Caribbean Islands Menu Main Menu What's New Best of this Site Radio History Clandestine Radio

POR LAS RUTAS DE QUISQUEYA

------------------------------

The following item is taken from Relampago DX #116 (April 2000) by Takayuki Inoue Nozaki. It is placed here with permission.

HAITI

The Republic of Haiti, situated between 18and 20north latitude and 72and 74west longitude, makes up 27,750 square kilometers (i.e. 17,205 square miles) of the western third of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic to the east. The two countries share a 388 kilometers border that was established in a series of treaties, the most recent of which was signed in 1936. Haiti contains a few remaining rain-forested mountains and some fertile river valleys, but also massive areas of desertification and ranges of eroded, denuded mountains. It has two large peninsulas, the northern and southern claws, separated by the Golfe de la Gonâve. The mountain ranges include the Massif de la Hotte, running west to east from the extreme western tip of the southern claw, which reaches a height of 2347 meters at Pic Macaya; and the Massif de la Selle, which runs west to east just southeast of Port-au-Prince, peaking at Pic la Selle of 2674 meters, the highest point in Haiti. On the northwest peninsula are the Montagnes de Nord-Ouest and Chaine des Trois Pitons, which reach a height of 1041 meters.

Haiti has a primarily tropical climate. The average annual temperature is 26 degrees centigrade, the highs and low varying with altitude rather than with season. The average daily high is 32 degrees centigrade, and average nightly low is 21.5 degrees centigrade. The hottest months of the year are July and August, when the average daily high rises to 34 degrees centigrade. The coolest months are between December and March, during which the average daily high is 30.75 degrees centigrade. The country's two rainy seasons are April-May and September-October. Hurricanes which have had catastrophic effects on Haiti, seasonally race across the northern Caribbean from August through October with wind speeds as high as 200 kilometers per hour. Hurricane Georges in 1998 was the last to wreak havoc with disastrous results. Reportedly at least 240 people died and thousands were left homeless, and the fragile infrastructure fell apart as it gravely lost bridges, roads, schools and drainage systems in damages estimated at 1,2 billion dollars.

The estimated population of Haiti in 1998 is approximately six million. People of African origin make up about 95% of the population, and the other 5% is composed of mulattos, Middle Easterners and the descendants of French settlers. It is believed that some of the population are descendants of the union between the Arawak and Taíno Indians, the original indigenous population, and African slaves. Members of the mulatto class, which constitutes half of the country's elite and controls most of the country's economy, are the descendants of African slaves and French plantation owners. Many immigrants from the Middle East, Syria and Lebanon in particular, arrived in the middle 19th century looking for business opportunities.

While for many years French has been considered the official language of Haiti, only 10% of the population can speak it. The majority of Haitians speak only Creole, a hybrid language developed between French colonists and African slaves. The different languages spoken in Haitian society deepen the already massive divisions between social classes. The government and the judicial system both operate in French. The illiterate masses are therefore excluded from civil society, leaving the control in the hands of the upper and middle classes. Most schools teach French, which further disadvantages Creole-only speakers. Since the 1980's there has been a movement among reformists toward the increased use of Creole in civil society. Politicians are making more speeches in Creole, musicians sing in it, several radio stations broadcast programs in it, and there is currently a weekly newspaper, Libèt published in Creole.

PORT-AU-PRINCE

Port-au-Prince, the capital of the Republic of Haiti, is a very colorful, animated city of two million inhabitants, teeming with bustlingly people and traffic. The capital city sprawls from the docks and waterside slums of the bay up to the sides of the surrounding mountains, where it meets the more affluent town of Pétionville. The walls of the city are decorated with wonderful murals and its streets adorned by the brightly painted minivans, locally called "taptap" that transport passesngers with the cheapest means. Port-au-Prince is a friendly city, but there are also many distressing signs of poverty on the streets, such as children washing in ditches, and ragpicking on foul dumping sites, desperate beggars and men working like packhorses.

