Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why Haiti Needs “Independence Ransom” Paid Back

Decades after Haiti gained its independence, France sent war ships to its coast and demanded 150 million gold francs, plus interest, else France would invade Haiti and not recognize its sovereignty. Centuries later, Haiti is still feeling the consequences of that “independence ransom.” That’s why when French President Hollande mentioned France’s debt towards Haiti but didn’t mention reparations, many Haitians and activists were upset and wondered when France will finally be accountable for its actions.

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Opinion: France’s empty, meaningless morale “obligation” towards Haiti, non merci

Sydney Noel,
May 12, 2015

When France’s president François Hollande last week, said during his inauguration of the Caribbean Center expressions and trafficking memory and slavery (ACT) at Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe, that he would fulfill France’s debt towards Haiti, many hopes were aroused, hopes that were soon to be disappointed.

To understand what all this fuss in local, international and social media was all about we need to go back to the very founding a Haiti. The founding of this poor, seemingly irrelevant Caribbean country that continues to be the point of departure for many of this world most important discussions about colonialism, racism, injustice, resistance and revolution.

In 1804, Haiti won its independence from France after 14 years of bloody battles between France’s colonial army; as a result, Haiti not only became the first country in the world to abolish slavery; by force, the Haitian Revolution remains the only successful slave revolt in human history.

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