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Haitian Consortium

Debt Cancellation Campaign for Haiti

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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

While some 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 reforms.

 

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 years.

 

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

 

·  Parnell Gérard Duverger, Centre Louverture pour la Liberté et le Développement,

·         Randall Robinson, 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,

·         Dr. Mark Schuller, Vassar College,

·         Linda Bales, Director, General Board of Church and Society

 

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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

Orlando, Florida, 32839 (USA)

Phone: 206-312-7274   / 206-736-7808

e-mail: campaign@haitianconsortium.con

web site : www.haitianconsortium.com

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