Haiti - France
On 7 April 2003, on the occasion of the bicentennial of the death of Toussaint Louverture, the Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announces that he will ask France to pay back the "independence indemnity" with the relative interests.
In 1825, after almost two centuries of colonial occupation, Charles X, king of France, with the dispatch of a fleet composed by twelve war ships, forces Jean Pierre Boyer, president of Haiti, to accept the famous ordinance by which, in exchange for the French recognition of the Haitian independence, the payment of 150 million gold francs is established (then reduced to 90 million in 1838). Haiti succeeds to pay off this enormous debt only in 1947.
The Haitian government creates therefore during 2003 the Haiti Restitution Commission, that esteems in over 21 billion dollars the sum, interests included, to return, without considering the reparations for two centuries of colonial occupation.
The French government answers with the creation of the independent Committee of reflection and proposals on French-Haitian relations, that at the beginning of 2004, doesn't recognize any juridical ground to the request.
In February of 2004 a coup d'état forces president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave the country and to take shelter in South Africa.
On the occasion of the visit of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy on February 17 2010 an international petition promoted by a group of French intellectuals has asked the restitution of the independence debt for the reconstruction of Haiti, while some protest demonstrations were held around the presidential palace in Port au Prince during the meeting with the Haitian president René Préval, asking for the restitution of the independence debt, the reparation for the colonial occupation, and the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
For further information: