I learned of this shit today via Ted Koppell on NPR-
After a dramatic slave uprising that shook the western world, and 12 years of war, Haiti finally defeated Napoleon’s forces in 1804 and declared independence. But France demanded reparations: 150m francs, in gold.
For Haiti, this debt did not signify the beginning of freedom, but the end of hope. Even after it was reduced to 60m francs in the 1830s, it was still far more than the war-ravaged country could afford. Haiti was the only country in which the ex-slaves themselves were expected to pay a foreign government for their liberty. By 1900, it was spending 80% of its national budget on repayments. In order to manage the original reparations, further loans were taken out — mostly from the United States, Germany and France. Instead of developing its potential, this deformed state produced a parade of nefarious leaders, most of whom gave up the insurmountable task of trying to fix the country and looted it instead. In 1947, Haiti finally paid off the original reparations, plus interest.
The main way they paid it off was from exotic hardwood lumber used for fancy French furniture. One of the reasons the quake was so deadly was that the lack of roots in the deforested hillsides meant the soil just took off downhill.
Ain't that some BUUUUULLLLLLLLLLSHIT? I know who needs to foot the bill for rebuilding.
Buy better hooks and bourbon.