and within narrow margins of variation, between 57.4 percent of the total in 1950 and 56.1 percent in 1960. Scattered surveys, however, indicate that the poorest families spend nearly all of their income on food.
The pattern of food expenditure by urban families who are dependent primarily or entirely on their cash incomes is necessarily different from that of rural people who grow most of their own food and engage in barter for much of the remainder. Rural cash incomes are extremely low, however, and the proportion spent on food is not significantly lower than that spent by city dwellers. Amounts expended in the countryside on meat, dairy products, and green vegetables are negligible, but it was estimated by the United States Department of Agriculture that in the early 1970s the Haitian peasant spent as much as 20 percent of his cash income on soybean oil and other edible oils.
Clothing is the second expense in order of importance for rural families. An extensive 1954 survey of expenditure patterns involving rural families in twenty-four selected areas showed clothing to have represented 19 percent of all expenditures. It is probably somewhat lower in urban localities because of the higher average income and greater variety of goods and services available. The principal clothing item is yard goods for garments made in the home (see Dress, this ch.).
Housing is next in importance in urban localities, where many of the dwellings are rented. It is less important in the countryside, where a large majority of the people are owners of their simple dwellings (see Housing, this ch.). Cooking and eating utensils represent expenditures of appreciable importance in both country and town, but furniture is in large part homemade.
Miscellaneous expenses are few, particularly in the countryside. It is a measure of the low rural demand for miscellaneous items that country stores and markets rarely stock generally needed items, such as hammers and screwdrivers. Despite the low level of income, however, even the poorest Haitian is able to devote something to recreation. The expenditure may be only for a bottle of rum or for a contribution to a voodoo ceremony, but scattered urban and rural surveys conducted

68





in the 1950s indicated that 4 to 5 percent of income was expended on recreation.
Few working-class families are able to amass savings, and many are forced to borrow periodically at very high rates of interest. In the rare instances where savings in any quantity are amassed, the money is seldom invested in a business enterprise. The Haitian peasant or worker tends to have a mistrust of mercantilism and prefers to devote his limited funds to the purchase of land or to the education of his children. H A T


Administration of the Public Health Program
The public health program is a responsibility of the Secretariat of State for Public Health and Population. Administratively, the country is divided into a series of health districts, but in practice the administration tends to be centralized in Port-au-Prince. A health administrator in each of the districts is charged with medical supervision of the area, but most of these officials are physicians attached to the district hospitals who are for the most part concerned with medical practice and have little or no public health or administrative training. The facilities include the supervisory district hospitals, hospital-dispensaries, health centers, and rural clinics.
Public health costs are relatively high. Budget expenditures for public health as a proportion of all government expenditures rose irregularly from 11.2 percent for the total in 1964 to 13 percent in 1968. During the latter year, the proportion expended by Haiti ranked fourth among twenty countries counted in a PAHO survey. The estimated amount per capita expended for health (calculated at the equivalent of US$0.53) was the lowest among twenty-one Latin American countries surveyed by the PAHO.
Nearly all health work is at least in part government financed or sponsored. Even the Haitian Red Cross requires public financial assistance. Foreign assistance has also been important, particularly in the field of preventative medicine. The United States aid program has provided material help in the field of malaria eradication, and the World Health Organization (WHO) engaged in a successful joint program with the Haitian government in yaws eradication.
The Secretariat of State for Public Health and Population is responsible for a corps of sanitary engineers, who numbered fifty-six in 1968, but environmental sanitation construction projects are under other controls. Water supply for the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area is a responsibility of the Autonomous Metropolitan Potable Water Center (Centrale Autonome M~tropolitaine d'Eau Potable-CAMEP). Elsewhere in the country, water supply responsibility rests with the Hydraulic Service of the Republic of Haiti (Service Hydraulique du R16publique D'Halti-SHRH), an agency of the Secretariat of State for

