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Home > Country > Haiti

Map Outline of Haiti - OpenStreetMap

Recent Events

Evacuations. Non-emergency personnel of the U.S. Embassay and family members were evacuated from Port-au-Prince in early March 2024. The diplomatic security service augmented their embassy protection team and the U.S. Marines sent in a FAST to help with embassy security. The U.S. government conducted an air evacuation of U.S. citizens from Cap Haitien on the northern coast of Haiti in mid-March. [5]

Political Transition. The international community, the United Nations, and Caricom are all holding meetings and discussions of how to implement a political transition to an elected democratic government. One possible solution to the instability could be the introduction of a multinational security force to quell the violence and restore order. [4]

Background. Elections have not been held since 2016, the former president had been assassinated in July of 2021. The various gangs appear to have unified in their opposition to the current president - Ariel Henry. It appears that one gang leader has emerged as a central leader - he has the nickname of "Barbucue".

General Information

The Republic of Haiti is located on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Carribean - sharing the island with the Dominican Republic on the eastern portion of the island. It is the most mountainous nation in the Caribeean. Haiti was first settled by the Spanish, and then the French. The nation gained its independence in 1804 after a slave revolt.

The country is small in area size and has a population just above 11 million. The official languages are French and Creole. The major religions are Catholic and Protestant - although a majority of the population incorporate some elements of Vodou culture in their religion. The capital city is Port-au-Prince with a population of about 3 million. The country suffers from political instability, over population for resources, food insecurity, natural disasters, and high crime.


Leadership. The current president, Ariel Henry, was not elected and is considered inept and corrupt. He does not have much support among the general population and the political elite. The United States and the United Nations are in general support of Henry.

Instability. For the last several years the country has been experiencing political instability and is under the influence of large crime gangs that have rendered the government and security institutions ineffective. There is a lot of inter-gang warfare in the competition for economic enterprises, control of energy resources, humanitarian aid, food distribution networks, and geographic territory.

U.S. - Haiti Relations. The country did not receive U.S. recognition until 1862. Since that time the country experienced numerous periods of intense and economic disorder, prompting the U.S. military intervention in 1915. Following a 19-year occupation, U.S. military forces were withdrawn in 1934, and Haiti regained sovereign rule. [1] For more information, read U.S. Relations With Haiti, U.S. Department of State.


Travel Advisory. In July 2023, the U.S. State Department issued a "Do Not Travel" advisory for Haiti. It cited the rise in kidnappings, civil unrest, crime, and the poor health care infrastructure. The State Department ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency U.S. government employees.

Armed Gangs. The growth of armed gangs over the past several years has increased the violence, poverty and instability in the country. There are over 150 of these gangs over the entire country. In early March 2024, the gangs appeared to have a unified front in opposition to the rule of President Ariel Henry.

Army. The Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) was disbanded in 1995 after multiple coups and political interference. It began to be reconstituted in 2017. It currently has about 2,000 personnel with plans to bring it to a strength of 5,000.

Police. The Police Nationale d'Haiti is responsible for maintaining public security, safety, airport and seaport security, as well as other police functions. Estimates (2023) of police numbers vary from 9,000 to 13,000.

Natural Disasters

Haiti suffers every year during the hurricane season. Haiti's geographic location in the path of the Atlantic hurricanes, combined wit the steep topography of its western region from which all major river systems flow to the coast, makes it particularly vulnerable to weather patterns - especially between June and December. [2] It was devastated in 2010 in a severe earthquate that killed over 300,000 people. Many criminals and gang members escaped in the aftermath which has contributed to the civil unrest and rise in crime over the past several years.


Haiti was populated with the native Taino people when the Spaniards arrived in 1492. It was not long before the Taino people dwindled in numbers due to diseases and other factors associated with the Spanish. In time, African slaves from West Africa [3] were brought to Haiti by the Spanish and then the French to exploit the islands resources. In 1804, the slaves revolved and declared their independence.


U.S. Embassy in Haiti

"Haiti", The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency

USAID - Haiti

Haiti - Wikipedia

Maps of Haiti

Haiti Maps. Perry-Castaneda Library Map Colleciton, University of Texas

Maps of Haiti. U.S. Library of Congress

Haiti - OpenStreetMap

Maps - WikiProject Haiti

Videos about Haiti

"People in Haiti are Living a Nightmare', Human Rights Watch, August 14, 2023, YouTube, 7 minutes.

"Why Armed Gangs Run Haiti | It's Complicated", The Guardian, June 15, 2023, YouTube, 6 minutes.

Reports, Papers, and Publications

Haiti in Crisis: What Role for a Multinational Security Support Mission?, Congressional Research Service, CRS IN12331, March 15, 2024, PDF, 3 pages.

News Articles about Haiti

March 12, 2024, "Background Briefing on Situation in Haiti", Dept of State.



1. A Guide to the U.S. History with Haiti, Office of the Historian, Department of State

2. Haiti - Climate Knowledge Portal, World Bank

3. See "History of Haiti: Civilizations of the ancestors of Haitians", DigitekMedia, May 6, 2023, YouTube, 24 minutes.

4. Haiti in Crisis: What Role for a Multinational Security Support Mission?, Congressional Research Service, CRS IN12331, March 15, 2024, PDF, 3 pages.

5. "Evacuation flights to US begin as Haiti deteriorates", BBC, March 18, 2024.


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