Haiti. In February, René Préval took office in the first
peaceful takeover of power since independence in 1804.
Préval succeeded Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was re-elected
in 1994 with the help of the United States. Preval, which
belongs to the Aristide-based Plateforme Politique Lavalas
(PPL), received 88% of the votes. The turnout was 27%.
The president took office when the situation was tense in
the capital Port-au-Prince prior to the withdrawal of the UN
force of 6,000 men. However, the UN extended its mandate
(twice during the year), and 1,800 soldiers and 300
policemen remained until the end of the year. The 2,500
American soldiers left the country in the spring.
Countryaah.com, new Prime Minister Rony Smarth, PPL, formed government
with 11 new ministers. PPL dominates the country's political
life and received 80% of the vote in the 1995 parliamentary
The unrest continued during the year and the Opposition
Movement for National Development (Mobilization pour le
Développement National, MDN), linked to the former military
junta, was suspected of being behind the violence and riots.
In September, the United States sent 30 security agents to
protect the president.
In the spring and summer, 60 children in Haiti died of
liver failure caused by infected, domestically produced
medicine. The country is the poorest in the Western
Hemisphere. According to a study presented by the World
Watcher magazine, a family in Haiti uses 80% of their food
income. The corresponding figure for a family in the United
States is 9%.