69





Public Works, Transportation and Communication. Within the SHRH, an agency called the Cooperative for Potable Water Supply to Communities of the Interior (Coop6rative pour I'Alimentation en Eau Potable Pour les Comunit6s du Arrier-Pays-COALEP) provides installations for areas not able to finance the services. It depends on contributions from various public and private entities for its funds and for cooperation in the form of personnel and services.
Health Hazards and Preventive Medicine
Diagnosed cases of disease are reported from hospitals and outpatient facilities, but the records are not complete, and no exact listing on causes of morbidity and mortality are available. The Annual Report of the Public Health Service-a series later discontinued because of lack of funds-eited statistics deriving primarily from 1954. Analysis of these data led to the conclusion that less than half of the hospital and outpatient cases cited could be specifically identified with respect to the causes of the deaths and diseases involved. Another government publication, however, listed as the most important health hazards (in order of incidence) malaria, dermatosis, respiratory ailments, parasitic worms, and ulcers.
With the exception of malaria, the most serious health hazards do not correspond to those most frequently encountered in tropical climates. Rather, they are directly or indirectly conditioned by poor nutrition and poor personal hygiene. The death toll is particularly high among infants as well as among small children. During the 1960s infant mortality was estimated to be as high as 20 percent of live births, and mortality among the young between the ages of one and four years was thought to be as high as 25 percent.
As many as 15 percent of all infant deaths during the first eight weeks of life result from umbilical tetanus contracted as a consequence of the mother's ignorance of hygienic practices; kwashiorkor (a proteindeficiency disease) is widespread among young children. Children who survive infancy and early childhood suffer nutritional and hygienic deficiencies so weakening the constitution that as adults they have relatively little resistance to disease in general.
Malaria is the cause of few cases of hospitalization and death, but its debilitating effect on the population has been enormous. It is conjectured that malaria has been suffered at one time or another by nearly all of the three-quarters of the population living in malarial areas, which originally included all of the territory below elevations of 1650 feet.
Malaria eradication is the responsibility of the National Malaria Eradication Service, which was founded by an agreement between the Haitian government, the WHO, and the PAHO with financial help from the United States aid program and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). A limited number of control measures were initiated

70




in 1954, but full-scale activity did not commence until 1961. Initial activities, confined to house spraying, were supplemented during the late 1960s by distribution of antimalarial tablets throughout the malarial area. About 90 percent of the rural population appears to have taken the pills, a remarkably high acceptance ratio, and the government reported that the incidence of malaria had declined from 14 percent of the population in the affected areas in 1961 to 0.5 percent in 1969.
Tuberculosis ranks with malaria and malnutrition as the most serious of the health hazards. In the mid-1960s it was estimated that between 300 and 350 people per 100,000 of the population died annually as a consequence of the disease. Crowded and unsanitary housing combined with malnutrition and inadequate medical care have contributed to the severity of its effect. Between 1964 and 1969 the number of cases reported rose irregularly from 89.6 to 102.8 per 100,000 of the population. The apparent increase, however, probably reflected a more complete diagnosis and reporting of new cases. A vaccination program was initiated in 1951 for newborn babies in hospitals and for schoolchildren in major urban centers. The 1972 target for children aged five and under called for 250,000 vaccinations.
Yaws once rivaled or exceeded malaria in its severity as a health hazard, but it has virtually been eliminated. A conspicuous role in control of the disease was played by the late President Duvalier during his service in charge of the country's public health program immediately before his assumption of the presidency. The eradication program, which resulted in a decline in incidence from 1.7 million cases of yaws in 1950 to fewer than 100 reported in 1969, involved a house-tohouse search for cases and the administration of penicillin to those found to be infected. It was estimated that 97 percent of the population was reached, and in 1970 it was possible for the government to report that some 100,000 disabled farmers had been able to return to their fields.
Parasitic infections plague children and adults alike. Roundworms and pinworms are common. Roundworm infection reaches a peak during the mango season when country people frequently eat unwashed fruit that has fallen to the ground. Hookworm is extremely widespread in the countryside where people walk barefoot over ground polluted by human excreta.
Typhoid fever is endemic, and epidemics occur frequently'during the dry months. Between 1961 and 1968 the incidence of typhoid per 100,000 of the population increased from 6.2 to 33.1. The government, however, reported its hopes that improvement of the water supply, scheduled for the early 1970s, would reduce the death toll of typhoid by 60 percent and the toll of diarrhetic ailments by 40 percent.
Influenza-like infections occur in epidemic form, and bronchopneumonia, lobar pneumonia, and bronchitis cases are frequent and severe.

