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Haiti Debt on the Verge of being Canceled
By Carmen Dixon March 19th 2010 9:35AM

When Pat Robertson claimed that Haiti's tumultuous history was the result of "a pact with the Devil" long ago, he was right in a way. Following history's only slave revolt that resulted in the liberation of a nation, Haiti accepted a deal with France to pay "an odious" tax in exchange for her continued "freedom." Was France the "Devil" Robertson was speaking of? More than two decades after rebellious former slaves vanquished troops from Napoleon's army here in 1803, France's King Charles X made the fledgling republic of Haiti an offer it couldn't refuse.

In 1825, as the king's warships cruised just over the horizon from the Haitian capital, a French emissary demanded 150 million gold francs in exchange for recognizing the new republic. The implicit alternative was invasion and re-enslavement.

It was a huge sum, about five times Haiti's annual export revenue. Haiti's then-president reluctantly agreed, taking on a crushing debt. Impoverished Haiti pins hopes for future on a very old debt,  WSJ via 'Odious Debts'

Finally, Haiti may be poised to resolve it's crippling international debt.
The Obama administration says it is near an agreement with other nations to cancel the $447 million that Haiti owes to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Treasury Department officials said Thursday that a deal would likely be struck this weekend to cancel Haiti's debt to the bank, which serves as a major source of development loans for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

One of the Treasury officials who briefed reporters Thursday said that the administration is working for an agreement at IADB meetings that would not only cancel Haiti's IADB debt but would also to lead to Haiti receiving grants from the bank that would not have to be repaid. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Well, that will be corn on the mill of Creval - another opportunity to enrich himself. Now he is selling the supplies from the airport at a profit to the poor. He charges a 30% tax on all incoming supplies and then allows 1/5th of those supplies to be handed out, while the rest is sold off to his croonies.

Obama would do wise to make severe restrictions on the use of any loans and gifts of money, stipulating it MUST be used for certain purposes. Port of Prince needs to be demolished and rebuilt.
Sarcozy would do wise and demand the same. However, seeing what the situation is, i have my grave doubts that much will change.

Corruption is rife and the people's demand for Aristide should be honoured also. He was on the side of the people and he refused to follow US dictates - hence his removal. So the first thing is US hypocrisy in the face of democratic elections. They scream the loudest about democracy, but when someone is elected who does not dance to their tune, they remove him. Iraq and Haiti are both examples of this hypocrisy.

To me this sounds like too good to be true and i bet you there will be complications.
I've always fest that France owes Haiti, big time. the crazy tax they stuck to the Haitians really contributed to the fact that Haiti just couldn't get a break.
And the French are so judgmental about so many other countries, they need to look themselves in the mirror on this one.


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