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Lift the Debt Burden on Poor Countries September 21st, 2009


Without debt relief, the developing world has little hope of economic progress, say the Rev. John Welch* and Ruth Messinger*.

The two members of Jubilee USA argue for debt cancellation in the poorest countries in a compelling article published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the eve of the G-20, the international financial summit being hosted by President Obama.

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Stop Vulture Funds Bill Supported by Broad Array of Faith Groups and NGOs August 21st, 2009

vflogoThe Oblate JPIC Office joined a broad array of faith groups and Non-Governmental Organizations in sending a letter to US Congressional Representatives asking for their support for the Stop Vulture Funds Act. This is newly introduced legislation that would prevent vulture funds (often a type of hedge fund) from making this excessive profit at the expense of poor countries struggling under the burden of debt.

Read the letter here.

‘Vulture fund’ is a name given to a company that seeks to make profit by buying up debt that is in default on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar, then sues the country in US or European courts once creditor countries forgive the debts owed them by a struggling country. As the value of the remaining debt rises, the Vulture Fund can often recover up to ten times the purchase price.

Some vulture funds target failing companies, but the ‘vulture fund’ campaign is focused on those that target the sovereign debts of impoverished countries.

Learn more about the vulture funds campaign

$1.2 Billion in Haitian Debt Cancellation: A Welcome Victory July 1st, 2009

Extended Campaign to Win Relief for Haiti Finally Pays Off

haitian_childrenThe Oblate JPIC Office joins other members of the Jubilee USA Network in welcoming the news that, at last, Haiti has reached “completion point” in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program.

This step means the cancellation of $1.2 billion in external debt owed by the impoverished island nation to bilateral and multilateral lenders including the IMF, World Bank, and US government. The Boards of the World Bank and IMF met on June 30 to formally approve Haiti’s debt stock cancellation under HIPC and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.

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72 Members of Congress Urge World Bank to Cancel Haiti’s Debt February 27th, 2009

Debt Cancellation Will Help Haiti Avoid National Collapse, Give Fragile Democracy a Chance
A bipartisan group of 72 US Representatives called on World Bank President Robert Zoellick late yesterday to immediately suspend all scheduled debt repayments from Haiti and grant complete debt cancellation to the impoverished nation. Haiti currently sends $1.6 million to the World Bank every month while thousands of Haitians starve and the nation struggles to fill a severe budget gap that threatens the struggling democracy’s stability.

The letter to President Zoellick was circulated by US Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) as well as Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee. The Representatives express deep concern about “the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Haiti and the difficulties Haiti has faced in qualifying for the cancellation of its debts.” “We understand that Haiti is scheduled to send approximately $20 million to the World Bank in 2009,” the letter reads, “Clearly, this money would be better spent on basic infrastructure and poverty reduction for the Haitian people.” Signers include 72 US Representatives from across the political spectrum, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA).

Download a PDF of the letter from Members of Congress to World Bank President Zoellick

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