71





Reported cases of leprosy are few-only two new cases were reported in 1968-but the actual incidence is believed to be much higher. In 1968 there were 177 known active cases; of these, 157 were under control. Reported cases of syphilis declined from 5,201 in 1962 to 1,455 in 1969. An apparent sharp rise in incidence during the 1950s was probably the consequence of the decline in yaws, a disease with symptoms often so similar that many venereal cases were probably misdiagnosed as yaws.
Whooping cough and measles are common ailments among the young, and the former is a major cause for child mortality. Diphtheria and scarlet fever are apparently rare, possibly as a result of underreporting. Jaundice and hepatitis are present, but their degree of incidence is unknown.
Neither heart disease nor cancer has been reported as a significant cause of death. They are of major importance in other Latin American countries, however, and they are believed to be responsible for many deaths in Haiti that go undiagnosed or are attributed to other causes, particularly in rural areas.
Although neither yellow fever nor smallpox has been reported since the 1930s, a campaign against smallpox has continued. Between 1962 and 1969 some 2.6 million persons were inoculated against smallpox, partly in conjunction with the activities of the mobile control teams engaged in the campaign against yaws. In 1970 it was predicted that 80 percent of the population would be inoculated by 1972. Dengue fever appears frequently, particularly in the vicinity of Cap-Haitien, although eradication of the mosquito vector commenced in the early 1950s. North Americans residing in Haiti are reported to be particularly susceptible to the disease.
Medical Personnel and Facilities
Medical personnel and facilities of all kinds are relatively plentiful in Port-au-Prince and almost nonexistent in the countryside, where three-fourths or more of the population resides; their availability in provincial towns (vil4es de province) is between these two extremes. In the country as a whole, however, in all categories of personnel and facilities, the supply in relation to the size of the population is among the lowest in Latin America.
In 1969 some 361 physicians were practicing in Haiti, a ratio of about 0.7 per 10,000 of the population. Other data, for 1967, showed that 43 percent were engaged in general practice and that 13 percent were specialists in gynecology and obstetrics; 13 percent, in pediatrics; 11 percent, in internal medicine; and 7 percent, in surgery. The remainder specialized in psychiatry, radiology, pathology, and anesthesiology.
In 1969 there were ninety-six practicing dentists, a ratio of about 0.2 per 10,000 population. The figure is considerably lower than ones cited for earlier years but probably represents only more accurate reporting; of 144 dentists registered in 1960, for example, some 44 were found to

72





have ceased practice or to have left the country. The 415 graduate nurses and 806 nursing auxiliaries reported in 1967 represented 0.9 and 1.7, respectively, per 1,000 population.
In the mid-1960s nearly two-thirds of the physicians and one-third of the dentists were employed by the public health service. Because of low public pay schedules, however, all or most worked in the public service only part time in order to reserve a portion of their time for private practice. Because a majority of the large hospitals and outpatient facilities were operated by the government, it is probable that a high proportion of both graduate and auxiliary nurses were also publicly employed.
In 1968 about 60 percent of the country's physicians practiced in Port-au-Prince and in nearby P6tionville, and most of the remainder were in the larger provincial towns. A majority of the dentists and nurses also practiced in the capital city.
Physicians are trained in a six-year course at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Haiti. The sixth year consists of an internship, and graduates are required to spend two years in rural practice or in residency in a hospital. In addition, many of the leading physicians and surgeons have received graduate training in France, the United States, or Canada. Dentists are also trained at the University of Haiti in the Faculty of Dentistry, which had operated as part of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy before its establishment as a separate entity in 1950. Graduate nurses are trained in a threeyear school maintained by the Secretariat of State for Public Health and Population in the Central Hospital of Port-au-Prince and in hospitals in Cap-Haitien and Les Cayes. Nursing auxiliaries attend the National School of Nursing Auxiliaries, which was established by the secretariat in 1967.
The flight of trained medical personnel from Haiti had reached epidemic proportions in 1968, when a decree was issued prohibiting medical personnel from emigrating. The movement was motivated in considerable measure by the prospect of far better working conditions and salaries offered abroad. There was also a political motivation, which at least in part involved resentment over President Duvalier's imposition of an oath of loyalty to his government as a condition for obtaining a license to practice medicine.
During the 1950s it was estimated that the 200-plus graduates of the University of Haiti's medical faculty had been equaled by the number departing the country to practice in the United States, Canada, France, and the African nations. In the late 1960s it was estimated that as many as 500 Haitian doctors were living abroad, about 200 of them in the United States, and that there were more Haitian nurses in Canada than in Port-au-Prince. A 1960 survey had found that the 100 dentists practicing in Haiti were offset by twenty-three who had gone to other countries.

