Saturday, January 23, 2010

TELL THE IMF & IDB: NO SHOCK DOCTRINE FOR HAITI

Forgive Haiti's debt

Our message to the IMF and International Development Bank: The IMF must make good on its promise to forgive all $265 million of debt Haiti owes, and the IDB should do the same with its massive $477 million debt. Grants -not loans- will give Haiti what it needs to rebuild its public sector and become independent of foreign assistance for economic stability.
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Less than 24 hours after last week's earthquake in Haiti, the right-wing Heritage Foundation showed us the meaning of compassionate conservativism.

Heritage said that the devastation offered an "opportunity to re-shape Haiti's long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

Disaster capitalism is real, and right-wing activists want to use the chaos in Haiti to their advantage, exposing the country to the inequalities and undemocratic ways of the global corporate system.

So what can you do to stop them? Click here to automatically tell the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank to forgive Haiti's debt.

Grants not loans will give Haiti what it needs to rebuild its public sector and become independent of foreign assistance for economic stability. The IMF must make good on its promise to forgive all $265 million of debt Haiti owes, and the IDB should do the same with its massive $477 million debt.

As Richard Kim pointed out in The Nation last week, it's no accident that Haiti lacks infrastructure and is vulnerable to natural disaster Haiti has been burdened for centuries by the bondage of slavery and debt. Freed slaves were forced to pay reparations to their former slave owners, and Kim notes that "by 1900, Haiti was spending 80 percent of its national budget on repayments." It's unconscionable, but it's not unlike what the right is asking for now.

Debt forgiveness will ensure that Haiti can get back on its feet and ward off disaster capitalists seeking to profit from the tragedy. By clicking here now, you'll automatically tell the IMF and IDB no shock doctrine for Haiti.

Thank you for your outpouring of support for the people of Haiti in this time of need.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets


P.S. I just watched the documentary this morning called "Life+Debt." It details Jamaica's struggles with being backed into an economic corner, forced to take loans from the IMF first, then the World Bank, and finally the Inter-America Development Bank. The conditions on the loans forced them to drop almost all the tariffs and regulations on foreign imports, bankrupting local farmers, dairy producers, and other small industries that the tiny island could sustain. And don't get me started on the "Kingston Free Zone." Least to say, it was interesting and eye-opening, and I can only imagine what has happened in Haiti up to the point of this disaster, and how much more open they are to economic exploitation now. Honestly, I don't know, and hope there's reporters on the ground that will tell that story, and not just the horror stories of individual suffering. (thnks, KRB)

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