On May 12, calls for France to restore Haiti’s “Independence Ransom” were renewed when Haiti saw its 2nd ever visit by a sitting French president. Instead of addressing the restitution issue directly, French presidents have cancelled Haiti’s debts and promised to help Haiti with development. Given the terrible price Haiti has paid France for its independence, many are adamant that these concessions are not enough for justice to be served.
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Dialogue on reparations for Haiti is long overdue
Nathalie Baptiste, Latin Correspondent
May 18, 2015
On May 12, French president Francois Hollande made history by becoming the first president of France to make a formal state visit to the former colony, Haiti.
Rather than a welcome parade, however, President Hollande was greeted by 200 protesters and renewed calls for reparations.
Calls for reparations are not brand new. After a devastating earthquake ripped through the capital city of Port-au-Prince in 2010, then-president Nicolas Sarkozy made the first visit by a sitting French president to Haiti—though it was not considered a formal state visit. More than 90 academics and scholars from Haiti, Canada, the United States, Europe and beyond signed an open letter to President Sarkozy urging the French government to pay the restitution Haiti is due.
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