73





PAHO statistics indicate that in 1967 there were forty-four hospitals in the country. Some thirty-six of these were general hospitals; three were institutions for the care of those with tuberculosis; two were for mental cases; and two were for other special purposes. There were 3,329 beds in all, averaging about 0.7 per 1,000 of the populationthe lowest rate among the nations of the Western Hemisphere. The ratio was 4.7 in Port-au-Prince and 0.5 in the remainder of the country. Only about half of the hospitals were state owned, but these included most of the larger institutions and had nearly three-fourths of the beds. In addition, a number of church-operated units receive public assistance.
The General Hospital of Port-au-Prince is the country's largest, having 500 beds and 100 bassinets. There is also a 200-bed tuberculosis sanitarium in Port-au-Prince, and there are general hospitals with 100 or more beds in Cap-Haitien, Jacmel, Les Cayes, Gonalves, and Jft6mie. Many of the smaller units are hospital-dispensaries with ten to twenty beds. Church-owned facilities, most with fifty or fewer beds, are operated by Roman Catholic orders and by several Protestant denominations. The largest and most prestigious of the private institutions is the seventy-bed Albert Schweitzer Hospital at Deschappeles on the Artibonite Plain. The remainder, referred to as clinics, are small establishments with fifty or fewer beds.
In addition, in 1968 some thirty-six health centers and 217 outpatient clinics and dispensaries attended about 400,000 outpatients, who paid an average of a little less than two visits per patient. These units ranged in size from centers and some dispensaries with regular staffs to rural units occasionally visited by a physician. Reporting on the number and status of these units is confused by irregular Haitian and international nomenclature identifying clinics and dispensaries that may or may not include some hospital beds and may be either permanent or mobile facilities.
Supplementing the public health system, there are various dispensaries operated by Roman Catholic orders and Protestant denominations and a scattering of dispensaries with a few hospital beds that are maintained by plantations and other commercial organizations. Business firms employing more than 100 workers are required to maintain a dispensary headed by a Haitian physician, In addition, during 1968 dental clinics treated 63,000 patients. The clinics were staffed by visiting dentists whose work was largely confined to extractions.
Public hospital and outpatient care is free, but bed patients must provide their own meals, and a shortage of drugs often makes it necessary for patients to supply their own. In practice, some payment for services is often made in money or in kind. The peasant seeking treatment may, for example, bring some vegetables or a chicken to the public or mission dispensary.
The concentration of medical personnel of all kinds in Port-au-Prince

74





results in a supply that appears sufficient to meet the effective demand for them in that city. Even in Port-au-Prince, however, hospital beds and equipment are in short supply, and sanitary conditions tend to be poor. Elsewhere, except in urban centers where district hospitals are located, there are few personnel and facilities available. Medical care in the countryside consists principally of services provided in connection with the generally effective preventive programs, such as those directed against malaria and yaws. Services available at the mission and commercial-firm dispensaries in the countryside are generally among the best in the country, and peasants are fairly receptive to modern medical attention. They tend to seek it only when in acute need, however, and tend to regard it as a supplement to folk remedies administered by family members or by the voodoo priest.
The need for more and better medical personnel and facilities is acute, but it is of secondary importance. The most significant health needs are for better nutrition and environmental sanitation combined with better education in these needs and in health practices sufficient to make possible a more effective utilization of the personnel and facilities available.
Folk Medical Beliefs
Although there is little positive resistance to the limited amount of modern medical assistance available in the countryside, sickness and death are seldom attributed to natural causes. Amulets provide good preventive medicine, souls can be stolen and bottled, and illnesses of all kinds are believed to be transmitted by psychic rather than by physical vectors.
Both superstitious beliefs and herbal medicine are part of voodooism. The ministrations of the voodoo priesthood have at once been condemned as perpetuating the generally low level of peasant health and commended as of practical value.
Some writers contend that voodoo and disease have an interacting effect in the sense that the high incidence of ill health leads to a climate of anxiety in which voodoo flourishes most readily. Practitioners of the cult are said to prey on the anxiety of their clients, to the extent of deliberately prolonging their illnesses. For example, the general failure of people suffering from jaundice to appear at hospitals and outpatient facilities is attributed to the belief that the disease cannot be cured by modern medicine. In addition, it is believed that cow's milk is too strong for infants, that goat's milk is bad for all young children, and that meat of all kinds is bad for the young. The extent to which these beliefs can be attributed to voodoo is problematical, but in Haiti superstition and the cult are close to synonymous.
At the same time, the recreational value that is present in voodoo rites is important to the health of the peasants, and the pharmacopoeia available to its practitioners is formidable. The camomile flower

