NewsCalls For France To Repay Haitian 'Freedom Tax' Grow Louder

Calls For France To Repay Haitian ‘Freedom Tax’ Grow Louder

France demanded the newly freed enslaved population of Haiti pay them, their former enslavers, reparations; This arrangement was disastrous for the infant country.

Monique Cleska, a Haitian activist leading the effort, told Reuters that to move forward truly, France needs to recognize their role. “What’s important is that it’s time that France recognizes this, and we move forward,” Cleska said. 

“If Haiti is not free, none of us are free!” Standing ovation today for Monique Clesca and Prof. Jemima Pierre’s intervention on behalf of the Haitian civil society delegation at the 3rd session of the Permanent Forum on People of #AfricanDescent in Geneva. #SolidarityWithHaiti…— Haitian American Foundation for Democracy (@weare_haffd) April 16, 2024

For decades, Haiti has been occupied by Western-backed forces.These ongoing interventions, Jemima Pierre argues, must end in order to respect Haitian sovereignty and humanity.— The Breach (@TheBreachMedia) April 20, 2024

“I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees. This cycle of international political interventions in Haiti has consistently produced catastrophic results.”

According to NPR, Haiti’s poverty cannot solely be attributed to the decisions of its leaders. The country has been profoundly impacted by the actions of various superpowers, particularly France, which scholars like Marlene Daut of the University of Virginia describe as having committed “the greatest heist in history.”

France demanded the newly freed enslaved population of Haiti pay them, their former enslavers, reparations. This arrangement was disastrous for the infant country, as the amount was approximately three times their GDP, which meant they had to take out loans from French banks at high-interest rates. As Daut wrote, “Just as the legacy of slavery in the United States has created a gross economic disparity between Black and white Americans, the tax on its freedom that France forced Haiti to pay—referred to as an “indemnity” at the time—severely damaged the newly independent country’s ability to prosper.”

Pierre, in particular, has been clear and critical of the outsized role France and the United States’ foreign policy have played in creating the conditions that Haiti is in presently. During her remarks in the meeting, she highlighted what outside actors have done to Haiti over its history.

“Haitian people have endured wide-scale violence over the past few decades, especially at the hands of foreigners.” Pierre continued, “In order for the Western imperial powers to mask their own responsibility in the face of violence, precariousness, and poverty that they have helped to create…they devote themselves to their favorite sport—foster a political crisis so that they can come & play savior.”

Pierre closed her remarks by implicating the United States, Canada, and France in its imperialist actions. “The nature of imperialism never changes. All the ongoing negotiations, by the way, the rest of the Haitian political class occur not just with the participation but through the rules of the United States Department of State (& articulated through its emissaries: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the French government, or now CARICOM).”

RELATED CONTENT: With A Surge In Gang Violence, Americans In Haiti Are Struggling To Find Ways To Escape

Source: Black Enterprise

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