An illustration depicting plantations burning in 1791, during the Haitian Revolution. Credit: Universal Images Group, via Getty Images.

NEW YORK — In a special report on Haiti published days after Haitian Flag Day, The New York Times looked at the long history of payments Haiti made to France to secure its hard-won independence and how “the ransom” crippled the First Black Republic. The impact of the initial debt, refusal by other nations to acknowledge Haiti as a sovereign country, subsequent punitive international financial deals – including one involving United States-based Citibank, and Haitian rulers’ corruption – all had a hand in creating the under-developed country Haiti is today.

“For generations, the descendants of enslaved people paid the descendants of their former slave masters, with money that could have been used to build schools, roads, clinics or a vibrant economy,” said a recap of the five stories. 

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Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of a 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at or on Twitter @larisakarr.