Haiti Culture

Haiti Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Haiti

According to HOMOSOCIETY.COM, Haiti is a country located in North America. The daily spread in Haiti is very small (3 items per 1,000 residents, 2000). There are two daily newspapers: Le Matin (founded in 1908, edition: 5,000 copies) and the evening newspaper Le Nouvelliste (founded in 1898, about 6,000 copies).

Haiti has about thirty radio stations, both state (Radio Nationale d’Haïti) and private. The government- owned Télévision Nationale d’Haïti broadcasts in four channels in Creole, French and Spanish. There are also a couple of independent broadcasters and a pay-TV company (Télé Haiti). The media was heavily employed during the military dictatorship 1991-94, after which the work situation of journalists has improved significantly. The distribution of radio and TV is also modest: 55 radio and 5 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to CALCULATORINC, Haitian culture is permeated by the African heritage. This applies to dance and music as well as crafts and painting. In popular culture, voodoo is strongly present.

Both the traditional and the modern Haitian music have spread widely. The leading Haitian musicians often go to Paris or the United States, such as the world-renowned hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean, who has lived for much of his life in the United States but has always been strongly involved in his home country, not least after the difficult 2010 earthquake. however, being allowed to stand as a candidate in the presidential election that year was rejected.

Haitians who have emigrated have also spread Haitian dance, such as méringue and compas, abroad – not least to neighboring countries Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

According to PROGRAMINGPLEASE.COM, Haitian visual art can be seen on the country’s buses, so-called tap-tap, and on mass-produced “Caribbean” souvenirs. The country’s naïve painting attracted international attention in the 1940s, when the artist Hector Hyppolite (1894-1948) was introduced by the French surrealist André Breton. At the same time, Hyppolite was a voodoo priest (see Religion) and used popular ideas in his art. Another naivist painter of the same generation was Philomé Obin (1892–1986), who painted crowds, parties, historical motifs and the like. Together with his students he founded a school in the city of Cap-Haïtien. Today there is a large group of young artists who continue this art form.

Edwidge Danticat, born in Haiti in 1969 but now active in the United States, has written several novels about his country of birth, two of which have been published in Swedish: Magic Links and A Harvest of Tears.



Agreement prepares for transitional government

November 10

A number of opposition parties and organizations sign an agreement to form a transitional government if / when President Jovenel Moïse resigns or is forced out. Under the agreement, a judge in the cassation court is to be appointed president and the prime minister appointed by a committee formed by some of the signatory parties. The agreement covers most of the opposition with the exception of Fanmi Lavalas, who considers that the cassation court is part of the system that needs to be changed. Violent protests against President Moïse have now been going on since early September.


Two dead during new protests

October 27th

Hundreds of police officers and supporters of them are demonstrating in Port-au-Prince with demands for higher wages, while government opponents are conducting yet another protest march. In connection with the protests, a man shoots at a crowd and hits a person who dies, after which other protesters kill the perpetrator and burn his body.

Continued demands for the president’s resignation

22 October

Thousands of Catholics take part in a protest march against President Jovenel Moïse, demanding he leave his post. In recent weeks, a number of occupational categories or social groups have demonstrated one by one, all with the same requirements. Moïse is accused of being both corrupt and incompetent.

The peacekeeping effort ends

15 October

The UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti ends after 15 years when the Minujusth police force (see October 2019) is shut down, according to a decision by the UN Security Council in April. The peacekeeping operation has gradually shrunk and is now being replaced by a smaller UN political presence.


New protests against Moïse

September 27th

Comprehensive protests shake the country and lead to widespread violence in Port-au-Prince, in particular. The protesters demand President Jovenel Moïse’s resignation and dismiss a proposal for reconciliation and a unity government, which he proposed in a radio address to the nation a few days earlier. Moïse has canceled its planned speech at the UN General Assembly due to the unrest. Four people have died in the last days of violence, with looting and fires.

Senator shoots outside Parliament

September 23

Two people are injured when a Haitian senator, Jean Marie Ralph Féthière, pulls a gun and shoots on his way out of the parliament building in Port-au-Prince. Féthière claims he defended himself against armed individuals. One of the injured is a press photographer for the news agency AP and wearing a protective vest with the word “press” clearly marked. The incident occurs in connection with the Senate meeting to approve Fritz-William Michel as prime minister (see July 2019), and protesters gather outside the building. Severe fuel shortages have contributed to widespread protests against the government in recent weeks.


