Campaign 7

Campaign 7:

FRANCE Must Return the Charles X Ransom to Haiti:
Open Letter to the People of France

(Please Answer Call to Action Petition at End of Letter)

June 6, 2004

Citizen of France, you are probably unaware that your government is currently committing a number of crimes against Haitians1, an impoverished people whose history has some very unfortunate and unpleasant connections to that of your own. We take this opportunity to alert you to this fact and to call upon your sense of honor to disavow and help redress the wicked and despicable actions that the government of Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Raffarin have thus far committed, in your name, against Haiti.

On April 7, 2003, A Constitutional Haitian Head of State issued a public demand2 that, as a matter of honor and justice, France finally settles an outstanding debt towards Haiti by returning the outrageous 1825 ransom. The latter was collected at gunpoint from the Africans who had broken the chains of racial slavery on the former French colony of Saint-Domingue and had created the free Republic of Haiti. Indeed, in 1825, under the threat of re-enslavement, and with 12 warships armed with 500 canons, France blackmailed Haiti into agreeing to pay a bounty of 150 million Gold Francs for the lost of men, women and children they had deemed to be "French property" (slaves). That ransom (lowered to 90 million francs), estimated at over $22 billion (US) today, extorted from Haiti by France and which tiny Haiti had to pay while France sold off Louisiana to the U.S. for only 15 million francs (Louisiana then virtually doubled the U.S.'s size), that vengeful weight put upon the shoulders of Africans digging themselves out of 300-years of white imposed slavery, forced illiteracy and other inhumane physical and psychological trauma, virtually began the colonial model of debt dependency that was then used throughout the African continent after their "independence". Therefore, to say that the Charles X Ransom had a devastating and lasting impact on the impoverished people of Haiti would be a gross understatement. Decades after decades, Haiti had no money for social spending and development and had to close its rural schools, adopt the Rural Code which further systematized the class divisions (between rural and city folks) and bound the majority to work the land to pay off a hideous, racist and unfair debt.

On February 29, 2004, the Constitutional Head of State who issued Haiti's restitution demand, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forced out of office amidst great controversy. Solid evidence3 now points to French and American complicity in the illegal and violent activities surrounding this blatant coup d'etat. As a matter of fact, just hours following the abduction of its constitutional Head of State, French and American troops were occupying Haiti and helping local mercenaries quell public dissent against a U.S. & French-imposed puppet regime.

To add insult to injury, on April 15, 2004, Michele Alliot-Marie, newly appointed French Minister of Defence lands in Port-au-Prince as the first French dignitary of high rank to come to Haiti since the triumph of the anti-slavery revolution in 1803. On the heel of that oddly-timed visit, Mrs. Alliot-Marie obtains a public declaration by Haiti's now illegal regime that restitution of the Charles X Ransom is no longer at issue. A month later, on Saturday May 15, 2004, Michel Barnier, your current Minister of Foreign Affairs, would also land in Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, repeated attempts by the U.S to bully the Caribbean Community, the African Union and the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus to follow their lead and recognize the puppet regime they installed in Haiti remain fruitless4. Simply put, the racist stains of this illegal regime change are simply too blatant to be overlooked.

This latest criminal Franco-American partnership painfully reminds Africans worldwide that in 1805, one year following Haiti's declaration of freedom and independence, French foreign minister Prince Charles Talleyrand wrote to U.S. Secretary of State James Madison "The existence of a Negro people in arms is a horrible spectacle for all white nations"? Back then, the United States answered this open call to white supremacist solidarity by banning trade with Haiti in 1806 and renewing its embargo in 1807 and 1809. Since then, this form of solidarity in wickedness would be renewed several times over as France, the U.S., Germany and Spain would take turns ransoming Haiti at gunpoint throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Now here we are in 2004, when the U.S. and France have joined hands to abduct Haiti's democratically elected president and established in its stead an illegal puppet regime to once again keep the Haitian people in check5, 6. A regime that is so willing to trample the rights of Haiti's black majority in exchange for the continued approval of its U.S.-Euro master puppeteers, that it has now vowed to erase France's huge and infamous debt known as "the Charles X Ransom" .

As we submit this letter to your attention, we are mindful of a recent declaration of elder Nelson Mandela who observed that "we now live in a world where powerful countries - all of them so-called democracies - manipulate multilateral bodies to the great disadvantage and suffering of the poorer developing nations". Consequently, we do realize that this matter of restitution to Haiti of the Charles X Ransom holds little chance of being satisfactorily resolved at the United Nations any time soon. And so, we, world citizens of good will, have taken the initiative to affirm and bring to your reflection the following facts:

1) Restitution of the Charles X ransom is and will remain an issue that shames the people of France until it is justly resolved to the economic advantage of the People of Haiti.

2) The people of France must not be and shall no longer be kept in the dark about this historical debt and its terrible lasting consequences on generations upon generations of Haitians.

3) The current leaders of France are guilty of shameful and criminal attempts to cover-up their legal and moral obligations with respect to the Charles X Ransom. They do so, chiefly, by propping up, with U.S. complicity, an illegal puppet regime in Haiti that has proven to be their willing partner in crime.

All these illegal actions were taken in your name, people of France, albeit without your direct approval.

So, having now been apprised of the facts, we invite you to join a noble quest for long overdue justice by endorsing the following petition which summons the legal representatives of the State of France to return to the State of Haiti, the Charles X Ransom.

N.B.: The fact that the current holders of political power in Haiti are illegal and un-elected does not constitute valid ground to delay this restitution. The ransomed funds can be immediately deposited in a safe account to collect interest until it can be accessed by its rightful owner, the People of Haiti, through constitutional authorities that are duly appointed to manage its affairs.

"In this generation, we will have to repent not only for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but also for the appalling silence of the good people"

Mindful of these inspirational words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and, in the name of justice and human decency, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership invites you to please sign this important petition :

http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/restitution4haiti/ (ENGLISH)
http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/restitutionpourhaiti/ (FRAN«AIS)
http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/Restitisyonpouayiti/ (KREYOL)
or at: http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignseven.html

Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
June 6, 2004
For more information:
Contact Our Campaign 7 Leadership Network Coordinator
Mr. Jean Saint- Vil (Jafrikayiti)
E-mail: Jafrikayiti@hotmail.com
cc: Erzilidanto@aol.com



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