In 1825, France illegally extorted an “independence debt” from Haiti that amounts to $21 billion in today’s dollars. In effect, Haiti was forced to pay for its freedom. The crushing burden of the debt is the principle historic cause of Haiti’s underdevelopment, and is directly responsible for today’s grinding poverty in Haiti. France continues to resist pressure to repay the colossal independence debt. In August of 2010, a hundred prominent academics, authors, and human rights activists signed on to an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, arguing that the case for repayment was “morally, economically, and legally unassailable.” France dismissed the petition, pointing to its record of delivering other aid to Haiti, but did not address the legitimacy of the debt.
- Open Letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy Urging Restitution, signed by over 90 leading academics, authors, and other prominent figures.
- Haiti’s Independence Debt and Prospects for Restitution, by Anthony Phillips, May 2009
- Provide Justice, Not Charity, By Brian Concannon and Anthony Phillips, Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 2006
- Douze points en faveur de la restitution à Haϊti de la dette française(French), Paul Farmer, November 3, 2003
- France Dismisses Petition for it to Pay $17 Billion in Haiti Reparations,Christian Science Monitor, August 17, 2010
- Billions of dollars promised for Haiti fail to materialize, TheStar.com, August 16, 2010
- France urged to repay Haiti billions paid for its independence, The Guardian, August 15, 2010
- France Isn’t Paying Back What it Owes Haiti After All: The Question is, Why Not?,Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 16, 2010
- Haiti, We’re Sorry, -Deniece Alleyne LL.B, St. Kitts & Nevis Democrat, June 4, 2007