What I appreciated most about the international public reaction was the obvious hunger for an alternative narrative of Haiti, one that emphasized the global significance of its achievements during and after the revolution. Cave’s article quoted Leslie Manigat, a Haitian historian and former president. “In the context of the Haitian tragedy,” Manigat argued, “it is important for Haitians and the rest of the world to remember the independence of Haiti.” It was a chance for a public audience to talk about something other than Haiti’s recent political turmoil, devastating poverty, and the destruction of the earthquake.
The Haiti indemnity controversy refers to events surrounding the 1825 demand by France for a FR₣150 million indemnity (later FR₣90 million, comparable to US$12.7 billion as of 2009 with consideration to inflation) to be paid by the Republic of Haiti in claims over property lost through the Haitian Revolution in return for diplomatic recognition. The demand was allegedly delivered to the country by 12 French warships armed with 500 cannons.
Diplomatic recognition by France of Haiti only came in 1834, thirty years after the latter country's declaration of independence. The indemnity was an unrealistic amount, and could never have been fully paid.
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