75





is useful for reducing swellings and tumors; hogwood bark promotes urination; soursop is used as a sedative; the wild plum leaf reduces chills; and bastard cedar bark is steeped in boiling water to produce an astringent useful in the treatment of diarrhea.

Environmental Sanitation

In the early 1970s nearly half of the urban population had direct or easy-access connections with piped water (see Housing, this ch.). Piped water was available only to a negligible portion of the rural population, however; even in Port-au-Prince, where water is filtered and chlorine has been added, it was recommended that tap water be boiled before drinking. In 1970 the CAMEP completed the first phase of a program for expanding the water-supply system in metropolitan Port-au-Prince and commenced a second phase involving drilling of wells, building new storage facilities, and expanding the distribution system. It aimed at supplying an average of 160 liters (42.3 gallons) of water annually to the projected 1980 population of 1 million persons. The SHRH and COALEP were engaged in the improvement and extension of the systems of Cap-Haitien, Gonalves, Port-de-Paix, and several other provincial towns. Plans for another eleven projects included improvement of the system in Kenscoff, near Port-au-Prince, and its extension to neighboring communities.
Port-au-Prince has a small sewer system, but in the early 1970S it was unable to meet the needs of the population. It was necessary for residents of some of the better residential areas to rely on septic tanks, and in the poorer sections of the city sewerage often flowed in the gutters. Garbage and refuse in Port-au-Prince are collected by covered trucks at varying intervals, but in poorer sections garbage sometimes litters the streets. In the suburban areas and in the provincial towns there is usually some public collection; but in outlying areas householders dispose of garbage by burning it or by dumping it in nearby ravines. In rural areas, people customarily cook and eat out-of-doors, and trash is usually burned in the open fires.
Latrines are in general use in urban areas not having sewerage connections, but a substantial part of the urban population relies on public facilities, and the latrines are seldom fly-proofed. In rural Haiti, facilities for disposal of excreta are few, and soil contamination is general. To meet this deficiency, the government in the early 1970s was engaged in installing sanitary latrines in country hamlets. In 1970 an accord was signed with the WHO and the PAHO for installation of sanitary latrines in the vicinity of Mirebalais in the upper part of the Artibonite Plain. The program called for installation of 10,000 units in a four-year period, and a similar program was contemplated for the Health District of Les Cayes. The program was designed specifically to lower the rate of infant mortality and reduce such trans76





hittable diseases as typhoid fever, dysentery, infant diarrhea, and intestinal parasites.
Haitians are clean people who bathe frequently, although the streams and ditches often used for this purpose are not always clean, and no epidemic (louse-borne) typhus is reported. In addition, an infusion made from boiling the bark of the mamey tree serves as a traditional deterrent to lice and flea infestation. A large number of rats are sustained by the often uncollected garbage, however, and the size of the rat population coupled with the fact that marine (flea-borne) typhus has been reported in the Dominican Republic makes this disease a potential hazard in Haiti.
Storage plants are lacking, and supervision of the slaughter of animals is inadequate. The presence of undulant fever and bovine tuberculosis in cattle and tapeworm infestation in pigs make thorough cooking of meat desirable. Pasteurized milk is available in Port-auPrince, but even in this city the boiling of milk is recommended. Conditions in the open-air markets are crowded and often unsanitary; vegetables should be washed in treated water and cooked, and it is recommended that fruits be washed and peeled.
WELFARE
The Haitian community has traditionally looked after its own welfare considerations. Public assistance has been limited, and the peasant has tended to look with distrust on whatever public help has been proffered. The attitude of suspicion is slowly changing, and the initial steps toward establishment of a social security program have been taken; but welfare has remained in large part a concern of the family, the community, church and other private groups, and international organizations.
In 1972 the only persons receiving public pensions were a few retired public officials and members of the armed forces who were covered by special old-age insurance programs. A 1965 decree had established an old-age program for workers, and in 1970 about 35,000 employed persons were making payment into the fund. No retirement payment, however, has as yet been reported. The plan calls for compulsory coverage of all persons holding paid jobs, with the exception of aliens with diplomatic status or with special exemptions from taxation and members of religious communities. Unpaid family workers are exempted, and public officials and military personnel may participate on a voluntary basis.
Under the old-age pension program, eligible persons must have reached the age of sixty years and paid contributions over a period of at least twenty years. Eligibility is severely limited, however, by a requirement that the government determine the otherwise eligible person who has reached the age of sixty years to be no longer capable of performing any occupational activity.

