Victory: Debt Cancellation for Haiti

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Guysanto
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Victory: Debt Cancellation for Haiti

Post by Guysanto » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:34 pm

Brian Concannon sent a message to the members of Friends of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

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Subject: Great News, Debt Cancellation Victory!

The Haitian people have won a great victory against historical injustice with the June 30, 2009 announcement of the cancellation of $1.2 billion in multilateral debt. It warms your heart to think of that money being spent on education, healthcare and clean water rather than debt service to wealthy banks.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible: Rep. Maxine Waters and her colleagues in the U.S. Congress, Jubilee USA and all the other NGOs that pitched in, and especially to all the people who wrote, called, faxed, fasted and demonstrated in support of this just cause.

We have a special section on this victory at the top of our website, with news articles and press releases from Jubilee USA, the World Bank and the IMF, http://www.IJDH.org.

Barb
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Post by Barb » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:10 pm

Wonderful news. I hope it results in something tangible for the people of Haiti.

I miss the active WOH! Facebook just ain't the same.

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:54 pm

Barb, I know how you feel. I know. I know. Hopefully, others will be reading this and say: We're losing a good forum. Let us try and be a bit more diligent this time around.

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Post by Guysanto » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:03 pm

[quote]Haiti Support Group press release - 2 July 2009

Like when a wrongly-convicted prisoner is released after years of incarceration, there can only be mixed feelings about yesterday's announcement of the cancellation of US$1.2 billion of Haiti's US$1.9 billion debt. Yes, it is good news that over 60% of Haiti's debt has been cancelled under the terms of the HIPC. But, on the other hand, it is a scandal that it took so long for the international finance institutions (IFIs) to take this step. Just think what could have been done with the money wasted on debt repayments over the last years? Part of the debt that has now been cancelled was composed of loans made to the Duvalier regimes in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. These loans were never used to develop the country and much of the amount was stolen by the Duvaliers and their clique. It remains an outrage that the Haitian people had to continue paying interest on these amounts until June 2009!

The HIPC debt cancellation announced by the IMF and World Bank is good news indeed, but what about those wasted years when the debt was being repaid and Haiti's economy went from bad to worse?

The debt cancellation means that the US$1m per week that the Haitian people have until now been paying to service the debt can instead be used for other purposes. The HSG would hope that this would mean more state support for national production for national consumption. However all the indications are that - under heavy pressure from the IFIs - the Haitian government will instead pursue a development strategy based on the deeply-flawed garment assembly export sector. Without ever providing a convincing argument, the IFIs have been pushing for decades for this sector to be the motor of Haiti's economic development. Despite the fact that this sector exists in a virtual vacuum with only minimal impact on the wider Haitian economy, only a few months ago UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and British economist Paul Collier made yet another proposal for international aid to fund garment assembly production in new Free Trade Zones.

Indeed, Corinne Delechat, IMF mission chief for Haiti, commenting on the debt cancellation, told Reuters that Haiti is a 'land of opportunity if you're an entrepreneur and an investor," adding, "It is a golden moment for Haiti to start investing in export capacity, particularly in textiles."
It looks like the IFIs' interventions will result in the HIPC debt cancellation being a matter of Haiti taking one step forward, while their focus on garment assembly for export will take the country two steps back.[/quote]


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Sent by the Haiti Support Group - A British solidarity organisation supporting the Haitian people's struggle for participatory democracy, human rights and equitable development - www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org

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