In 1742, Governor Marquis de Carnage obtained the agreement of the metropolitan authorities to commence development of a capital in a "central, strategic and salubrious position". On November 26, 1749 by order of the king of France, Port-au-Prince was declared the capital of what was then Saint-Domingue. The broad bay on which the city was to be built had been christened Port-au-Prince in 1706 by the captain of a French vessel named the Prince, which was anchored there. The initial site of the town extended from Bel Air to Rue Pavé, a tiny 78 hectares. It soon expanded to about 200 hectares and remained this size until the 1800's. Toward the end of the 19th century, the city's wealthier residents seeking shelter from political acts of arson and robbery, abandoned the town for a more rural site to the east if the capital. This created the suburb of Turgeau and, a little later, Bois Verna. At the same time, less salubrious areas were growing to the north on the marshy lands of La Saline. The US occupation of 1915 improved the city's infrastructure and hygiene as drains were built and garbage was collected.

GETTING INTO HAITI

Citizens of many countries except for some European countries, Canada, and United States are required to obtain a visa from Haitian embassy or consulate prior o departure. Haiti is one of a few Latin American countries which currently require a visa for Japanese travelers, and getting the tourist visa in Japan is quite complicated. A lot of documents including a valid passport, a completed visa application form, two passport-size photographs, a recommendation letter issued by place of employment, travel plan in Haiti, airline ticket between Japan and Haiti, and a fee of 5,000 yens (i.e. US$45), are needed apply for the visa, and some days later, the applicant should be present for an interview with officials of the Haitian Embassy in Tokyo, to explain why he or she wants to go to the country. From my experience in journeying abroad, I have learned that the easiest way to apply for a tourist visa is to apply at an embassy or consulate of those countries, located in the capitals of neighboring countries, or in the border towns. Therefore, while in the Dominican Republic where Japanese need nothing more than the valid passports to enter, I tried to obtain a visa from the Embassy of Haiti in Santo Domingo. Indeed, it was very easy. I applied for it with a simple visa application form, my passport, my photograph, and a fee of US$30, and three hours later, the tourist visa valid for 90 days was issued.

The easiest way to get into Haiti is naturally by air. Few airlines fly to Porto-au-Prince, but among the ones that do are the major carriers: American Airlines offers daily service from Miami; and Air Canada runs a twice weekly flight from Toronto. Caribintair operates daily flights, and other small airlines provide regular service between Santo Domingo and Porto-au-Prince. However, I preferred to cross the border between these two countries of Hispaniola. There are two points where it is permitted for foreigners to cross between the Dominican Republic and Haiti: Ouanaminthe/Dajabón in the north, and Malpasse/Jimaní in the south. The northern crossing links Santiago and Puerto Plata, to Cap-Hatïen, and the southern crossing links Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince. There is a small crossing point in the center of the country at Belladere/Elías Piña, but according to locals there is no immigration office on either side to get entrance and exit stamps for passports, and it is difficult to find public transportation on the route.

The overland border crossing between Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince is connected by an excellent paved highway. Two small bus companies including "Caribe Tours" and "Conejo Tours" offer the direct service from Monday to Saturday. The bus stop is located in front of the Haitian Embassy at Calle Juan Sánchez Ramírez in Santo Domingo. The trip in comfortable, air-conditioned coach, costs US$19.4 (300 pesos dominicanos) for the seven-hour drive. Both buses' departure time is nominally scheduled at 10:00 local time. However, with the driver and driver assistants yelling out of the door to make the coach full with passengers, the bus which I took, left for Haiti at 11:25. It first steered the route to Barahora, the largest community located on the Península de Pedernales. With a population of 90,000, Barahora is a pleasant town, which has been developed on sugarcane farming and on salt, gypsum and bauxite mining. While the bus stopped about one hour for passengers who need to obtain documents or visas from the Haitian consulate in Barahora, I turned on my radio and scanned all of the appropriate bands. For DXers, Barahora is also known as the site of Radio Barahora, a commercial radio station which formerly operated on 4930 kHz in the 60 meter band, but its shortwave signal was not traced. I noticed that 2 medium wave stations and 5 FM stations were on the air in Barahona.