77





Persons reaching the age of sixty who have contributed for at least fifteen years may make a lump-sum payment equal to the amount of contributions lacking on the basis of the highest wages paid. At any time, persons who have contributed during fewer than fifteen years are entitled to the reimbursement of contributions already paid plus annual interest at the rate of 6 percent.
Provision is made for survivor benefits. One half of the pension that a pensioner was receiving at the time of his death or the retirement benefits he might have claimed at that time are payable to the widow until she remarries, to minor children, or to children up to the age of twenty-five years who are continuing their educations. In addition to old-age pensions, the 1965 decree calls for medical care for the insured person, his spouse, and his minor children. It provides also for shortterm loans, scholarships for children, and funeral expenses as advances on death benefits payable.
The program is funded by employer and worker contributions. The employer contribution consists of 1 percent of his total wage bill. The worker contribution ranges from 2 to 4 percent of wages, depending on the amount of wages earned. In establishing the scheme, the government contributed an initial G500,000 and donated a building to serve as the medical center for persons insured under the program. The Commercial Bank of Haiti-named to serve as trustee of the fundwas also to contribute an initial G500,000 and was to equip the medical center.
The government operates asylums, where cripples and mental patients are received, and almshouses for the poor. There are also several privately operated almshouses. A large proportion of the welfare-type activity in the country is devoted to the distribution of food. After the sharp cutback of United States economic assistance in 1963, the program was virtually reduced to food distribution and help in malaria control. In 1970 the bulk of the equivalent of US$8 million entering the country as foreign aid consisted of funds earmarked for food distribution; of this total, the United States donated the equivalent of US$1.5 million under Public Law 480 (Food for Peace Program) for foods to be distributed through private, voluntary welfare agencies. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (CARE) was engaged in a community health and development program in northwestern Haiti, and UNICEF as well as various domestic and foreign Roman Catholic and Protestant church organizations were active in the welfare field.
Mutual help remains of primary importance. Members of the work societies that hire out for peak work period assignments on the farms assist one another in time of need. The Congo Society of Cap Rouge in the 1950s was reported maintaining a health insurance program funded by small sums deducted from the earnings of members. Elderly persons of peasant families are cared for unquestioningly by their

78





children. The family elder without sons is looked after by other members of the community, both because of a sense of moral obligation and because of superstitious apprehension that failure to provide care might later cause the spirit of the deceased elder to curse those who had neglected him.










































79






























































































































I










CHAPTER

EDUCATION, CULTURAL LIFE, AND

PUBLIC INFORMATION
Haiti's dual culture, which has been a prominent feature of the society since the colonial period, has been perpetuated in part by an educational system geared primarily to the needs of the French-speaking elite. Few of the approximately 90 percent of the population who speak Creole (see Glossary) have achieved literacy. The low literacy rate, in combination with a political climate generally less than conducive to free expression, has retarded the development of the communications media. Despite these and other handicaps, however, literature, painting, and folk music have developed strong traditions.
In the early 1970s the predominantly urban secondary-school enrollment remained small but was growing at a rapid rate. The rate of growth of primary schools was lower than that of the school-age population, however, and the number of students in the country's one university, the University of Haiti, was lower than it had been a decade earlier. The country's literacy rate was among the lowest in Latin America; the rate ofattrition at all levels of schooling was very high; most of the schools were located in the cities and towns, where only a small fraction of the population resided; and children often commenced school so late that the enrollment of teenagers in kindergarten was commonplace.
The high value that people place on education is illustrated by the fact that Port-au-Prince students from homes lacking electricity are frequently seen studying under street lamps and by the relatively large number who seek higher education abroad. Improvement of the educational system is, however, hindered by a variety of factors. Rural and urban schools are the responsibilities of different secretariats of state; the predominantly rural character of the population exacerbates the problem of providing an adequate number of schools; and the low level of national income severely limits the amount of money that can be devoted to development of the program. Of equal or greater significance, the curricula are for the most part based on the French cultural pattern, which has little relevance to the needs and interests of most of the population; and instruction is in the French language, which is spoken and understood by only a small minority of the people.
The nature of the abundant outpouring of folk expression has not

