Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Were it not for slavery and ruthless imperial exploitation, modern Europe and the United States - and global capitalism, itself - would not have existed. In that sense, all of the developed nations are fundamentally indebted to the formerly colonized world.  But Haiti's bill includes a very explicit $17 billion directly extorted by France (and the U.S.).

France and U.S. Must Pay Their Debt to Haiti

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Together, France and the U.S. robbed Haiti of any chance to develop."

It never ceases to amaze, how imperialists guilty of the most vile crimes ever committed by man have such thin skin. So it is with France, which has subjugated and murdered millions over the centuries, and owes its comfortable lifestyle to these victimized people of color around the globe, yet gets upset when called a thief and extortionist - the least of its multitudinous crimes.

Last Bastille Day, July 14, a group calling itself the Committee for the Reimbursement of the Indemnity Money Extorted from Haiti - CRIME, for short - hacked into the web site of the French Foreign Ministry to plant a false announcement that France had agreed to repay Haiti the equivalent of $17 billion it extorted from the small Black country, beginning nearly two centuries ago. The French government was so taken aback, it threatened to sue the political pranksters. The suit could not possibly be to defend the honor of France, since no such thing exists, certainly not in the matter of Haiti. No one contests that, in 1825, France threatened to make life as an independent nation impossible for Haiti if France were not compensated for the loss of its plantations and slaves in Haiti's successful 1804 revolution. Haiti would continue paying the debt until the year 1947.

When Haitian President Jean Bertrand-Aristide filed suit against France to recover the extorted funds, France teamed up with the United States and junior partner imperial Canada to overthrow Aristide, in 2004, the two hundredth anniversary of Haiti's independence.

On Monday, 100 politicians and intellectuals from around the world, including Americans Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, published a letter in a Paris newspaper demanding that France return the $17 billion to Haiti, not just because it would allow Haiti to pay for its own recovery from this year's devastating earthquake - but because it is owed. On Tuesday, the French government once again declined to pay its debt, confirming that it remains a thief after all these years.

"They taunt the suffering Haitians with lies and false promises."

France's cohort in the current attempt to recolonize Haiti, the United States, is also an accomplice in the $17 billion extortion. U.S. banks paid off France and became Haiti's creditor. The U.S. invaded and occupied the country in 1915, and has been looting it directly or indirectly, ever since.

Together, France and the U.S. robbed Haiti of any chance to develop. Now, they have stolen her sovereignty, as well. But that is not enough for world-class villians like these. They taunt the suffering Haitians with lies and false promises. Only 10 percent of the $5.6 billion in promised earthquake aid has been delivered, and that by Brazil, Norway, Australia, Colombia and tiny Estonia.

Both the United States and France teach their school children that their countries ignited the light of liberty in the world. But of course, both stories are false. No sooner had the slaveholding United States won its independence, than it became a predator to its neighbors. And the French did not allow their revolution to cause them to miss a beat in attempting to keep Haiti enslaved. It was Haiti's revolution that showed the way to freedom for all mankind, 200 years ago. That is  what all of humanity owes to Haiti.

 For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20100818_gf_Restitution_2_Haiti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EDT