POPULATION:
8,732,308

LITERACY RATE:
55.7%
SELF DEFENSE FORCES:
   Haitian National Armed Forces
LANGUAGES:
 French (official), Creole (official)
ETHNIC GROUPS:
      black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
BORDERING COUNTRIES:
The Dominican Republic
HAITI - An already poverty-stricken nation, Haiti was torn apart by drug wars after the United States created designer plagues hit, wiping most of the drug crops from the earth. Until virus-resistant strains were created, the existing product, unharmed by the virus, was a hotly-contested item, which made Haiti, a favorite transit point of the Colombian cartels, a virtual battleground country. Now, as peace begins to settle in, rumors spread of the jungle being stalked by what some reports call a demon, a god, a crocodile-man, and even satan himself. Attacks are usually few and far between, but when such an attack takes place on a village, few are left alive, and those that are soon go mad from the memories of the demon rending those in its path in two, with no rhyme or reason.

Trained and equipped by the United States, Haiti has a small standing army of 40,000-50,000, including army, navy, air force, and coast guard, all beholden to the president, as well as a 1,000 man personal secret police of the president, all of whom are trained Houngans, who act as enforcers of the president's will.

The Rebels of Baron Samedi are a nuisance to the current government, using both fear and guerilla tactics to steal supplies as well as strike government outposts, using stolen supplies, as well as nanovirus-augmented voodoo zombies created from kidnapped citizens and soldiers.

Economy Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. A favorite midpoint for Colombian cartels, a large portion of the country's economy is fueled by illicit financial transactions, money laundering and smuggling, and drug sales to the populace, as well as manufacturing and growth of drugs such as cannabis and opium. The government is also quietly backed by Biotechnia, providing financial assistance.

50 Haiti Gourdes = 1 Euro-dollar (Inflation during rebel fighting and economic instability may fluctuate the exchange rate by 1d100%)

Haiti is situated on the western part of the second largest island in the Greater Antilles, Hispaniola. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean only behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic respectively. Haiti at its closest point is only 80km away from Cuba. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains with small coastal plains and river valleys. The country's largest crop-producing and one of Haiti's most fertile river valleys is the Plaine de l'Artibonite. The east and central part of the island is a large elevated plateau. The highest point in Haiti is Pic la Selle at 2,680 m (8,793 feet). The 360 km (224-mile) border is shared with the Dominican Republic. Haiti also contains several islands. The famous island of Tortuga (Île de la Tortue) is located off the coast of northern Haiti. The arrondissement of La Gonâve is located on the island of the same name, in the Gulf of Gonave. Gonave Island is moderately populated by rural villagers. Île à Vache (Island of The Cow) is located off the tip of southwestern Haiti. It is a rather lush island with many beautiful sights. Also part of Haiti are the Cayemites and Ile de Anacaona.

In 1925, Haiti was a lush tropical paradise, with 60% of its original forest covering the lands and mountainous regions. Since then, the population has cut down all but 2% of its forest cover, and in the process has destroyed fertile farmland soils, while contributing to desertification. Erosion has been severe in the mountainous areas. Pictures from space glaringly show the stark difference in forestation between Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic. Most Haitian logging is done to produce charcoal, the country's chief source of fuel. The plight of Haiti's forests has attracted international attention, and has led to numerous reforestation efforts, but these have met with little success to date. Despite the large environmental crises, Haiti retains a very high amount of biodiversity in proportion to its small size. The country is home to more than 6,000 plants in which 35% are endemic and 220 species of birds in which 21 species are endemic. The country's high biodiversity is due to its mountainous topography and fluctuating elevations in which each elevation harbors different microclimates and its own endemic fauna and flora. The country's varied scenery include lush green cloud forests (in some of the mountain ranges and the protected areas), high mountain peaks, cactus-strewn desert landscapes (due to the deforestation), and palm tree-lined beaches.

Haitian culture is a mix of primarily African and French elements with lesser influences from Spanish and minor influence from Taíno culture. The European and African element is greatest however in nearly all aspects of society.

Haitian Méringue, a tropical musical genre very similar and considered the parent genre to the Merengue of the Dominican Republic, is popular in Haiti. The dance of the same name is considered by many to be the national dance of Haiti; however, there is some controversy regarding its origins. Of the dance, one story alleges it originated with slaves who were chained together and, of necessity, were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of the drums; however, the most popular story relates that a great hero of the revolution who had been crippled in one leg was welcomed home with a victory celebration. It was known that he loved to dance but all he could do now, was step with one leg and drag the other to close. The imagery of both stories is important; both describe stepping side and dragging the other leg to close both.

Folklore often categorized into both European (Spanish & French mythology) and African folklore has become a part of Haitian culture. With it many musical styles have arisen due to its influences. However, The style of music most recognized in Haiti is the wildly popular Kompa or "Compas", a musical genre born of French and Spanish music combined with African-derived drumming and Haitian Creole-sung verses. Haiti's music (especially Compas) is very similar to its Spanish-speaking neighbors yet unique in its own right in that it is a mixed blend of African-derived cultural practices ranging from drumming to dance, and European rhythms as well as modern sound, however the lyrics and feel of the genre are different from that of their Spanish counterparts.

The most festive time of the year in Haiti is during Carnival (referred to as "Karnaval" in Creole or Mardi Gras). The festivities start a couple of days before Ash Wednesday. The cities are filled with music, parade floats and people dancing and singing in the streets. The three-day Carnival that ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is traditionally a time of all-night parties and escape from daily life. Rara is a festival celebrated by a significant number of the population as well and its celebration has led to it becoming a style of carnival music. Many of the youth also attend parties and enjoy themselves at nightclubs called discos, pronounced in local slang as "deece-ko" (not like the discos of the U.S, and attend Bal. This term derives from the word ballad, and these events are often celebrated by crowds of many. Mainstream dance music is played all throughout.

The most widely practiced religion of Haiti is Christianity. Haiti is similar to the rest of Latin America in that it is a predominately Roman Catholic country with 80% professing Catholicism and approximately 20% professing Protestantism. A growing but small population of Muslims exist in the country; principally the capital of Port-au-Prince. Vodou, an African-based religion is also widely practiced. It is more widespread in the rural parts of the country. The exact number of Vodou practitioners is unknown however it is believed that a significant amount of the population practice it, often alongside their Christian faith. Strict Catholics in the country often see Vodou as a false religion used to scare people. The claim of the majority of Haitians practicing Vodou is frequently denied by the Haitian population both in the country and abroad.

The cuisine of Haiti is influenced in a large part by French cuisine and to a lesser extent Spanish cuisine as well as some native staples such as cassava (kasav), yam, and maize (mayi). Haitian food, though unique in its own right, shares much in common with the rest of Latin America. Some popular dishes are:

Diri ak Pwa: Rice and Beans, Griyo: Fried Pork, Kabrit: Goat, Sos poul: Chicken in sauce, Mayi moulen: Cornmeal, Sòs pwa: a bean sauce, Legume: Vegetables (okra, eggplant, tomatoes, and more ingredients), Poisson: Fish, Diri ak Let: A dessert composed of sweetened milk and rice, Banann Fri/Peze: (Fried Plantains, also popular in the Dominican Republic)Soup, eggs, meat, and sandwiches are what most Haitians enjoy for breakfast.



(Written by Joe "Citizen X" Klemann and Hooplah: Some Information is taken from the CIA Worldfactbook, Wikipedia, Geographia.com, and Cyberpunk 2020.)