Article published on the 2010-01-15 Latest update 2010-01-15 13:16 TU
People walk in front of a cemetery destroyed by the earthquake in Port-au-Prince on 14 January, 2010
The United Nations confirmed on Friday international pledges of about 186 million euros in aid but Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said that France was also cancelling four million euros of debt.
Lagarde said she had asked other member countries of the Paris Club – an informal group of financial officials from some of the world’s richest countries – to cancel outstanding debts. With France’s pledge taken into account, the group, which meets regularly in the French capital, is still owed 54 million euros by Haiti.
Lagarde also asked Taiwan and Venezuela, two major creditors to Haiti who are non-members of the Paris Club, to do likewise.
Haiti, a former French colony, has a legacy of debt that began shortly after it gained independence in 1804.
In 1825, France demanded that it should be compensated for the loss of its former territory. The newly sovereign state agreed to pay 150 million francs, which is equivalent to billions of euros.
Some commentators believe that former President Jean Bertrand Aristide was ousted because he called for the repayment of that money at today's values, arguing that it had been "extorted".
2010-01-14 17:35 TU