Haiti. According to Countryaah.com, Haiti population in 2020 is estimated at 11,402,539. The hopes that the political stalemate that has practically prevailed since Michel Martelly took office in 2011 could be broken when Martelly and Congress reached an agreement in March. The so-called El Rancho Agreement, named after the hotel where the negotiations took place, stipulated reorganization of the electoral authority and that elections to the Senate would be held at the end of October to fill ten seats vacant for two years. Martelly also appointed a new provisional election commission in May, in accordance with the agreement, passed a new anti-corruption law and reformed the government. Among other things, members of the popular former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s party included Fanmi Lavalas.
The optimism increased after a report by the UN stabilization force MINUSTAH showed that the security situation in the country has improved significantly with, among other things, fewer murders and kidnappings. The international community paid tribute to the progress.
However, the hopes did not break. The election commission declared in August that the preparations for the election had not worked, partly because the necessary changes to the electoral law were not approved by the Senate. In addition, on August 10, 329 prisoners managed to escape from the Croix-des-Bouquets prison in the capital Port-au-Prince, which raised new questions about the legality of the legal system. The mass escape was the largest since the earthquake disaster in January 2010, and among the escapees was a well-known businessman, who was captured two days later.
At the same time, an arrest warrant was reported against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, accused of illegal money laundering, corruption and drug smuggling. Aristide’s supporters as well as international observers claimed that the prosecutor’s decision was politically conditional, and demonstrations with up to 2,000 participants against the government with clashes with police occurred on a regular basis. Former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1971–86) died October 4 in a heart attack. Duvalier, who returned from a 25-year-old political exile in France in 2011, had been charged with embezzlement and human rights violations but was granted amnesty by President Martelly and was expected to again play an important role in Haiti’s political life.