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A message from: Enock N. Gustave, Chairperson
To our members and friends,
On June 11, 2008 | Many of you signed the petition
to Secretary Paulson urging immediate debt cancellation for Haiti.
With the support of many
humanitarian organizations, concerned citizens, and philanthropists,
Jubilee USA Network delivered your petition to the U.S. Treasury Department
urging Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. to support immediate debt
cancellation for Haiti.
Your signed petition has
joined with Members of Congress, religious leaders and development
advocates from across the country in urging immediate action on Haiti's
debt in light of the current food crisis.
Why are we calling for Debt Cancellation for Haiti?
THE CASE OF HAITI
Haitians are reportedly eating dirt to quell their hunger, their government
is forced to pay almost $1 million each week in debt service to wealthy
banks that were supposedly established to fight poverty.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 80% of Haiti's
population live in poverty as defined by the World Bank (under $2 a day).
Average life expectancy is just 52 years. Half of all Haitian adults cannot
read or write.
Despite this Haiti is saddled with a $1.3 billion debt burden
and has only recently qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor
Country Initiative (HIPC), established in 1996. It will not receive debt
relief until it has met a series of conditions, including economic policy
Haiti is paying around $1 million a week to the rich world in
debt repayments. The World Bank’s funding program offers Haiti $10 million
– a figure which will effectively cover its debt repayments for 10 weeks.
This is clearly insufficient to deal with a crisis that the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has predicted could last for 10
Haiti’s plight is a clear example of the damage
that can be done to poor countries, when their national governments fail to
bring other important public choices in line with necessary structural
adjustment policies. For example, Haiti slashed
its rice tariff from 35% to 3%, in 1995. According to Oxfam, this resulted in an increase in imports of
more than 150% between 1994 and 2003, with 95% of them coming from the US. By
2005, three out of every four plates of rice eaten in Haiti came from the US.
Traditional rice-farming areas of Haiti now have some of the
highest concentrations of malnutrition and a country that was
self-sufficient in rice is now dependent on foreign imports.
The Debt Cancellation Campaign for Haiti was initiated in
1983 by the Haitian Consortium with the support of the Phelps Stoke
Fund. For the past decade, the Campaign has received the
endorsement of many organizations, philanthropists and World Leaders. Our
salutation and gratitude to Jubilee USA Network!
SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL CONSORTIUM MEMBERS AND SPECIALLY TO THE
FOLLOWING PEOPLE FOR THEIR ONGOING DEVOTION
Gérard Duverger, Centre Louverture pour la Liberté et le
Founder and President of TransAfrica
Rev. Jesse Jackson,
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.),
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.),
Dr. Paul E. Farmer, Founder
of Partners in Health,
Mary Ellen McNish, General
Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee,
Brian Concannon Jr., Director
of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti,
Emira Woods, Co-Director,
Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies,
Schuller, Vassar College,
Board of Church and Society
The Haitian Consortium is a nonprofit, grassroots alliance
organization committed to helping Haitian communities achieve economic
sufficiency. The Haitian Consortium fosters strategic alliances with
grassroots movements, community programs, neighborhood associations and
religious organizations in the United States and the Caribbean in order to
achieve its goals.
The Haitian Consortium is
organized and operated exclusively for charitable, community empowerment,
human development and educational purposes within the meaning of Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Services of the United States. The
Haitian Consortium is also registered to operate as a not for profit
organization in Haiti and represented by other foreign body.
If you have any questions or need Additional information,
please contact us at:
The Haitian Consortium
5685 South Orange Blossom Trail
Florida, 32839 (USA)
Phone: 206-312-7274 / 206-736-7808
web site :