France should repay its former colony, Haiti, the more than USD20 billion that was “extorted” from the country during the 19th century, a group of scholars stated in an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The letter was published August 16 in the Paris newspaper Liberation. Isabel Macdonald, a Canadian scholar who helped draft the letter, explained in the Toronto Star that following Haiti’s independence from France in the early 1800s, King Charles X demanded in 1825 that Haiti pay the European country an “independence debt.” The Haitian government was forced to pay under the threat of a French military invasion, the scholar said. In 2003, the Haitian government said the country paid France an equivalent of nearly USD22 billion in current values from 1825 to 1947, according to The New York Times.

    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

    Join the Discussion