Debt, Coups & Colonialism in Haiti: France & U.S. Urged to Pay Reparations for Destroying Nation

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We look in depth at “The Ransom,” a new series in The New York Times that details how France devastated Haiti’s economy by forcing Haiti to pay massive reparations for the loss of slave labor after enslaved Haitians rebelled, founding the world’s first Black republic in 1804. We speak with historians Westenley Alcenat and Gerald Horne on the story of Haiti’s finances and how Haitian demands for reparations have been repeatedly shut down. Alcenat says the series “exposes the rest of the world to a knowledge that actually has existed for over a hundred years,” and while he welcomes the series, he demands The New York Times apologize for publishing racist Haitian stereotypes in 2010 by columnist David Brooks. Horne also requests The New York Times make the revelatory documents that the series cites accessible to other historians. He says the series will “hopefully cause us to reexamine the history of this country and move away from the propaganda point that somehow the United States was an abolitionist republic when actually it was the foremost slaveholder’s republic.”

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