Haiti Under President Martelly: Current Conditions and Congressional Concerns [February 12, 2014] [open pdf - 788KB]
"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. Economic and social stability improved considerably, and many analysts believed Haiti was turning a corner toward sustainable development when it was set back by a massive earthquake in January 2010 that devastated much of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Although it is recovering, poverty remains massive and deep, and economic disparity is wide: Haiti remains the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Haiti is a key foreign assistance priority for the Obama Administration in Latin American and the Caribbean. 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 in late 2010 has swept across most of the country and further complicated assistance efforts. Progress has been made in developing democratic institutions, although they remain weak. In 2011, following yet another controversial election, Michel Martelly, a popular musician without any previous political experience, became President. Martelly's difficulty in forming a government and ongoing political gridlock, especially the contentious delays in beginning a long overdue elections process, are hampering reconstruction efforts, frustrating international donors, and contributing to public protests against his administration. Some steps toward elections have been made-naming an electoral council and passing political parties and electoral laws-but still no date has been set."
CRS Report for Congress, R42559