With Lake Enriquillo on the left side, the bus passed Neiba, Duvergé, El Limón, and then Jimaní, 5 kilometers east of the crossing point. I arrived at the border at 17:05 Dominican time, and the driver assistant took the passports with the departure tax of US$1.6 (25 pesos dominicanos) from the passengers to get exit stamps at the immigration office of the Dominican Republic. The border was closed by a massive iron door, and was guarded by soldiers. The bus left the Dominican territory, and then continued to cross the border zone of about one kilometer, seeing on the right Lake Azuay. Arriving at the immigration office of Haiti in Malepasse, the passengers got entry stamps and their baggage was checked at customs. Here an expensive entry fee of US$20 per person was charged. As there is one hour of difference between the two countries, I set my watch from 17:20 (the Dominican time) to 16:20 (the Haitian time). Porto-au-Prince is 55 kilometers a way from the crossing point, and it took about two hours because of traffic near the capital. At 18:20 I arrived at Port-au-Prince which was under darkness due to lack of electricity. Checking into the Park Hotel, closed to the Champ de Mars, I immediately turned on my radio and did some band-scanning. Only one station on medium wave, several stations on FM, and no Haitian station on shortwave, were traced in that evening. I thought most medium wave outlets signed off before sunset, and only one station was on the air at that time.

RADIO IN PORTO-AU-PRINCE

According to the World Radio and Television Handbook 2000, there are 24 medium wave and 31 FM stations listed as operating in Port-au-Prince. As of December 1998, I confirmed that only two medium wave, and 28 FM stations were currently on the air. When I visited Radio Nationale d'Haiti, a technical staff informed me that several stations which had formerly operated on 1080 kHz, could not broadcast with the transmitting equipemnt for medium wave due to lack of operation expenses, or transmitter failure. Compared with FM transmitters, medium wave is higly expensive, and presently FM transmission is enough to cover the city, with some hundred watts. Several stations have been on the air on FM instead of medium wave outlet. Commercial broadcasting is not a prosperous business in Haiti today, and even the owners of stations cannot exist on income from the stations. Contrary to the situation in the Dominican Republic, where radio broadcasting is today flourishing as never before, the Haitian stations show signs of decay and decline, with the exception of the two main missionary stations, Radio Lumiere (660 kHz) and Radio Voix de L'esperance (1560 kHz) which are definitely expanding, thanks largely to the contributions of American church members.

The majority of FM commercial stations is broadcast in French with slight Haitian intonation, but some stations also broadcast in Creole for audience from rural audiences. These commercial stations provide music, light entertainment, information, and commercial advertisements. Radio France Internationale (89.3 MHz) has daily programming from Paris, providing by far the best news source for Haitian listeners.

Following is a monitoring list of radio stations in Port-au-Prince that were operating on medium wave, shortwave and FM as of late December of 1998. It also includes several radio stations listed in the World Radio TV Handbook 2000, which were not audible during my stay in Port-au-Prince.

Medium wave


570.0 4V-- Radio Vision 2000, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
590.0 4V-- Radio Ti Moun, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
610.0 4VJS Radio L'Eternal est Grand, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
630.0 4V-- Voix de ODS, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
660.0 4VI Radio Lumiere, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts at 1000-0200 parallel with 88.1 MHz FM.
820.0 4V-- Radio Tropicale, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
850.0 4VJH Radio Petion-Ville, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
910.0 4V-- Radio Kyskeya, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
960.0 4VCD Radio Carillon, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
990.0 4VCPS Radio Cacique, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1080.0 4VDN Radio Nationale d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince; has been off the air for lack of operation expenses.
1120.0 4V-- Radio Magic, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1150.0 4VAB Radio Caraibes, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1170.0 4VRS Radio Soleil, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1210.0 4VLS Radio Plus, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1240.0 4VSJ Radio Haïti International, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1280.0 4VAM Radio Métropole, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1330.0 4VJLD Radio Antilles Internationale, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1360.0 4BRL Radio Liberté, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1380.0 4VSS Radio Port-au-Prince, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1430.0 4VGM Radio MBC, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1470.0 4VAA Radio Lakansyel, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1500.0 R4VOC Radio Haiti Flambeau Caraibes, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
1560.0 4VVE Radio Voix de L'esperance, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.

