France's Sarkozy Pledges Aid in Historic Visit to Haiti

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France's national anthem blared across the tarmac on Wednesday as Nicolas Sarkozy made the first visit ever by a French president to Haiti, once his nation's richest colony — offering aid to a country prostrate after a catastrophic earthquake.

He said his visit had particular resonance given France and Haiti's historical ties and acknowledged that the "wounds of colonization" were perhaps still fresh in the minds of many Haitians, some of whom blame France for the country's troubles.

In 1825, crippled by the U.S.-led international embargo that was enforced by French warships, Haiti agreed to pay France 150 million francs in compensation for the lost "property" — including slaves — of French plantation owners.

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