Why The US Owes Haiti Billions – The Briefest History

By Bill Quigley
November 27, 2013 – ccrjustice.org

HaitiWhy does the US owe Haiti Billions? Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, stated his foreign policy view as the “Pottery Barn rule.” That is – “if you break it, you own it.”

The US has worked to break Haiti for over 200 years. We owe Haiti. Not charity. We owe Haiti as a matter of justice. Reparations. And not the $100 million promised by President Obama either – that is Powerball money. The US owes Haiti Billions – with a big B.

The US has worked for centuries to break Haiti. The US has used Haiti like a plantation. The US helped bleed the country economically since it freed itself, repeatedly invaded the country militarily, supported dictators who abused the people, used the country as a dumping ground for our own economic advantage, ruined their roads and agriculture, and toppled popularly elected officials. The US has even used Haiti like the old plantation owner and slipped over there repeatedly for sexual recreation.

Here is the briefest history of some of the major US efforts to break Haiti.

In 1804, when Haiti achieved its freedom from France in the world’s first successful slave revolution, the United States refused to recognize the country. The US continued to refuse recognition to Haiti for 60 more years. Why? Because the US continued to enslave millions of its own citizens and feared recognizing Haiti would encourage slave revolution in the US.

After the 1804 revolution, Haiti was the subject of a crippling economic embargo by France and the US. US sanctions lasted until 1863. France ultimately used its military power to force Haiti to pay reparations for the slaves who were freed. The reparations were 150 million francs. (France sold the entire Louisiana territory to the US for 80 million francs!)

Haiti was forced to borrow money from banks in France and the US to pay reparations to France. A major loan from the US to pay off the French was finally paid off in 1947. The current value of the money Haiti was forced to pay to French and US banks? Over $20 Billion – with a big B.

The US occupied and ruled Haiti by force from 1915 to 1934. President Woodrow Wilson sent troops to invade in 1915. Revolts by Haitians were put down by US military – killing over 2000 in one skirmish alone. For the next nineteen years, the US controlled customs in Haiti, collected taxes, and ran many governmental institutions. How many billions were siphoned off by the US during these 19 years?

From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was forced to live under US backed dictators “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvlaier. The US supported these dictators economically and militarily because they did what the US wanted and were politically “anti-communist” – now translatable as against human rights for their people. Duvalier stole millions from Haiti and ran up hundreds of millions in debt that Haiti still owes. Ten thousand Haitians lost their lives. Estimates say that Haiti owes $1.3 billion in external debt and that 40% of that debt was run up by the US-backed Duvaliers.

Thirty years ago Haiti imported no rice. Today Haiti imports nearly all its rice. Though Haiti was the sugar growing capital of the Caribbean, it now imports sugar as well. Why? The US and the US dominated world financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – forced Haiti to open its markets to the world. Then the US dumped millions of tons of US subsidized rice and sugar into Haiti – undercutting their farmers and ruining Haitian agriculture. By ruining Haitian agriculture, the US has forced Haiti into becoming the third largest world market for US rice. Good for US farmers, bad for Haiti.

In 2002, the US stopped hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Haiti which were to be used for, among other public projects like education, roads. These are the same roads which relief teams are having so much trouble navigating now!

In 2004, the US again destroyed democracy in Haiti when they supported the coup against Haiti’s elected President Aristide.

Haiti is even used for sexual recreation just like the old time plantations. Check the news carefully and you will find numerous stories of abuse of minors by missionaries, soldiers and charity workers. Plus there are the frequent sexual vacations taken to Haiti by people from the US and elsewhere. What is owed for that? What value would you put on it if it was your sisters and brothers?

US based corporations have for years been teaming up with Haitian elite to run sweatshops teeming with tens of thousands of Haitians who earn less than $2 a day.

The Haitian people have resisted the economic and military power of the US and others ever since their independence. Like all of us, Haitians made their own mistakes as well. But US power has forced Haitians to pay great prices – deaths, debt and abuse.

It is time for the people of the US to join with Haitians and reverse the course of US-Haitian relations.

This brief history shows why the US owes Haiti Billions – with a big B. This is not charity. This is justice. This is reparations. The current crisis is an opportunity for people in the US to own up to our country’s history of dominating Haiti and to make a truly just response.