FM


88.1 Radio Lumiere, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts at 1000-0200 parallel with 630 kHz.
88.5 Radio Kyskeya, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. ID "Kyskeya ... sur les ondas, à partir de 88.7 MHz FM."
89.3 Radio France Internationale, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
89.5 Radio Voix de L'esperance, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day parallel with 1560 kHz
90.1 Radio Phare, Port-au-Prince; is active, but its operation schedule is not confirmed.
90.5 Signal FM, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. ID "Vous écoutes Signal FM 90.5 au stéréo." - "Signal FM ... la génération deux mille." - "Au cadre de l'Amérique, dans le ... Caraïbe, 90.5 le signal de la musique, de l'information, de l'éducation, du sport. Signal FM (plus loin, plus long plus ...)"
90.9 Radio Ti Moun, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
91.3 Tropic FM, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
91.7 Voix de ODS, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
92.1 Radio Guinée, Port-au-Prince; ID "Sur le 92.1 FM stéréo, vous écoutes Radio Guinée, la fréquence de nuf(?) départment."
92.5 Radio Boussole, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
93.5 Radio Haïti International, Port-au-Prince; broadcast at 1000-0300 daily. ID "Ici RHI Radio Haïti Internationale ... sur 1240 kHz AM, 96.9 MHz. 93.5 MHz FM. Radio Haïti Internationale, la station des six millions d'Haïtiennes. Haïtiennes du terroir, Haïtiennes d'outre-mer, nous émettons d'Haïti, la première république noire du monde."
94.1 Radio Liberté, Port-au-Prince; is active, but its operation schedule is not confirmed.
94.9 Radio MBC, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
96.1 Radio Verite, Port-au-Prince; is active, but its operation schedule is unknown.
96.7 Radio Delta, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
96.9 Radio Haïti International, Port-au-Prince; broadcast at 1000-0300. ID "Des voeux de bonheur, de justice, de solidarité et de prospérité a nos auditeurs fidèles et aux comme auditeurs intelligentes de Radio Haïti. Depuis 63 ans vous avez fait, la différence."
98.5 Radio Ibo, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
99.5 Radio Vision 2000, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. ID "Ici Radio Vision Deus mille".
100.1 Radio Métropole, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. ID "This is Radio Métropole, playing the world's most beautiful music." The medium wave outlet 4VAM on 1280kHz was inactive.
100.5 Radio Rotation, Port-au-Prince; was not heard.
100.9 Radio Magic Stereo, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
101.3 Radio Super Gemini, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
101.7 Énergie FM, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. IDs "Énergie FM 101.7 en stéréophonique." - "Passer un excellent week-end en écountant Énergie FM. Passer un excellent week-end en écountant le 101.7"
102.1 Radio Nationale d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts at 0900-0200 daily. ID "Radio Nationale vous captez a sur 1080 AM, 105.1 FM, 102.1 FM stéréo ... 1080 AM, 105.1 FM,
102.1 FM stéréo, OK."
102.9 Radio Super Star, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
103.3 Radio Mélodie FM, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. ID "Mélodie, 103.3".
104.1 Stéréo Sodec, Port-au-Prince; was not audible during my stay in Port-au-Prince.
104.5 Radio Galaxie, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
105.1 Radio Nationale d'Haïti, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts at 0900-0200 daily. ID "De 105.1 FM de la Radio Nationale d'Haïti."
106.1 Radio Haïti, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts at 0900-0200. ID "Radio Haïti."
106.9 Radio Kadans, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day.
107.5 Radio Solidarité, Port-au-Prince; broadcasts for 24 hours a day. IDs "Radio Solidarité 107.5 en stéréo digital." -"De nouveau sur vôtre cadran, Radio Solidarité 107.5 FM en stéréo digital."

----------------
--------------

This website is maintained by Don Moore,
Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995
.

My Address Is In This Graphic