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Philippines’ Foreign Debt Payments Dwarf Relief Aid After Typhoon Haiyan December 20th, 2013
More than a month after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, the country has paid approximately $900 million in debt repayments—more than twice as much as it’s received in pledged aid from countries around the world to support the recovery effort. The Philippines government will spend a total of $6.7 billion on debt repayments this year alone, some of which originates from the corrupt and abusive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, who was responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Filipinos and the torture of 35,000.
Jubilee USA is calling for a major shift in debt policy vis a vis the Philippines. “The World Bank and international lenders have yet to cancel the debts that fueled Marcos regime corruption. While Filipinos were tortured and lived in poverty, we watched Marcos’s wife accumulating one of the world’s largest shoe collections,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “If these debts were cancelled they could rebuild the Philippines and safeguard the country from the impacts of climate change.”
The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan is now at more than 6,000 people, while nearly 2,000 people remain unaccounted for. Meanwhile, more than 4 million people have been displaced. ”The World Bank and other international lenders must be subject to an independent debt audit,” said LeCompte. “It’s also critical that lenders offer unconditional grants to the Philippines rather than loans that will further drive the country into poverty.”
US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Vulture Funds Case October 8th, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take the landmark debt case between Argentina and bondholders led by NML Capital, a hedge fund that buys the debt of countries in financial crisis. Argentina is expected to file a second petition in the coming months that the Supreme Court will review and decide again if it will hear the case. In June, Argentina filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to overturn a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made last October. The ruling ordered Argentina to pay bondholders $1.33 billion based on the court’s interpretation of a pari passu, or parity clause.
“The faith community is saddened by the high court’s decision,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious antipoverty organization. “Given the likelihood of Argentina filing again to the U.S. Supreme Court on this global poverty case, we’re praying upon another review the U.S. Supreme Court will take it.”
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Hedge Funds Win/Global Poor Lose August 23rd, 2013Argentine Bonds Surge. Ruling Delayed as U.S. Supreme Court Considers Taking Appeal
WASHINGTON, DC – In the landmark case of NML Capital, LTD v. The Republic of Argentina, the New York based U.S. Circuit Court upheld a previous ruling ordering Argentina to pay $1.33 billion to hold out hedge funds. Argentine bonds soared and antipoverty advocates held their breath as the 2nd Circuit Court delayed the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides if they will take appeals on the case.
“Our eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court. We pray the court will not forget the world’s poor as they consider taking the case,” asserted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious antipoverty campaign known as Jubilee USA.
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Norway Conducts First Creditor Debt Audit August 20th, 2013
August 15 was an historic day for international debt justice. The Norwegian government launched the world’s first audit commissioned by a creditor, which evaluated the debt that developing countries owe to Norway. The report found that four of the 34 contracts were not in line with the UN Principles for Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing from the UN Conference for Trade and Development (the UNCTAD Principles).
This legislation addresses a systemic cause of poverty – the fact that many multinational corporations don’t pay taxes to the developing governments that need the revenue most. Between 2000 and 2008, 6.5 trillion dollars left the developing world completely untaxed. If this money had been taxed modestly, we wouldn’t be facing a global debt crisis and there would be better access to food in the poorest countries. A key way this legislation curbs tax dodging is by requiring country-by-country reporting of corporate payments to governments.
This is good legislation that also has positive impacts for us in the United States, curbs corruption globally and gives us the information we need to start addressing global corporate tax avoidance.
Photo: The building is a well-known tax haven called the Ugland House in the Cayman Islands that houses 18,857 registered businesses.
Thanks to Jubilee USA for the information in this Action Alert!
Argentina Takes on Vulture Funds in “Debt Trial of the Century” April 23rd, 2013
For years, “vulture funds” have preyed on struggling nations by purchasing their debt for a pittance. Could an upcoming U.S. court decision put an end to the extortion of poor countries?
Last October, soldiers from the West African nation of Ghana boarded an Argentine naval ship called the Libertad. They overtook the crew and brought the ship to port in the town of Tema. This was not an act of piracy, at least not in the sense we normally understand it. The detaining of the Libertad took place after hedge fund NML Capital convinced a Ghanaian court that the ship, which was sailing in Ghanaian jurisdiction, should be held ransom for a debt the hedge funds claimed Argentina owed them.
The saga began in 2001, when Argentina was thrown into economic crisis and defaulted on its loans. Hedge funds swooped in and bought Argentine debt for almost nothing and circled until the country was in recovery to collect the debt in full.