Support Debt Cancellation for Haiti

Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL) are calling on their colleagues to sign a bi-partisan letter to the Secretary of the Treasury urging him to 1) expedite the cancellation of Haiti’s debts to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other multilateral financial institutions, and 2) urge an immediate suspension of debt service payments from Haiti.

Both Representatives have gone out on a limb for the poor of Haiti, and now they need you to tell your Representative to stand up with them. Haitians need you too: recent headlines remind us of Haitians eating cookies made of salt, butter and dirt, because they cannot afford food. While Haitians are forced to eat dirt, their government is forced to send almost $1 million each week in debt service to wealthy banks that were established to fight poverty. Over half of Haiti’s outstanding loans went to dictators like Francois “Papa Doc” and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who spent the money on fur coats, fast cars and death squads. Haiti’s poor are now repaying the loans, by eating dirt and by foregoing elementary education and basic healthcare.

The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) recognized that Haiti’s debt is unjust when they accepted Haiti into their debt cancellation programs last year. But these programs would only cancel about half of Haiti’s debt, after more waiting (a year or more) and only if Haiti makes changes to its economy that could exacerbate hunger (see Debt Cancellation for Haiti: No Reason for Further Delays, by the Center for Economic Policy Research).

Representatives Waters and Bachus have also introduced H. Res. 241, the Haiti Debt Cancellation Resolution, but they felt that issuing a quicker letter right now is warranted by the extreme suffering in Haiti. Their letter also seeks to broaden its appeal to Republican House Members who understand that debt relief is the just, the decent and the right thing to do, but disagree with H.Res. 241’s stance against IFI conditions placed on debt relief. The letter seeks to immediately alleviate poverty in Haiti by immediately stopping Haiti’s payments to the international financial institutions, which would allow the government to immediately invest the money in public services that can save lives.

$1 million per week would go a long way in Haiti, where half the population struggles to survive on $1 US per day or less. Please do what you can to keep that money in Haiti.

Please find more information, including fact sheets, analyses and an activist toolkit, see the Haiti Debt Cancellation section of The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, or Jubilee USA.

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