Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti’s Debt

by Joe Emersberger and Jeb Sprague Despite being the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti lags behind many countries in the Americas in obtaining debt relief through a program run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. A hard-hitting paper published in December by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) argues that the IMF and World Bank should disregard the rules of their HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Country) program: “Haiti’s debt should be cancelled without further delay,” wrote Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval, authors of the study entitled “Debt Cancellation for Haiti: No Reason for Further Delays.” If Haiti were to comply with the conditions of the HIPC program by September 2008, then about $1.2 billion of its $1.5 billion external foreign debt would be canceled. �The study explains why it […]

To help Haiti recover, cancel its debt

By MARLENE BASTIEN In October, 79-year old minister David Duncombe broke a 46-day starvation fast at a prayer breakfast in Washington attended by members of Congress, African parliamentarians and religious leaders from Haiti and the United States. Duncombe led Jubilee USA’s national fast urging debt cancellation for the world’s most impoverished countries. When asked why he would risk his life this way, Duncombe said he wanted lawmakers to see starvation first-hand and understand the devastating effect of debt on countries like Liberia and Haiti. Today, the world’s poorest countries spend more than $100 million each day to service debt often previously incurred by dictators — money they can’t spend on food, education, health services and other basic needs. In turn, the United States spends billions investing in health, education and other infrastructure in these countries because these burdensome interest payments […]

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 […]

Haiti: Where a Wage of $2 a Day is Too Much for the Lords of Industry to Pay

By YVES ENGLER Why did Canada help overthrow Haiti’s elected government in 2004? That’s a question I heard over and over when speaking about Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority, a book Anthony Fenton and I co-wrote. Most people had difficulty understanding why their country – and the US to some extent – would intervene in a country so poor, so seemingly marginal to world affairs. Why would they bother? I would answer that Canada participated in the coup as a way to make good with Washington, especially after (officially) declining the Bush administration’s invitation (order) to join the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. It is also worth noting that at the start of 2003 the Haitian minimum wage was 36 Gourdes ($1) a day, which was nearly doubled to 70 Gourdes by the Aristide government. […]

Cancel Haiti’s Debt This Summer

Half-Hour for Haiti: Cancel Haiti’s Debt This Summer Update: First of all, I’d like to welcome everyone who has joined the Half-Hour for Haiti program over the last few weeks, especially all the folks who signed up at the U.S. Social Forum.  We’ll look forward to working with you to obtain justice for Haiti! Thanks to everyone who wrote two weeks ago asking Prosecutor Gassant to free political prisoners as part of his efforts to reduce the prison population. Mario Joseph, the prisoners’ lawyer, appreciates your making his job easier. Mario does not have good news to report yet, but he’s still working on it. Coming Attractions:  On August 18 there will be a Grassroots Music and Arts Festival at Bethel Farm in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. The festival will feature music, art, films, hiking, swimming and other summer fun, with […]

Swiss government extends freeze on “Baby Doc” accounts

Haiti: Swiss govt extends freeze on \’Baby Doc\’ accounts BY Following legal moves by a Miami-based law firm representing two victims of the Duvalier dictatorship, and a spirited lobbying campaign by Haitian, Latin American and European NGOs over recent weeks The Swiss government announced last week that it had extended a freeze on Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s Swiss bank accounts for a further three months. Release The money, 7.6m Swiss francs (�3.1m/US$6.2m), has been frozen for the past five years as the Haitian government has argued for its release, but was due to be surrendered to Duvalier on 3 June. Now the accounts will remain blocked for a further three months from 3 June, according to Swiss government spokesman Oswald Sigg. He stated that the Swiss foreign ministry would now try to resolve the situation with the Duvalier family and […]

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