Haiti Reborn Program Update
Cancel Debt Fast: Haiti Days of Action October 2-4, 2007
Make a Call to Congress this week!
(script/talking points below)
Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
Not sure who your member of Congress
is? Go here
Background: Over half of the loans Haiti continues to
pay were granted to corrupt and brutal dictators like
Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier. The Haitian
people continue to pay interest on these loans of a
clearly odious nature. This is money that could be
used to invest in health care or education in a country
where almost a quarter of children under five are
chronically malnourished and only 35% of students
are able to complete primary school. These loans
divert over $57 million per year from a country where half the people struggle to
survive on $1 a day or less. While the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and
the Inter-American Development Bank have allowed Haiti to enter their debt
cancellation programs they hold Haiti under the onerous framework of the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In the meantime Haiti will pay $110-140
million more in debt service to these institutions.
Understanding the immediate need for action, Representatives Waters, Bachus,
Delahunt, Lee, Payne, Conyers, Gutierrez and Maloney introduced H.Res 241 on
March 13, 2007. HR 241 now has 65 cosponsors and still needs more! The resolution
recommends that the Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Executive Directors at
the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Inter-American Development
Bank exercise US influence to completely and immediately cancel Haiti�s debt to
October 2-4: National call in days. We urge concerned citizens to take action by
contacting their representatives to demand congressional action on HR 241 Haiti
Debt Cancellation Act. If your member of Congress has already co-sponsored the
resolution give them a call anyway. Thank them for co-sponsoring the resolution and
ask him/her when we can expect a vote on the resolution. Then ask her/him to also
co-sponsor the Jubilee Act HR 2634.
Also, let your member of Congress know about the briefing on October 4. Call your
representative in both the district and Washington, DC offices. Find script for
contacting your Representative below.
October 2-4: Walk the Halls- Meetings with Congressional Members to encourage
support for debt cancellation.
October 4: Haiti Can�t Wait for Debt Cancellation Congressional Briefing on HR
241 3:30-5:00pm Room 2105 Rayburn House Office Building. The panel is co-
sponsored by Jubilee USA, TransAfrica Forum, Partners in Health, Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and the Quixote Center.
Script to call your Representative:
1. Find out who your Representative is by entering your zip code at www.house.gov
(upper left corner)
2. Pick up the phone and call the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
3. Ask to be connected to your Representative�s office. The receptionist will answer.
Introduce yourself as a constituent from ________ (city), (state)
4. Say some version of the following: “I am calling to urge Representative ______ to
co-sponsor the Haiti debt cancellation resolution (H Res 241), if she/he has not
already done so. This bill would provide immediate debt cancellation for Haiti. By
canceling the debt immediately we can support Haiti in the improvement of
healthcare, education, sanitation and other essential services and infrastructure. I urge
Representative _______ to co-sponsor this important legislation. To co-sponsor, your
staff should contact Kathleen Sengstock in Representative Maxine Waters� office at
(202)225-2201.” �(You can stop there, or add an additional sentence about why this
issue is important to you). �Then thank the receptionist and say goodbye.
Cancel Debt Fast for Haiti in Boston
From Health Blog, an online-only feature of the Boston Globe,
September 25, 2007:
Boston doctor fasting for debt relief for Haiti
A Boston doctor is fasting for three days as part of a national push to
cancel Haiti’s debt to the developed world.
Dr. Evan Lyon, a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a researcher
in its division of social medicine and healthcare inequalities, has worked in Haiti for
the past 10 years through Dr. Paul Farmer’s organization, Partners in Health.
Because of his connection to Haiti, Lyon got involved with the Jubilee USA
Network, a coalition of 80 religious denominations across the country that wants
Congress to cancel the debt of 26 countries and make it easier for other nations to
find financial relief.
“Hunger is the most important issue that we see” in Haiti, Lyon said in an interview
yesterday, the second day of having only one small meal and water. “It’s not
uncommon for the people I take care of to come into the clinic not having eaten for
one or two days. I chose to take this fast on with the understanding that for me it’s a
pretty modest thing to do.”
Jubilee, which has organized a 40-day fast across the country that began Sept. 6,
takes its inspiration from the biblical meaning of a jubilee year. Debts are canceled
and slaves are freed every seven years, according to the book of Leviticus. The
Jubilee Act is awaiting a hearing before the U.S. House Financial Services
Committee, according to the network.