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What France Owes Haiti

We have just passed the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The following was written January 28, 2010, and a version of it printed as a letter to The Globe and Mail. (Part of a series of articles, “Reflections on 2010”) • To the editors of The Globe and Mail. You highlighted, on your front page, the call from the World Bank for creditor nations to forgive Haiti’s debt. You chose to single out Venezuela as one of those creditor nations. You will be happy to know that Venezuela has complied with your wishes, and cancelled the debt Haiti owes Venezuela for oil purchases (link provided below)[1]. There is now no longer any need to single out Venezuela.

You might, rather, shift the spotlight to France. The debt owed by France to the people of Haiti is approximately $21,685,135,571.48 (link provided below)[2], a figure some 2,000 per cent greater than all the money owed by Haiti to all external creditors. The debt in question, as you of course know, was incurred when France extorted from the then 20-year old independent Republic, a completely bogus “compensation” for lost property. Given that this “lost property” was comprised of freed slaves, the French claim was, of course, indefensible.

The people of Haiti could use that $21 billion more than ever. I look forward to your front-page treatment of this important issue.

(c) 2011 Paul Kellogg. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.


[1] “Chavez Writes Off Haiti’s Oil Debt to Venezuela,” Latin American Herald Tribune, January 2010.
[2] “Aristide pushes for restitution from France,” The Miami Herald, December 18, 2003.

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