Leslie Alexander, United States, 2021 discussed on World Affairs Council


Have estimated that it would be close to the equivalent of $20 billion that they were being forced to pay in the 19th century. Even white Americans in the United States at the time. Thought that the French demand was absurd and that the Haitians would never have any hope of paying it off. The legacy of that is that in order to meet the terms Of the indemnity in order to pay the annual installments. The Haitian government found itself in cycles of ongoing debt they had to borrow from French banks. In order to pay the money back at exorbitant, insanely high interest rates that created impossible impossible cycles of debt. Well, certainly there was an attempt to smother the country in the cradle. There was a long long period where it was handicapped by the weight of foreign sanctions. The attempts to Sort of cut it off from, uh, the economic activity of the world. But why is that important in 2021? Well, I think it's important in 2021 because When you look at the media coverage in particular of Haiti, stemming all the way back to the 2010 earthquake. There is this level of accusation that you hear in the American media about Haiti being You know the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We keep hearing that over and over again. I describe it as a chant of accusation without a broader context of how Haiti became the poorest. Country in the Western Hemisphere in the first place, and it is largely as the result of foreign intervention and exploitation, obviously, first, beginning with France. But More contemporary Lee. It's the United States, right? That is largely responsible for the plight that Haiti continues to face both economically and politically. And if we are not willing to take a look at the historical roots of that, if we're not willing to have an honest reckoning With how and why Haiti finds itself in its current circumstances. We can never really have a healing of the nation that it deserves to have. I spoke with Leslie Alexander about this over.

Coming up next