81




changed much since the colonial period. What has changed, and in the process has introduced Haitian culture to the international community of patrons of the arts, has been the attitudes and interests of the country's intellectual elite.
Despite a national market severely limited by poverty and illiteracy and a political climate that has fluctuated between anarchy and tyranny, Haiti has always had a distinguished intelligentsia-one that has included many prolific writers. In fact, it has been estimated that on a per capita basis the country's writers are accredited with more book titles (many of them published in France) than any other country in the Western Hemisphere except the United States.
The cultural products of the elite of the nineteenth century were often of high quality, but they were essentially an extension of French culture. The recognition and cultivation by artists and scholars among the elites and the incipient middle class of a culture distinctively Haitian was catalyzed, ironically, by the humiliation of the United States occupation (1915-34). The experience gave rise not only to a search for a new national identity based on pride in the Negro race and the African heritage but also to the first powerful literary expressions of social consciousness and protest. The new trends in content were accompanied by increasing use of Creole and creolized French (see Glossary), although there is no standardized written version of the language and it has rarely been taught in Haitian schools.
The renaissance in literature that gathered momentum in the 1920s and 1930s was followed in the mid-1940s by the initiation of the primitive art movement, which in less than a decade had won international acclaim. Self-taught painters such as Hector Hyppolite and Wilson Bigaud-inspired by the voodoo religion's fusion of the natural and the supernatural and uninhibited by the academician's emphasis on linear perspective and other rules of naturalistic representation -introduced a truly innovative form of graphic storytelling. The noted critic of Latin American art, Leopoldo Castedo, commented: "The Haitian primitive painter is above all a narrator, less concerned with reproducing his vision of theworld than with evoking an event by means of concrete symbols." Although the style of each painter has been highly individualistic, the movement as a whole has been characterized by inventive use of brilliant color and intriguing detail.
Music is the most nearly universal expression of the character and temperament-the pleasures, pains, and preoccupations -of the Haitian people. For the most part Haitian music is African in origin, and even secular and formal compositions are often adapted from, or inspired by, voodoo ritual music. Drums are the basic instrument, and dances tend to be uninhibited. The ni&ingue, shared by all classes in the urban areas, is a typical musical form throughout the Caribbean region, but there are dozens of folk dances, popular in the rural areas, that are uniquely Haitian.
Because circulation of the principal newspapers is confined almost

82




entirely to the Port-au-Prince area and because the country's single television station is received only in that area, the mass medium that reaches more people than any other is radio broadcasting. The government operates one station with several transmitters; a number of stations are operated by Protestant missionary groups; and the balance are commercially operated. Broadcasts are made in both French and Creole, and programs feature music and official releases.
Although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and there is no precensorship, the press, radio, and television usually avoid publishing or broadcasting any material that might offend the government. Freedom of expression is thus limited by self-imposed censorship.
EDUCATION
Education in Haiti had a late start. During the colonial regime, schooling had been limited to the French elite to such an extent that the first chiefs of state in the independent country were illiterate. In the second decade of the nineteenth century, the country's first high school was established by President Alexandre P6tion; in the early 1970s it still existed as the Lyc6e P6tion in Port-au-Prince. A comprehensive system failed to develop, however, and the emerging elite who could afford the cost sent their children to school in Paris.
Educational development passed a milestone in 1860 when the sign-ing of a concordat with the Vatican resulted in the assignment of additional teaching clergy to the young country. Education had already .been largely an ecclesiastical function, but the arrival of additional priests further emphasized the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The new priests were, for the most part, French, and they were motivated to further a rapprochement between Haiti and France.
In this atmosphere, the clerical teachers concentrated their efforts on the developing urban elite, particularly in the excellent new secondary schools, where Haitian students were made fully aware of the greatness of France, the backwardness of their own country, and its lack of capacity for self-rule. Virtually no schools of any sort were established in the countryside.
The effort to draw Haiti into the French sphere of influence was abandoned shortly before 1900, but it left a heritage in which education remained in large measure a system in which the clergy taught members of the upper class. Only a few went into the interior to teach the peasants.
During the 1920s, under the occupation by United States Mar ines, a considerable number of farm schools were established in which peasants could learn to read and write and could receive practical instruction in agriculture. These units were later absorbed into the regular primary system. The occupation authorities also were instrumental in establishing schools for vocational training in the larger urban areas, but the program was unpopular and collapsed even before the withdrawal of the marines in 1934.

