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15 Dec 2011

Fun Facts About Haiti - The First Black Republic in the World!

By Alejandro Guevara Onofre

Haiti & Olympics
 Did you know... Haiti's shooters -- Ludovic Valborge, L. H. Clertmont,  Astrel Rolland, Destin Destine, C. Dupre, Eloi Metullus & Ludovic Augustin -- won a bronze medal at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games -- making it the first black nation in the globe to win a Summer Olympic medal. This medal made Haiti the poorest country ever to win an Olympic medal.  Surprisingly they do it in an island where there are few sports facilities. Certainly the Caribbean team was a "dark horse" in France.
 Katherine Dunham & Haiti
 Did you know... The island nation of Haiti was once home to Katherine Dunham, one of the most successful dancers of the 20th century. Undoubtedly she loved Haiti.  America's Katherine Dunham had long been fascinated by the Haitian culture and traditions. Her book "Island Possessed" ( 1969 ) is a tribute to this Caribbean nation. In 2002 she, who was born in Glenn Ellyn ( Illinois, USA ), forced the world to pay attention to the Haitian-boat people. Today Katherine is a national heroine in Haiti.
 National Symbols
 Did you know... Since 1804 Haiti has had four national flags.
 World-famous Haitians
 Did you know... Wyclef Neluset Jean -- Haiti's image abroad -- is a world-renowned Haitian musician. Currently he is a Haiti's advocate in the world.
 Haiti & the United States
 Did you know... Washington has close ties to Haiti. Since the 1930s, many American leaders have visited Haiti. In this context, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( 1933-1945 ) traveled to Haiti in 1934. Sixty-one years later, Bill Clinton became the second American president to come to Haiti. President Clinton arrived in Port-au-Prince to confer with Jean-Bertrand Aristide ( country's president ). On the other hand, Colin Powell, Secretary of  State, went to the country in 2004. In 2008, Laura Bush, America's First Lady, was the guest of honour of the Haitian government. Subsequently, Hillary Clinton, current Secretary of State, accepted an invitation to visit Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, she , who visited the country in 1998, met with high-ranking Haitian officials.
 In the mid-1990s, Jimmy Carter, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize and former U.S. president, played a key role in bringing an end to military rule in Haiti.
 Did you know... Five decades ago Haitians could expect to live 39 years. Today they can look forward to 60.

 Women & Power
 Did you know... In Haiti females were allowed to vote from 1950 -- Women make up a majority of the population. Over the past decades, this Caribbean nation has had two female leaders. In 1991 Ertha Pascal-Trouillot   -- one of the world's shortest-serving women presidents -- became the first black woman president in the Western Hemisphere. Four years on, Claudette Werleigh was named Head of Government by Haiti's Head of State Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On the other hand, Michaelle Jean, Canada's Governor-General, was born on the island of Haiti. She has lived in Canada since 1968. In 2006 Michaelle went to Port-au-Prince.
 Did you know... Haiti is about the size of Maryland. This country has been described as the "Pearl of the Caribbean".
 Africa & Haiti
 Did you know... In 1967 Ethiopia's Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Africa, arrived in Haiti for an official visit. During his visit to the first black nation in the world, Selassie met with Francois Duvalier, President for life of Haiti.
 Did you know... In the early 1800s Haiti became the first black republic on the planet. Before Haiti became a state, it had been a French colony.
 Haiti & the FIFA World Cup
 Did you know... In 1974  Haiti lived up to their reputation as one of the best teams in the Caribbean by winning the Concacaf Cup. Haiti became the first Caribbean soccer team to take the Concacaf title breaking a 30-year strong hold by Mexico. During that regional tournament, Haiti also qualified for the global championships in Munich, West Germany.  The country had never qualified for a major soccer tournament before. This international title gave Haiti a moment of joy and glory. In Europe, Haiti and Zaire -- today the Democratic Republic of the Congo ( Africa ) -- were the first black republics to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in the 20th century.
 Haiti & Miss Universe Pageant
 Did you know... Haiti's contestant, Gerthie David, who speaks French & English, came close to winning the Miss Universe pageant in San Salvador ( El Salvador, Central America ) in the mid-1970s. Surprisingly Gerthie -- who was the country's third representative --  became the second black woman to qualify for the finals in MU. Apparently Haiti's Gerthie David was supported by two international judges -- Sarah Vaughan ( an American-born Grammy-winning singer ) and Jean-Claude Killy (a former Olympic champ and current Olympic leader ). According to a newspaper of San Salvador, Miss Haiti was one of the 11 favorites to win the global title. She had surprised and delighted many at this international beauty pageant. On the other hand, in 1977, for the first time, Haiti sent a non-black woman to compete in the MU in the Dominican Republic.
 Did you know... Haiti participated at the 1967 Montreal World Exposition in Canada, along with 70 nations. Likewise, it sent a national delegation to the African Festival in Dakar ( Senegal ) in the 1960s.

Alejandro Guevara Onofre: He is a freelance writer. Alejandro is of Italian, African and Peruvian ancestry. He has published more than seventy-five research paper in English, and more than twenty in Spanish, concerning the world issues, olympic sports, countries, and tourism. His next essay is called "The Dictator and Alicia Alonso". He is an expert on foreign affairs. Alejandro is the first author who has published a world-book encyclopedia in Latin America.

He admires Frida Kahlo (Mexican painter), Jos� Gamarra (former president of the Bolivian Olympic Committee ,1970- 1982), Hillary Clinton (ex-First Lady of the USA), and Jimmy Carter (former President of the USA). Alejandro said: "The person who I admire the most is Jos� Gamarra . He devoted his professional and personal life to sport. Jos� played an important role in the promotion of Olympism in Bolivia -it is one of the Third World`s poorest countries- and Latin America. His biography is interesting". The sportspeople he most admire is Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman. "This African-American sportswoman is my idol... "

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