The bank now known as Citibank instigated a violent, decades-long, U.S. takeover of Haiti in 1915, with disastrous consequences for Haitians and enormous profits for Citibank.
The Haitian Revolution is one of human history’s great stories of freedom. Over 14 years, hundreds of thousands of Haitians, most famously the brilliant revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture, successfully won their liberation from slavery, and political control of their future, free from the yoke of white slave powers.
The example of a successful republic run by formerly enslaved Black people in the backyard of the United States, roughly 60 years before the Emancipation Proclamation, could not be allowed to stand, with then-U.S. president Thomas Jefferson expressing horror at the very idea. Retribution was immediate and would only get worse.
In 1825, the formerly enslaved Haitian people were violently coerced by the French government to provide an enormous sum in “reparations” to their former oppressors — their once-slaveholders — forcing the ostensibly independent state of Haiti to lose control of its own fate. The human cost was immense.
The following century would be of relentless deprivation and impoverishment for Haitians, with the French government and the French bank Crédit Industriel et Commercial establishing puppet institutions like the National Bank of Haiti, which was to rule Haiti instead of the Haitian people, as the country sank deeper and deeper into misery and crisis.
In the 1910s, at the urging of the bank that is now called Citibank, the US. government ordered a military invasion and occupation of Haiti, taking over political and financial control at the cost of Haiti’s future and making Citibank untold billions richer in return.
Haiti remains devastated by centuries of colonial and neocolonial rule imposed by foreign governments and institutions like Citibank.
Citibank hasn’t acknowledged its role in Haiti’s suffering, nor paid back any part of what they owe to Haitians for the wealth and resources they’ve extracted by keeping Haitians in debt for over a century.