Haiti Under President Martelly: Current Conditions and Congressional Concerns [May 10, 2013] [open pdf - 632KB]
"Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti has struggled to overcome its centuries-long legacy of authoritarianism, extreme poverty, and underdevelopment. During that time, economic and social stability improved considerably, and many analysts believed Haiti was turning a corner toward sustainable development. Unfortunately, Haiti's development was set back by a massive earthquake in January 2010 that devastated much of the capital of Port-au-Prince and other parts of the country. Poverty remains massive and deep, and economic disparity is wide: Haiti remains the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Haiti is the Obama Administration's top foreign assistance priority for Latin American and Caribbean countries. Haiti's developmental needs and priorities are many. The Haitian government and the international donor community are implementing a 10-year recovery plan focusing on territorial, economic, social, and institutional rebuilding. An outbreak of cholera that began in late 2010 has swept across most of the country and further complicated assistance efforts. While some progress has been made in developing democratic institutions, they remain weak. In May 2011, following yet another controversial election, President René Préval was succeeded by Michel Martelly, a popular musician without any previous political experience. President Martelly's difficulty in forming a government and political gridlock, especially the lengthy and contentious delays in beginning a long overdue elections process, are hampering reconstruction efforts and frustrating international donors. Some steps toward elections have been made, including naming an electoral council and passing a political parties law."
CRS Report for Congress, R42559