Forgotten world (46): Haiti

On nine occasions now, I’ve had a week-long feature on NightHawk devoted to parts of the world that tend to be under-reported or even forgotten. You can check out the previous 45 entries here. This week, I am going to run a tenth series of postings on this theme.
Haiti – once a French colony – occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. It has a population of 8.5M.
The country achieved notoriety during the brutal dictatorships of the voodoo physician, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and his son, Jean-Claude, or “Baby Doc”. Hopes that the election in 1990 of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former priest, would herald a brighter future were dashed when he was overthrown by the military a short time later.
A bloody rebellion, and pressure from the US and France, forced Mr Aristide out of the country in 2004. Since then, an elected leadership has taken over from an interim government and a UN stabilisation force has been deployed, but Haiti is still plagued by violent confrontations between rival gangs and political groups and the UN has described the human rights situation as “catastrophic”.
Meanwhile, Haiti’s most serious underlying social problem remains: the huge wealth gap between the impoverished Creole-speaking black majority and the French-speaking mulattos, 1% of whom own nearly half the country’s wealth. Furthermore, the infrastructure has all but collapsed and drug trafficking has corrupted the judicial system and the police.