From Black Voices — When Pat Robertson claimed that Haiti’s tumultuous history was the result of “a pact with the Devil” long ago, he was right in a way. Following history’s only slave revolt that resulted in the liberation of a nation, Haiti accepted a deal with France to pay “an odious” tax in exchange for her continued “freedom.” Was France the “Devil” Robertson was speaking of?
More than two decades after rebellious former slaves vanquished troops from Napoleon’s army here in 1803, France’s King Charles X made the fledgling republic of Haiti an offer it couldn’t refuse.
In 1825, as the king’s warships cruised just over the horizon from the Haitian capital, a French emissary demanded 150 million gold francs in exchange for recognizing the new republic. The implicit alternative was invasion and re-enslavement.
It was a huge sum, about five times Haiti’s annual export revenue. Haiti’s then-president reluctantly agreed, taking on a crushing debt. Source: Impoverished Haiti pins hopes for future on a very old debt, WSJ via ‘Odious Debts’
Finally, Haiti may be poised to resolve it’s crippling international debt.