Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti : Call the U.S. Congress- Break the Chains of Haiti’s Debt

July 24, 2006
Half-Hour for Haiti: Call the U.S. Congress- Break the Chains of Haiti’s Debt
Update:  On Tuesday, Haiti is hosting a meeting of donors to discuss foreign development assistance (see Haiti seeks billions in international aid, Reuters, and The Haitian Government’s working paper (in French)). IJDH notes in an Op-Ed in today’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Haiti Needs Justice, Not Charity, From The International Community– if France were to repay the Independence Debt that it illegally extorted in 1825, there would be no need for foreign aid conferences or foreign aid.The award-winning movie about the International Community’s overthrow of Haiti’s democracy in 2004- Aristide and the Endless Revolution, is now available on DVD for $25 or less, at Amazon.com and many other internet outlets. The film is a great tool for peace groups, solidarity organizations and anyone trying to understand US foreign policy over the last six years.This week’s action: Tuesday, July 25 is the call-in day to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Haiti Debt Relief Bill calling for the cancellation of Haiti’s debt. So we will join with Jubilee USA Network’s action alert, below.It is summer, and everyone has a lot to do, but please take a few minutes to call your member of Congress, and to ask a few members of your networks to do the same.  If you don’t have the time or information for an extended talk, simply call your member’s office, and tell the receptionist “my name is ___, and I support debt cancellation to release resources to fight poverty in Haiti.  I am calling to urge Rep. ____ to co-sponsor House Resolution 888, which would immediately cancel Haiti’s debt”- that should take less than 60 seconds total. If you can, try to engage the staff member who covers debt relief or foreign policy issues. Jubilee has a sample script in the action alert; for tips on lobbying by phone, click here.

It is particularly important to contact Republican members of Congress.  There are already three Republican co-sponsors, Rep.’s Bachus [AL], Foley [FL] and Leach, [IA], but we need many more. Human rights is not a partisan issue- remember last January, when the intervention of Republicans, especially Sen. Lugar [IA] and Rep.’s Ros-Lehtinen [FL] and Burton [IA] made all the difference in freeing political prisoner Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste in time to receive life-saving cancer treatment.

July 25th Call-In Day for Haiti:
Urge Your Representative to Cancel Haiti’s Debt!

Tomorrow July 25th we urge you to call your members of Congress to support the House resolution that would immediately cancel Haiti’s debt. July 25 is our national call-in day to have supporters contact their Members around the country urging them to co-sponsor H.Res. 888. The 25th is the date of an international donors conference in Haiti to support the newly elected government of Rene Preval.
The Haiti debt cancellation resolution (H.Res. 888) urges the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and other international financial institutions to completely cancel Haiti’s debt without delays!
Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere. Haiti’s massive debt burden of $1.4 billion is both unpayable and unjust. Much of Haiti’s debt was contracted under 30 years of Duvalier regimes, notorious for human rights abuses. Though the country was added in April to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank’s debt relief program, under the program’s harmful economic policy conditions, Haiti will not see irrevocable debt cancellation for three or more years. Haiti cannot wait years or suffer through more such policies to see its debt cancelled.
Contact Your Representative on July 25th!
You can help Haiti achieve immediate debt cancellation without delays or strings attached by calling your representative on July 25th and asking them to co-sponsor the Haiti debt cancellation resolution in the House (H.Res. 888). To co-sponsor the resolution, the Member’s staff should call Kathleen Sengstock in Representative Maxine Waters’ office at (202) 225-2201. If your Representative has already co-sponsored the resolution, please call to thank them. To find contact information for your representative, visit http://www.house.gov/writerep. To find out whether your Representative has co-sponsored this resolution, see http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.res.00888:. See www.jubileeusa.org for a phone script to call your Member.
To learn more about Haiti’s debt, see Jubilee’s front page at www.jubileeusa.org and click on “Break the Chains of Haiti’s Debt.” Read our new factsheet detailing the origins of the country’s debt.
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For more information about the Half-Hour for Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, or human rights in Haiti, see www.ijdh.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts once per week, send an email to HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh.org.

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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
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Boston, MA

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
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