More and more news sources are following reporting on the story of France’s $40B debt to Haiti. Here’s Democracy Now! with a video of former THAC member Isabel MacDonald:
Further, Al Jazeera writes on the topic:
A group of activists is calling on France to repay a 200-year-old “independence debt,” now valued at $22bn, to Haiti in a bid to help rebuild the earthquake-ravaged country.
In an open letter to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, intellectuals and politicians said the money would cover construction costs and a shortfall in cash promised by international donors.
France imposed a debt of 150m gold francs on Haiti in return for recognition of the colony’s independence, following a successful slave revolt in 1791.
Although the original sum, equivalent to 10 times Haiti’s annual revenue, was reduced, the country was still paying it off in 1947.
Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake in January this year that killed more than 250,000 people and left much of the country in ruins.
Campaigners, including Noam Chomsky, the US linguist, and Naomi Klein, the Canadian author, described the debt as “patently illegitimate … and illegal”.
“The ‘independence debt’, which is today valued at over 17bn euros illegitimately forced a people who had won their independence in a successful slave revolt, to pay again for the freedom,” the letter, published in Britain’s Guardian and France’s Liberation on Sunday, said.