Francois Hollande and his Haiti visit
French President Hollande came to Haiti on a state visit recently. Although he was welcomed by the government of Haiti and the business sector, protestors complained he had no right to be in the country without committing to paying back reparations, amounting to nearly $20 billion.
The successful slave revolt in the 1800s, led by Haitian slaves working on French sugar plantations, defeated French colonists. And Haiti became the first black-led nation to rule as a sovereign state. France was irate, its defeat causing them to lose land on which the sugar plantations were built as well as slaves, worth millions.
Hollande, at a Port-au-Prince event, addressed the debt France owed Haiti, allowing ". . . a moral debt exists . . ." but side-stepping the matter of reparations. Martelly took a diplomatic stance, saying "Our country needs services more than any amount of money for people to fight over", and it was time to put aside resentments.
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