(For more on the history of exploitation of Haiti by the US see: Paul Farmer, THE USES OF HAITI; Peter Hallward, DAMNING THE FLOOD; and Randall Robinson, AN UNBROKEN AGONY).

Bill Quigley is Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights and a long-time Haiti human rights advocate.

Reproduced by consent of the author from:
http://ccrjustice.org/why-us-owes-haiti-billions-briefest-history-bill-quigley

FLASHBACK:

France dismisses petition for it to pay $17 billion in Haiti reparations
2010 — France on Tuesday rejected a petition calling for it to pay $17 billion to help with Haiti earthquake reconstruction as a way to make amends for fees charged Haiti by the French crown 200 years ago.

How the Clinton Foundation Got Rich off Poor Haitians
In January 2015 a group of Haitians surrounded the New York offices of the Clinton Foundation. They chanted slogans, accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having robbed them of “billions of dollars.” Two months later, the Haitians were at it again, accusing the Clintons of duplicity, malfeasance, and theft. And in May 2015, they were back, this time outside New York’s Cipriani, where Bill Clinton received an award and collected a $500,000 check for his foundation. “Clinton, where’s the money?” the Haitian signs read. “In whose pockets?” Said Dhoud Andre of the Commission Against Dictatorship, “We are telling the world of the crimes that Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for in Haiti.”

Gold Mine: Hillary Clinton’s Brother Granted Super-Rare Mining Permit
The Clintons and Democrats have been “exploiting” poor black people for generations. Quote Democrat president Johnson with passage of the welfare laws in the 60s: “We’ll have the nig**rs voting Democrat for the next hundred years.”

Racism In The Time Of Cholera
How a racist stereotype reinforced the cholera crisis in Haiti

5 Responses to “Why The US Owes Haiti Billions – The Briefest History”


  • Release from the University of the West Indies – Office of Professor Hilary Beckles – Historian – Vice Chancellor

    HAITI : Caribbean Dignity Unbowed.

    The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion it origins.

    Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial darkness. This is the debt President Trump’s America owes Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential. It’s a debt of exposure to higher standards. Haiti is really America’s Statue of Liberty.

    The President’s truth making troops might not know, and probably care little for the fact that Haitian people were first in this modern world to build a nation completely free of the human scourge of slavery and native genocide. It might be worthless in their world view that Haiti’s leadership made the Caribbean the first civilization in modernity to criminalize and constitutionally uproot such crimes against humanity and to proceed with sustainability to build a nation upon the basis of universal freedom.

    The tale of their two constitutions tells this truth. The American Independence Declaration of 2nd July, 1776, reinforced slavery as the national development model for the future. The Haitian Independence Declaration, 1st January, 1804, defined slavery a crime and banished it from its borders. Haiti, then, became the first nation in the world to enforce a provision of personal democratic freedom for all, and did so at a time when America was deepening its slavery roots.

    The USA, therefore should daily bow before Haiti and thank it for the lessons it taught in how to conceptualize and create a democratic political and social order. Having built their nation on the pillars of property rights in humans, and realizing a century later that slavery and freedom could not coexist in the same nation, Americans returned to the battlefield to litigate the century’s bloodiest defining and deciding civil war.

    Haiti was and will remain this hemisphere’s mother of modern democracy and the Caribbean the cradle of the first ethical civilization. For President Trump, therefore, to define the Caribbean’s noble heroes of human freedom, whose sacrifice was to empower and enlighten his nation in its darkest days as a site of human degradation, is beyond comprehension. It is a brutal bashing of basic truths that are in need, not of violation, but celebration.

    Haiti, then, is mankind’s monument to its triumphant rise from the demonic descent into despair to the forging of its first democratic dispensation. It is home to humanity’s most resilient people who are the persistent proof of the unrelenting intent of the species to let freedom rain and reign.

    Thankfully, many fine souls dedicated to social justice have risen to ‘write this wrong’ into the public record. Let’s take comfort in recalling one such line drawn on the highway of history. In this 2018 White House attempt to diminish Caribbean Civilization let’s read aloud a part of William Wordsworth’s 1802 celebratory sonnet to Toussaint L’Ouverture of Haiti, the greatest democracy mind of modernity:

    “…though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
    Live and take comfort. Thou have left behind
    Powers that will work for thee,
    Air, earth, and skies;
    There’s not a breathing of the common wind
    that will forget thee; thou have
    great allies;
    thy friends are exultation, agonies, and love,
    and man’s unconquerable mind.

