This petition calls for the full restitution by the State of France of funds it extorted from the Republic of Haiti at gun point starting in 1825. In 2004, the value of the infamous Charles X ransom was estimated at $22 billion U.S. This demand is an initial measure of economic justice and respect for Haiti's territorial sovereignty and revolutionary legacy.
VERSION FRANÇAISE: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/restitutionpourhaiti/
VÈSYON KREYÒL: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/restitisyonpouayiti/
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (1804) « The generals and chiefs of the army, in the name, of the people of Hayti signed a formal declaration of independence, and took a solemn oath to renounce France forever, pledging themselves to each other, to their posterity, and to the universe, to die rather than submit again to her dominion.»
Within the first weeks of 1804, Dessalines published a proclamation, offering to the captains of American vessels the sum of forty dollars for each individual native or black man of colour, whom they should convey back to Hayti.
Art. 1. The people inhabiting the island formerly called St. Domingo, hereby agree to form themselves into a free state sovereign and independent of any other power in the universe, under the name of empire of Hayti. Art. 2. Slavery is forever abolished.
In 1825, Charles X accepted to recognize Haiti's independence on the condition that the new republic pay 150 million gold francs to France -- the annual budget of the French government at the time -- and cut its customs taxes in half.
« such a demand was illegal with regard to the French law. Indeed, the French ultimatum came with explicit threats to use force and to reestablish slavery. But France had already signed a treaty (Treaty of Vienna, 1815) in which, even though slavery was not abolished in places where it already existed, it was expressly forbidden to establish it on new territories or to reintroduce it where it had been abolished, like in Haiti. And so the threat that had presided in the negotiations was completely outside of the law».
« It was collected by violent means with an official ordinance of French monarch Charles X 1853: French Admiral Duquesne threatens to bombard Port-au-Prince to restart payments on the French ransom which had been stopped in 1852 by Haitian Emperor Faustin Soulouque. The latter replied: Je repousserai la force par la force (I will meet force with force), and Duquesne let the matter rest. (Written in Blood, Heiln p199) March 1877: French gun-boat aggression against Haiti. At issue: resumption of payments on the 1825 ransom - balance then re-estimated at 20 million gold Francs.
« Alexandre Delaborde, former colonist in Saint-Domingue, admitted in 1833 that these 150 million francs represented three times the value of the entire colony.. » (Farmer, 2003).
See: Papers of William Conrad Schutte (1737-1806), a Haitian planter who emigrated to Portsmouth, Va., ca.1793, including eight family letters exchanged between France and the West Indies, 1741-1753; Schutte's bills, accounts, deeds, miscellaneous legal papers,and correspondence in Haiti, 1769-1789; and papers,1825-1832, of Schutte's widow, chiefly concerning her attempt to secure compensation from France for property losses in the Haitian revolt in the 1790s. Manuscripts Department, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, SOUTHERN HISTORICAL COLLECTION #M-3066, WILLIAM CONRAD SCHUTTE PAPERS Inventory.
UNTIL WHAT DATE AND BY WHAT MEANS DID HAITI PAY THE RANSOM
French as well as American citizens have found clever strategies to amass fortunes on the back of Haiti's « debt ». In 1825 Haiti was forced to borrow 24 million francs from private French banks to begin paying off the crippling indemnity debt. These indemnity payments caused continual financial emergencies and political upheavals. Irregardless, Haiti always made the indemnity payments (completed in 1883), and following those, the bank loan payments, on time. The 1915 intervention in Haiti by the Marines on behalf of U.S. financial interests changed all of that, however. « Some of the white descendants of the former plantation owners, who now live New Orleans, still have the indemnity coupons issued by France. So in fact, at least part of the reparations paid by Haiti went toward the development of the United States. The National City Bank of New York had exclusive monopoly upon the right of importing and exporting American and other foreign money to and from Haiti, a monopoly which would carry unprecedented and extraordinarily lucrative privileges. U.S. financial administrators continued to dominate the Haitian economy until the final debt on the earlier loans was retired in 1947.
Article XII. Children born from marriages between slaves shall be slaves, and if the husband and wife have different masters, they shall belong to the masters of the female slave, not to the master of her husband.
The Haitian Lawyers Leadership is a network dedicated to protecting the civil and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad.
As of 1990, the Haitian masses have begun to release themselves from - two-century-old and Euro/U.S. imposed - cycles of debt, dependency and foreign domination. A pattern traditionally administered, first through Haiti's Rural Code devised to pay the 21.7 French debt, by the economic elite, on behalf of the imperial powers.
The 21.7 demand is an initial measure of economic justice and respect for Haiti's territorial sovereignty and revolutionary legacy. The overwhelming U.S./France military force of 2004 intended to zombify the Black people of Haiti with fear or prevent the Haitian nation from releasing itself from containment-in-poverty shall not stop the Haitian struggle for economic justice and restitution.
In 2004, France owed Haiti 21.7 billion (and counting at $34 per second). One day, the rule of law, will have enough teeth in this world. One day the world citizenry will have enough power and information and shall stand with the Haitian people to face empire. And then, no U.S. or French or any government will deny any peoples the rights to enjoy the benefit of their own labor and get away with it unscathed.
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
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CRIME is a group of American, Canadian and French activists who have taken credit for a July 14 Yes Men-style hoax announcement that Paris would pay $21 billion of restitution to Haiti for money extorted from the former French colony following Haitian independence.
Haiti, France and the $40B Elephant - Feb 17, 2010
France24 (TV) covers Nicolas Sarkozy's historic visit to Haiti on Feb17 2010. Guests include Olivette Otele and Jafrikayiti (Jean Saint-Vil) discussing the thorny issue of the Charles X Ransom - over 90 million Gold Francs (Est. current value $40 Billion U.S) collected at gunpoint by various French governments from the Haitian state, between 1825 and 1947.
Text and Video link of the plea made on CTV (National Television) to the Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean, native of Haiti and former citizen of France.
A network of lawyers, scholars, journalists, concerned individuals and grassroots organizations and activists, dedicated to institutionalizing the rule of law and protecting the civil and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad.
Website of Haitian-Canadian author and social justice activist Jafrikayiti (aka Jean Saint-Vil)
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