83





During more recent years, the principal benchmark in educational progress has been the establishment in 1944 of the University of Haiti, which was formed from several preexisting academic faculties. A characteristic of the educational system during the years after World War II has been the plurality of its direction. No single government agency has had full charge of the public program, and at both primary and secondary levels religious and secular private schools have played an important role.
Most of the urban public educational program is under the direction of the Secretariat of State for National Education, but rural primary and secondary schools are functions of the Secretariat of State for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, and other secretariats have responsibility for certain specialized forms of schooling. The country is divided into twenty-four school districts, but the geographical-if not the functional -centralization of the program is underlined by the fact that laws and regulations concerning national education make no reference to local boards.
Private education in the late 1960s and early 1970s continued to play an important role, but the extent to which the central government subsidized privately operated schools blurred the line of division between public and private education. At the primary level, for example, in 1967 a little less than half of the primary enrollment was in schools operated by the government and referred to as lay public institutions (publiques laiques). Most of the remainder was divided between church-operated but state-supported presbyterial schools and private institutions that were supported by tuition charges and contributions. The presbyterial schools, and some of the private ones, were operated by Roman Catholic orders and Protestant denominations. The Protestant groups were particularly important in rural areas where they maintained the mission primary schools, which in 1963 had an enrollment of an estimated 10,000 children. During the same year nearly 40 percent of the secondary students were in private institutions.
The small secondary school enrollment (about 10 percent of the primary school enrollment during the 1960s) does not include students in church-operated but publicly financed institutions in the public school sector comparable to the presbyterial primary units. During the 1960s, however, private education received public subsidies equivalent to about 10 percent of the funds allocated to public schools.
Some of the best private institutions are parts of conglomerates that offer a complete range of education from kindergarten through the secondary level; these schools draw their student bodies from the children of the elite. Others operate for profit, are of inferior quality, and function in rundown urban properties under the direction of teachers who are themselves barely literate.
Public schooling is free at all levels, but textbooks must usually be purchased. So few are available and they are so lacking in variety that,

84






at both primary and secondary levels, rote learning is the rule. Textbooks from France are used fairly extensively, and the Christian Brothers of Canada have published some texts designed for Haitian use; but there are fewhistory or geography books written by and for Haitians. Haitian history and literature were not taught extensively before the regime of President Franqois Duvalier, who produced the book Oeuvres Essentielles (Essential Works), which is used as a text at all levels.

Primary Schools

The primary school enrollment was officially estimated at 300,000 in 1970. Incomplete but more detailed data for 1967 quoted a figure of 255,152, including 112,291 girls (see table 1). In 1971 the Inter-American

Table 1. School Enrollment in Haiti, 1967

Enrollment
School
Male Female Total

Primary:
Urban:
Public .................................................. 37,585 35,254 72,839
Presbyterial ........................................ 17,866 23,736 41,602
H igher Prim ary .................................. n.a. n.a. n.a.
Private ................................................ 21,061 21,450 42,511
Subtotal ........................................... 76,512 80,440 156,9521
Rural:
Public .................................................. 43,119 21,560 64,679
Private ................................................ 23,230 10,291 33,521
Subtotal ........................................... 66,349 31,851 98 200
Total ................................................ 142,861 112,291 255,1522
Secondary:
General
Public .................................................. 8,912 2,798 11,710
Private ................................................ 4,351 4,945 9,29
Subtotal ........................................... 13,263 7,743 21,006
Vocational
Public .................................................. 3,753 519 4,272
Private ................................................ 458 1,215 1,67
Subtotal ........................................... 4,211 1,734 5,945
Normal
U rban .................................................. 64 60 124
R ural ................................................... 72 26 98
Subtotal ................................ 136 86 222
Total ................................................ 17,610 9,563 27,173
Special ..................................................... 125 128 253
See footnotes at end of table. Cont'd.

85