Democracy and rights
Weak institutions, instability and poverty
contribute to democratic shortcomings in Haiti. Both
politics and the judiciary are permeated by corruption,
where low wages and lack of resources are contributing
factors. However, in the area of freedom of the press
and opinion, the country stands reasonably well in
The challenges are great in terms of political and
civil rights. In the Western Hemisphere, only Cuba,
Venezuela and Nicaragua are ranked even lower in the
index that measures democracy.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Haiti, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Haiti has long been characterized by political unrest
and lacked, among other things, a functioning parliament
for several years (see Current policy). Elections have
been repeatedly postponed for the future and political
items have remained unoccupied. When elections are held,
they are often characterized by low participation,
violence, cheating and general disorder.
The opposition has difficulty organizing and
seriously challenging power. The electoral machinery is
controlled by a governing elite. Many politicians
receive funding from drug power or other organized
crime, which has a major influence on politics.
Opposition groups are sometimes prevented from
organizing meetings at all. When protest actions are
held, they may be beaten down by force by security
forces. Human rights defenders and other activists are
particularly at risk of threats and violence, and the
perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.
Corruption is widespread and impunity is widespread.
Haiti is ranked 168 out of 180 countries on the
Transparency International index (for full list see
here). In the case of corruption, only Venezuela is
worse off on the American continents. The problem has
been in focus since it was revealed that government
members embezzled $ 2 billion in loans from Venezuela,
money that was supposed to go to rebuild after the 2010
earthquake. In May 2019, a court accused President
Jovenel Mo´se of involvement in the scandal (see
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of speech, press and information are
guaranteed in the Constitution and the media climate is
quite free. There is no media censorship, but there is
also no voluntary, self-cleaning institution in the
style of the Press's opinion board or the Review
Committee for Radio and TV. Journalists, however, tend
to resort to self-censorship so as not to hurt
themselves as the media is strongly influenced by its
owners. Strong fines for defamation may also be imposed
on journalists if a bill that the Senate approved in
2017 is finally adopted.
Journalists' wages are low and their education is
usually limited; many find it difficult to value the
information they receive. Those who have gained
professional experience and knowledge are happy to move
on to better paid jobs, which means that the journalist
corps is constantly replenished with people with low
qualifications. Several private schools provide
journalism training but the standard of the courses is
It appears that journalists are subjected to violence
from criminals and a number of reporters have also been
murdered in recent years. Overall, however, conditions
improved over a number of years and at Reporters Without
Borders Press Freedom Index, Haiti climbed significantly
from a bottom listing in 125th place in 2004 to 62nd
place 15 years later. However, there was a sharp fall in
the index, to place 83 (for the full list see here). One
contributing factor is that journalists have been
exposed during the occasional violent protests against
President Mo´se that have occurred since 2018. One
journalist disappeared that year in the capital and
another was murdered the following year.
Judicial system and legal security
Haiti suffers from high crime. According to the
constitution, the courts must be independent and
citizens are guaranteed basic rights. In reality, the
judiciary, like the state apparatus in general, is
permeated by corruption and public confidence in the
justice system is small. Bribery or intimidation often
affects both police and judges and jurors. The president
also has influence over the members of the Supreme
Court, whom he appoints. The judiciary also has a
shortage of money and well-trained staff.
The death penalty has been abolished in both peace
and wartime. However, a major problem is the arbitrary
and extrajudicial executions of suspected criminals
carried out by the police, among others.
Despite some ambitions to strengthen the rule of law
and reform the Criminal Code from the 1830s, conditions
deteriorated most rapidly in the 2000s, first through
the unrest that characterized the country in 2004 (see
Modern history), then as a consequence of the 2010
The earthquake destroyed courtrooms and prisons and
many judicial staff died. This has led to long delays in
the judicial process and serious overcrowding in
prisons, which has about six times more prisoners than
is considered reasonable and humane according to
international norms. The overcrowding is also partly due
to the fact that many people may be incarcerated for a
long time while awaiting trial. The sanitary conditions
in the prisons are often substandard.
The work of building a stronger, more corrupt police
and judiciary has been slow due to inefficiencies and
political contradictions. Corruption is deeply rooted in
society and also characterizes the judicial system,
partly because of the low salaries of judges,
prosecutors and other court personnel.
One consequence of the corruption in the justice
system is that those who have committed truly serious
crimes can often go free, while thieves are imprisoned.
The Prime Minister is finally approved
Only when President Martelly presents his third proposal to Prime Minister
Garry Conille is it approved by the National Assembly.
The cholera epidemic requires many lives
Nearly 6,000 people are reported to have died in the cholera epidemic that
broke out in the fall of 2010.
New prime minister rejected
Michel Martelly takes up the post but immediately encounters difficulties as
his election of prime minister is rejected by Parliament.
Aristide again in Haiti
A few days before the second round of elections, the resigned president
Jean-Bertrand Aristide also returns to Haiti (see January 2011). His party Fanmi
Lavalas has been prevented from participating in the elections.
Hundreds of thousands still remain homeless
The UN reports that 810,000 people live in 1,150 camps, one year after the
Baby Doc back in Haiti
Former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier returns to Haiti after 25 years in exile
(see Modern History). He is charged with corruption and human rights violations.
Turbulence around the second round of elections
The electoral authority announces that the second round of both presidential
and parliamentary elections will be postponed indefinitely. The United States
Organization (OAS) states in a report that Martelly received the second most
votes in the first round of elections. Celestin says at first that he does not
intend to jump off, but later Inite withdraws his candidacy. Eventually, the
Election Authority announces that the second round of elections will be held in
March, and that it stands between Manigat and Martelly.