New prime minister appointed

July 22nd

President Jovenel Moïse appoints Fritz-William Michel as prime minister, after Jean-Michel Lapin failed to get parliamentary support (see March 2019). Michel gets the assignment after talks between Moïse and the Speaker of both chambers, which means that a dialogue between the country’s political heavyweights has now resumed after several months of turbulence. Moïse has been heavily employed following allegations that he was involved in the embezzlement of aid (see May 2019). After a couple of days, Michel, a relatively unknown former employee of the Ministry of Finance, appoints a transitional government consisting of nine women and nine men. He becomes the fourth head of government since Moïse took office in February 2017.


UN report on gang massacres

21 June

The UN reports that at least 26 people were killed in a massacre that took place in the La Saline slum in Port-au-Prince in November 2018. A local government representative and a couple of police officers must have been present when armed gangs attacked residents of the area. The UN report states that the figure may be higher, based on testimony, and human rights organizations have previously stated that 71 people died. Several group rapes also took place. The UN criticizes the police for not intervening and giving the perpetrators time to get rid of the body.

Protesters demand the resignation of the president

June 9

Several thousand protesters march in Port-au-Prince demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. Both opposition parties and civic groups are behind the protest a week after Moïse was accused of embezzlement. Clashes occur and at least two buildings near the police headquarters are set on fire.


The president is accused of embezzlement

May 31st

The Supreme Court accuses President Jovenel Moïse of playing a central role in the embezzlement of Venezuelan aid that would have gone to repair roads. The charge is linked to the Petrocaribe scandal, which has shaken the country since the summer of 2018 and triggered violent protests.

Medical protest against deficiencies

May 20

Doctors at the State University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Hatitis’s largest hospital, strike to draw attention to the lack of materials, poor sanitary conditions and missing wages. According to doctors, there is neither oxygen nor gloves at the emergency room – when a patient comes in, the staff must send the relatives to try to procure materials. The rooms at the hospital are overcrowded and waste management is not working. The striking doctors do their general duty after completing medical studies and earn only the equivalent of $ 100 a month, but have nevertheless received no salary for six months.


The government loses the confidence vote

March 18th

Parliament’s second chamber votes with numbers 93–6 to dismiss Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant and his government, citing that during his six months in power he failed to improve the living conditions of Haitians. Three members cast their votes in the vote, which is carried out after a very short debate. Céant calls the vote unconstitutional and unacceptable because he was not present himself, and says he does not accept the result. The country is in an increasingly acute political and economic crisis that has led both the United States and Canada to discourage its citizens from traveling to Haiti. After a few days, President Moïse appoints Minister of Culture and Communication Jean-Michel Lapin as acting prime minister.


Foreigners are arrested with weapons

February 17th

A group of foreign nationals with military weapons are arrested in Port-au-Prince. According to police, five Americans, a Russian and a Serb, are arrested along with a Haitian. It is unclear what the group had for motives. Police refute charges that they should have hired mercenaries. The situation in the country remains unstable and both the United States and Canada have urged their citizens not to travel to Haiti. A group of about 130 Canadian tourists have been evacuated by helicopters from a tourist resort where they were stranded due to the unrest.

Mass escape from prison

February 12

All 78 interns in a prison in Aquin manage to escape, according to eyewitnesses, while hostile protesters gather outside the police station next to a prison. Demonstrations and violence are continuing around the country and at least six people are now reported to have been killed.

Port-au-Prince paralyzed by protests

February 11

The growing and violent protests of recent days have left the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince largely deserted as the week begins. Schools, shops and government agencies are closed, barricades have been erected in their quarters and both fires and looting have occurred. A “contact group” consisting of representatives of the UN, the EU and the OAS, as well as Brazil, France, Canada, Spain, Germany and the United States, calls on the government to open a dialogue on the occasion of the crisis, but so far it has remained silent.

New protests against the president

February 10

At least four people have been killed and dozens injured over several days as new demonstrations were conducted demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. The protests began on the two-year anniversary of Moïse’s entry, February 7. The anger is great over poor living conditions with a lack of security as well as electricity and food. Some talk about hunger cravings. High inflation and a large fall in the currency have contributed to the difficulties. The Supreme Court has also recently published a report in which over ten former ministers and senior officials are accused of financial neglect and possible embezzlement of development aid from Venezuela (see also October 2018). Moïse also figures in the report as former manager of a company that received money for a road project without any agreement being signed.

Haiti Culture

About the author