    Professor Hilary Beckles,
    Vice Chancellor,
    University of the West Indies.

  • David Rudder’ song on HAITI, is one that is not played on the airwaves. The greatest enemy of HAITI next to France, have always been the USA, after years of invading and suppressing any aspect of Haiti’ self determination. Those of us who have followed the fall of the OTTOMAN Empire, the so-called 1st world war to the present, are well positioned to articulate the viciousness of the USA and it’s policies both at home and foreign. At one point in HAITI’ history, CITI BANK off New York, controlled every aspect of life in HAITI directly, only waning when the Duvalier regime was implanted. HAITI, after their continued struggle to be free from Slavery, was forced to pay the French oppressors reparations, in the amount of over 150 million francs, valued today at over 60 billion +. Most of us haven’t taken the time to really study the USA, and what it stands for, we stay outside, very few gets into it’s bosom, when some of us do, the BIG headed SNAKE, with blood dripping from it’s fangs, the message below states it’s continuous endure, depends on the blood of the worlds impoverished. The BLING BLING is very visible, in reality? dust of crumbs is all we get. In an earlier time, France was what the USA is today, vicious and deplorable Barbarians, during the American war for independence against England and France, Desalines the Hatian free president, sent troops to reenforced George Washington in his struggles, only for the USA to turn around like the madd DOG that it is, and bite the HATIAN people, sending them into perpetual poverty. Today, mind you , HAITI is not a poor nation per see, the country have vast deposits of GOLD and Diamond plus oil, all controlled by the USA. The conditions of Africans in the Americas is equal in reality to the people of HAITI. With the exception of President Arrestide, every president of HAITI the last 100yrs + have been given to the HAITIANS by the USA, the USA had the power to exile president Arrestide to Africa, a VAMPIRE black woman Condoleza Rice and an abject house slave uncle TOM, Collin Powell were the main instigators together with BUSH. In the near future, we will have no choice but to revisit HAITI, every Black man and woman would have to face themselves in the mirror, with the realization that we have all played a part in our own downfall, as long as HAITI continues to suffer, no African in the Americas and the back yard caribbean is free, the fools paradise we continue to live in, is the hole we dig relentlessly, only to fall within. Every African leader rising to speak on behalf of his people from the USA, Africa and the Caribbean, have been cut down by COINTELPRO, as long as it is counter to US policies. The USA can’t do all these atrocities on their own, with the help of conniving black man/woman self adulating criminals, SHIT HOLES are created.

  • I mean it means little to them…
    but just for the record..

    Haitian monument unveiled in Savannah, GA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozu9iWmniLE

  • No regrets for making Haiti a ‘shithole’?

    By Sir Ronald Sanders

    (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own)

    The effect of the inappropriate depiction of Haiti, El Salvador and all African nations as “shit hole” countries is a matter that the people of the United States of America and their government and Congress should contemplate seriously.

    The responses have been swift, showing a mixture of outrage and shock. At the time of writing this commentary, there has been no expression of regret about the comment that has done nothing but injure the relations between the United States and many countries. Hopefully, representatives of the U.S. in other countries will distance themselves from it, and apologise as discreetly as they can.

    I am here concerned particularly with the remarks about Haiti, a member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the current Chair of the group’s Heads of Government caucus. My colleague, the Ambassador of Haiti to the United States, Paul Altidor, rightly said, “We feel in the statements, if they were made, the president was either misinformed or miseducated about Haiti and its people”. The United Nations spokesman Rupert Colville, described the remarks as “racist”, adding that, “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes,’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

    Haiti, for us in the Caribbean is more than just a member of our community, it is the first nation to rise up against slavery and oppression in our region. Importantly when the Republic of Haiti was established on January 1, 1804, it was the first free nation of free black people to rise in a world of Empires of Western European nations.

    And, Haiti paid a very high price for its assertion that black people were born free, entitled to freedom and the right to fight for it.

    In a real sense, from the moment of that assertion of freedom, Haiti was earmarked for the “shithole” status now applied to it. It was punished by every European nation, particularly France, and successive governments of the United States aided and abetted in the process.

