Sarkozy Arrives in Haiti, To Pay Historical Debt?
|Wednesday, 17 February 2010 10:18|
Some Haitians are welcoming France's new interest in their nation as a counterbalance to the United States, which has sent troops there three times in the past 16 years. But Sarkozy's visit is also reviving bitter memories of the crippling costs of Haiti's 1804 independence.Of course, in 2003, then President Jean Bertrand Aristide demanded France pay back its historical debt to Haiti. The amount asked for was over $21 billion. However, before the case could make it to court, Aristide was ousted in a coup and flown to the Central African Republic on a US Military plane.
According to the AP:
One official close to the French presidency, briefing reporters in Paris on condition of anonymity, hinted that France is not deaf to calls for reparations, calling Sarkozy's visit "an occasion to show that France is mobilizing to give Haitians control of their destiny and pay past debts."The IDB said yesterday that reconstruction costs may reach $14 billion. If France were to recognize their historical debt to Haiti it could go a long way towards helping Haiti rebuild. However Reuters reports that Sarkozy announced an aid package of 270 million Euros over two years, and will cancel a debt of 56 million Euros. While these are welcome developments, the debt France imposed upon Haiti had devastating consequences, as AP reports:
In 1825, crippled by the U.S.-led international embargo that was enforced by French warships, Haiti agreed to pay France 150 million francs in compensation for the lost "property" — including slaves — of French plantation owners.