INTERVIEW

Any cash reimbursement of the independence indemnity would be wasted like Petrocaribe, says historian Georges Michel

any cash reimbursement of the independence indemnity would be wasted as petrocaribe, says historian georges michel

During an intervention on Radio Magik 9 this Wednesday, May 25, 2022 on the program Panel Magik, the Haitian historian Georges Michel declared that it would be better if the independence indemnity was not paid in cash to Haiti because it would be squandered like the Petrocaribe funds. 

Following this series of articles published by the American newspaper of the New York Times on the “debt” of independence demanded by France in Haiti, the reactions rain and come from everywhere. If almost unanimously Haitians and part of the rest of the world think that this money must be returned, opinions are however divided on the means of reimbursement. For the historian Georges Michel, this restitution must be done in kind and not in cash, therefore in the form of very long-term financing of projects. 

“M ap mande restitisyon an, pa sou fòm yon lajan kach pou lonje bay politisyen ayisyen, men sou fòm finansman pwojè pandan lontan,” said Dr. Georges Michel. 

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For nearly fifty years, that is, throughout the 19th century, Haiti paid France several hundred million US dollars. A huge sum that practically ruined the Haitian economy, which was largely based on coffee production. According to the estimates made by the many economists met by the journalists of the New York Times, this sum would have estimated at more than 21 billion American dollars. 

To recall that the restitution of this sum paid by Haiti to France for the recognition of Haitian independence had already been raised in the past. Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, the last head of state who had asked for the reimbursement of this money as well as compensation for the harm caused by slavery, was overthrown on February 29, 2004, then went into exile in South Africa a few days later. 

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Jacky Chery
Student in Social Communication and Legal Sciences at UEH, also Journalist-editor at Netalkole Media. A passion for writing and reading.