Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Rep. Maxine Waters Sign-On Letter in Support of Debt Cancellation

The letter will be open to additional Members of Congress until the close of business on Monday, February 1st.  Urge your rep to sign now!

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January 27, 2010

Urge Treasury to Support

Debt Cancellation for Haiti

Dear Colleague:

We ask you to join us in sending a letter to the Honorable Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, to urge him to support canceling Haiti’s debts in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010.

The Government of Haiti cannot afford to invest in humanitarian relief, reconstruction and development efforts, while continuing to make payments on debts owed to multilateral financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  Even before the earthquake, debt service payments to these institutions were a tremendous burden that interfered with the ability of the Government of Haiti to meet the needs of its people.

We are urging Secretary Geithner to support three specific actions that should be a part of the international community’s response to this terrible tragedy:  (1) the complete cancellation of  all remaining debts owed by Haiti to multilateral financial institutions, (2) the suspension of Haiti’s debt service payments to these institutions until such time as the debts are canceled, and (3) the provision of additional assistance to Haiti in the form of grants so that the country does not accumulate additional debts.

Please join us in urging Secretary Geithner to support debt cancellation for Haiti and allow the Government of Haiti to use its meager resources for the needs of its people.  The letter is on the reverse.  If you have any questions or would like to sign on to the letter, please contact Kathleen Sengstock of Congresswoman Waters’ staff at 52201.

Sincerely,

______________________________          ______________________________

Maxine Waters                                           Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

______________________________          ______________________________

William Delahunt                                                Donald Payne

______________________________

Barbara Lee

January __, 2010

The Honorable Timothy Geithner

Secretary of the Treasury

Dear Secretary Geithner:

We are certain that you share our concern for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010.

We are writing today to urge you to support three specific actions that should be a part of the international community’s response to this terrible tragedy:  (1) the complete cancellation of  all remaining debts owed by Haiti to multilateral financial institutions, (2) the suspension of Haiti’s debt service payments to these institutions until such time as the debts are canceled, and (3) the provision of additional assistance to Haiti in the form of grants so that the country does not accumulate additional debts.

As you know, in June of 2009, Haiti secured $1.2 billion in debt cancellation from its major creditors when it reached the completion point in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  This was a critical step forward.  But even after this relief, Haiti still owes a total of $709 million in debts to multilateral financial institutions, including $447 million to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), $165 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), $39 million to the World Bank, and $58 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

We welcome recent statements from officials at the multilateral financial institutions of their intentions to consider cancellation of Haiti’s remaining debts.  We urge you to use the voice and vote of the United States on the Executive Boards of these institutions to secure cancellation of all of Haiti’s remaining multilateral debts.  While arrangements are worked out for cancellation, we urge you to support a moratorium on debt service payments from Haiti to these institutions, without the accrual of interest.

We also welcome the pledges of additional financial assistance from international governments and multilateral financial institutions, as it is critical that all available resources be delivered to Haiti as quickly as possible.  However, we urge that all assistance be in the form of grants instead of new loans.

Specifically, we strongly urge you to work to ensure that the $100 million loan offered to Haiti by the IMF be provided on terms comparable to a grant and without onerous conditions.  We are encouraged by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s recent statement that the IMF intends to work to cancel all of Haiti’s debts including this new loan.  We urge you to work with the IMF and the other multilateral financial institutions to make this happen.

Debt cancellation will allow the Government of Haiti to use its meager resources for essential humanitarian relief, reconstruction and development efforts.  We thank you for your consideration of our views on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

cc:     Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF

Mr. Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank
Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB

Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD

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