France’s refusal to pay Haiti reparations is a symptom of an even wider issue

The fear of discussing reparations at all in America seems shared by other European countries.

Media Diversified

by Halimat Shode

Last Tuesday, President Hollande arrived in Haiti – the first French president to make an official visit since Haiti’s independence – and declared that France had a ‘moral debt’ to the Caribbean country. Yet his declaration avoided any mention of the debt that France has enforced on Haiti since 1825, and which has crippled Haiti economically for almost 200 years.

Haiti became the world’s first black republic in 1804 after a slave revolt and a gruelling twelve-year war with the French. However, they were isolated from the international community for 21 years following their independence. To gain recognition from the international community, they were forced to negotiate an unfair, unbalanced settlement with France in 1825 which involved compensating French plantation owners for their loss of ‘property’, including slaves – in other words, paying France for having enslaved and oppressed them for centuries. Haiti did not finish paying…

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