Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Cancel Debt Fast: Haiti Days of Action

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

these institutions.

Take Action!

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.

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org

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