The National City Bank of New York & Haiti

With American influence becoming so strong in Haiti through the United States permanent control and administration of customs, finances, etc., followed, as it naturally would be, by American investment in the island and increased trading between the two countries, it was natural that the National Bank, heretofore almost entirely in Europe, should pass into full American ownership. Being already interested in a small degree in the institution, The National City Bank with full faith in the future development of Haiti, contemplates acquiring the entire business of the bank, and, while its independent organization would continue, the bank’s affairs would be directed from New York instead of from Paris. This change will bring to the merchants of Haiti a full City Bank Service, and more adequate and efficient facilities to our merchants trading with the republic.

John H. Allen, “American Co-Operation Assures a Better Era for Haiti,” The Americas (May 1920)

To know the reasons for the present political situation in Haiti, to understand why the United States landed and has for five years maintained military forces in that country, why some three thousand Haitian men, women, and children have been shot down by American rifles and machine guns, it is necessary, among other things, to know that the National City Bank of New York is very much interested in Haiti. It is necessary to know that the National City Bank controls the National Bank of Haiti and is the depository for all of the Haitian national funds that are being collected by American officials, and that Mr. R. L. Farnham, vice-president of the National City Bank, is virtually the representative of the State Department in matters relating to the island republic.

James Weldon Johnson, Self-Determining Haiti (1920)

Citigroup’s history in Haiti is remembered as both among the most spectacular episodes of U.S. dollar diplomacy in the Caribbean and as an egregious example of officials in Washington working at the behest of Wall Street. It’s also a story marked by military intervention, violations of national sovereignty and the deaths of thousands.

“Where does Haiti fit in Citigroup’s Corporate History?” Bloomberg (June 2012)

Image: Cover of Le Matin (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), February 26, 1927: Source: Digital Library of the Caribbean.

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  1. Posted April 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    The National City Bank of New York & Haiti:

  2. Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    93 years ago: “American Co-Operation Assures a Better Era for Haiti” via @public_archive

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