Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The fault line in Haiti runs straight to France

This is the headline to an article in the Times.

After reading this article in the Telegraph the other day and the above article today the French have a lot explaining to do on their treatment of the Haitians.

Here are a few quotes from the article;

In the 18th century, Haiti was France’s imperial jewel, the Pearl of the Caribbean, the largest sugar exporter in the world. Even by colonial standards, the treatment of slaves working the Haitian plantations was truly vile. They died so fast that, at times, France was importing 50,000 slaves a year to keep up the numbers and the profits.

Inspired by the principles of the French Revolution, in 1791 the slaves rebelled under the leadership of the self-educated slave Toussaint L’Ouverture. After a vicious war, Napoleon’s forces were defeated. Haiti declared independence in 1804.


France did not forgive the impertinence and loss of earnings: 800 destroyed sugar plantations, 3,000 lost coffee estates. A brutal trade blockade was imposed. Former plantation owners demanded that Haiti be invaded, its population enslaved once more. Instead, the French State opted to bleed the new black republic white.

In 1825, in return for recognising Haitian independence, France demanded indemnity on a staggering scale: 150 million gold francs, five times the country’s annual export revenue. The Royal Ordinance was backed up by 12 French warships with 150 cannon.

The terms were non-negotiable. The fledgeling nation acceded, since it had little choice. Haiti must pay for its freedom, and pay it did, through the nose, for the next 122 years.

The French, even in the recent past have refused to repay any of the money they forced the Haitians to pay for their freedom.

Haiti could of been a prosperous nation, and a far cry from what it is today.

In my opinion the French have a lot to answer for when it comes to the Haiti.

Have a read of the article and see what you think.

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