Haiti: Sarkozy To Scrap Debt And Announce Aid Package

French President Sarkozy will visit Haiti on Wednesday. He will be the first French President to visit the Island since Haiti, a former French slave colony, became the first Black Republic in 1804. Haiti has the unique historical background to be the only slave revolt leading to the creation of an independent state.

Before the French Revolution in 1789 , which paradoxically inspired Haitians to revolt against their colonial “masters”, Haiti was France’s wealthiest colony; producing more than half of the world sugar. The French colons were fully responsible for destroying Haiti’s eco-system. Once the French ships, carrying slaves from West Africa, unloaded their shameful cargo, they did not want to head back to Europe empty. The crew loaded the ships with timber, which in return created a massive deforestation but allowed French colons to plant more sugar canes.

XIX Century Europe could not tolerate such an emancipation. The United States, a land of slave owners, could not cope with the idea of such a nation either. Haiti’s elite cooperated with the neo-colonial plan. In 1825, France received a large payment from Haiti as a “compensation” for the loss of the island, and finally recognized Haiti’s independence. But between 1915 to 1934, in an effort to prevent Haiti to exist as an independent state, and in accordance with the Monroe doctrine- which on the pretense to fight Europe’s imperialism was instating the one of the US- the United States occupied Haiti militarily.

During his short trip to the island, President Sarkozy is expected to announce the cancellation of Haiti’s debt to France, which amount to $76 millions. Sarkozy will survey the island by helicopter with Haiti’s President Rene Preval. According to the latest estimate, the earthquake of January 12 killed 212,000 people and left 1.2 million Haitians homeless.

France’s aid package will be “extremely significant in financial terms”, according to a statement made by an official from the Elysee Palace before Sarkozy’s departure. The French comprehensive aid package will focus on restoring public services to Haiti through training. France will work in conjunction with a United Nations led plan to be adopted at an international conference in New-York on March 31.

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One Response to Haiti: Sarkozy To Scrap Debt And Announce Aid Package

  1. sam February 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    this is SO rich, coming from France, which required Haitians to buy back their own BODIES….

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