When I come in Haiti [Tuesday, 12 May], I will discharge my turn the debt we have. "This statement made by François Hollande, Sunday, May 10, at Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), during his speech inauguration of the Memorial dedicated to slavery act was greeted with standing ovations and immediately aroused many hopes. But they may be disappointed.

A 211 years old "ransom of independence" of 17 billion euros

Haiti took its independence from France in 1804, after 14 years of battles between the slaves revolutionary army and France's, under the command of the fearless leader Jean Jacques Dessalines.


France had great difficulty accepting the loss of the one called "the richest colony in the world." Negotiations began between the two parties to try to find a way out. They drag on. With a blockade threat with 14 French warships in the ports of Port-au-Prince, In 1825, King Charles X "concedes" Haiti's independence in return for a compensation payment of 150 million gold francs. This represents "the equivalent of a year's income of the colony around the Revolution, 15% of the annual budget of France". 
Ten times more than the 15 millions francs the United States had purchase the entire Louisiana territory From France. The Louisiana Territory encompasses today, 15 US states and part of the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. 


This huge sum was reduced to 90 million gold francs in 1838, equivalent to 17 billion euros. It was a crushing economic blow to Haiti. Then Haiti's President Jean Pierre Boyer had to negotiate a 30 million francs loan from France to pay the first part of the indemnity.

When in 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French head of state to visit the island since independence, he was reminded of this "independence ransom that historians, intellectuals, Haiti's advocate had been calling on France for decades, to repay the most impoverished nation in the Americas.

"Our presence here, 'he said, has not left good memories." "The wounds of colonization and, perhaps worse, the conditions of separation have left traces that are still vivid in memory of Haitians, "he continues, adding:" Even though I have not started my term at the time of Charles X, I am still responsible in the name of France. "

 But just like its successor, the current president of France, Francois Hollande, he opposed a financial compensation.

A "moral debt"

Hollande confirms this position of France and remains firm on its refusal to financial compensation. The "single debt that must be settled" to the descendants of slaves is "to advance humanity," he said.


This announcement by the French president just two days before his already highly anticipated visit, has caused a stir of reaction on social and Haitian media.