    France demanded huge reparations for the slaves and plantations it lost at the revolt of Toussaint L’Ouverture. In 1825, Haiti’s leaders were forced to agree to pay France the harsh levy of 90 million gold francs, which the country did not finish repaying until 1947.

    For almost a hundred years, Haiti was pushed into poverty by the French demand, upheld by Western European nations and the US. Indeed, the U.S., which continued to be a slave-owing nation after European nations outlawed it, did not recognise Haiti as a free nation until 1862 – the last major power at the time to do so.

    But, even that recognition was meaningless. Taking advantage of Haiti’s lack of capacity to defend itself from external intervention, U.S. naval ships entered Haitian waters no less than 24 times between 1849 and 1913, ostensibly “to protect American lives and property”. Finally, in 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti and ruled the country as an occupying force for 20 years.

    During that period, Haiti and the Haitian people, already impoverished, exploited and isolated by what was then ‘the international community’ – Western European nations and the U.S – were further disadvantaged. Their constitution was rewritten against their will, something the U.S. State Department admitted in 1927. Under that Constitution, laws preventing foreigners from owning land were scrapped, allowing U.S, companies to take what they wanted.

    In 1926, a New York business publication described Haiti as “a marvellous opportunity” for U.S. investment, stating that “the run of the mill Haitian is handy, easily directed, and gives a hard day’s labour for 20 cents, while in Panama the same day’s work cost $3”. U.S. corporations grew from 13 in 1966 to 154 in 1981, enriching themselves, pauperising the Haitian people even more and doing little to add wealth to the economy.

    And, as with slavery, the excesses of U.S. occupation by U.S. companies were justified by the language of racial superiority. Haitians were described as “coons”, “mongrels”, “unwholesome”, “a horde of naked niggers”. The New York Times reported U.S. representatives as saying that Haiti needed “energetic Anglo-Saxon influence”.

    The Haitians have also suffered from governments that suited foreign powers being put into office, only to be removed if their policies ceased to serve the interest of those foreign powers. Therefore, democracy in Haiti was emasculated not by the Haitian people, but by external forces and Haitian elites that they suborned.

    Incidentally, the U.S. has had balance of trade surpluses with Haiti for many decades. For instance, in 2014, the U.S. trade surplus with Haiti was $356.4 million; in 2015 and 2016 respectively it was $190.5 and $191.9 million. For the 11 months, ending November 30, 2017, the surplus in favour of the U.S. was already $385 million. So, for a ‘shithole’ country it has provided annual revenues and employment to the U.S, of some magnitude.

    Sadly, from this entire experience, Haiti is the poorest country in all the Americas. But it is far from a “shithole”, possessing as it does some of the most beautiful landscapes and seascapes in the Caribbean; a remarkably talented and creative people – Haitian art and craft is natural, untrained aptitude; and hard workers.

    Of Haiti’s population of 10.4 million people, only 500,000 have permanent employment. Yet, the Haitian people maintain stability in a continuing struggle.

    If Haiti is a “shithole”, those who made it so, should acknowledge their devastating role, and in their shame, they should pledge to do better.

    Every Caribbean person, at all levels, should make it abundantly and crystal clear that we resent this depiction of Haiti; we call for acknowledgement by all who have exploited it and kept it in poverty; and we urge that, instead of dismissing it in unfortunate language, they implement programmes to atone for their part in its pauperisation.

    For our part, the Caribbean should stand-up for Haiti with pride and gratitude.

    Responses and previous commentaries: http://www.sirronaldsanders.com

  • STATEMENT BY THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM) ON COMMENT MADE BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is deeply disturbed by reports about the use of derogatory and repulsive language by the President of the United States in respect of our Member State, Haiti, and other developing countries. CARICOM condemns in the strongest terms, the unenlightened views reportedly expressed.

    Of additional concern, is this pattern of denigrating Haiti and its citizens in what seems to be a concerted attempt to perpetuate a negative narrative of the country. We are especially saddened that such narrative emerged around the time of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake which took so many lives of citizens in that country.

    The Caribbean Community expresses its full support for the dignified statement of the Government of the Republic of Haiti in reaction to this highly offensive reference. It should be recalled that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the United States of America.

    CARICOM therefore views this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptable.

    Source: http://today.caricom.org/2018/01/13/statement-by-the-caribbean-community-caricom-on-comment-made-by-the-president-of-the-united-states-of-america/

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