Over the last seven years, the United Nations has maintained four successive peacekeeping missions in Haiti and has worked with the Organisation of American States to create a new police force and promote human rights. However, as frequently-delayed municipal and parliamentary elections approach, there are those who believe that democracy has been more ‘held up’ than ‘upheld’ in this Caribbean nation of seven million people.
An elected president, a new police force, new schools and clinics and infrastructure improvements attest to the six-year international peacekeeping presence. Yet, Haiti remains strangled by numerous problems despite efforts to revive its weak economy and to stabilise its volatile politics. Rising crime, a moribund judiciary, a paralysed political system, high unemployment and a debilitating economy are among the main ailments hindering democratisation.