France Threatens Legal Action over Haiti Reparations Hoax

In other Haiti news, the French government says it’s considering legal action against the perpetrators of an internet hoax that claimed France would repay the billions of dollars it took from Haiti for an indemnity dating back to the nineteenth century. France forced Haiti to pay the so-called "reparations" of 90 million gold francs up until the Second World War to cover its financial losses from the Haitian uprising against foreign colonization. In a video falsely attributed to the French Foreign Ministry, an actor posing as a French government spokesperson said the money would be given back.

Speaker: "France is repaying the historic debt of 90 million gold francs Haiti paid to France following the former’s independence at the dawn of the nineteenth century. For too long, Haiti has been saddled with the burden of foreign debt, debt that has just added to natural catastrophes to block this country’s development over the past decades. The disaster that has befallen the Haitian people is clearly not merely the result of January’s earthquake. It is in part the result of long-term economic and social policies."

The group behind the hoax, the Committee for the Repayment of the Indemnity Money Expropriated from Haiti (CRIME), provided a statement to Democracy Now! saying, "The announcement was a hoax, but the far bigger hoax is how little France, as well as the U.S. and Canada, have offered Haiti in earthquake relief, relative to what Haitians are owed in reparations."

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