Thursday, February 12, 2009

Take Action to Cancel Haiti's Debt

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) have written a letter to World Bank President Robert Zoellick, urging him to suspend all further debt service payments from Haiti and grant the nation complete debt cancellation. Rep. Waters is asking her colleagues in the House of Representatives to join her by signing the letter. The more Representatives who sign on to the letter, the stronger the message to World Bank President Zoellick – cancel Haiti’s debt and allow the Haitian government to focus on the needs of its people.

Read the letter:

The Washington Post reported on February 7:
Haitian President René Préval said yesterday that his impoverished country is in desperate need of economic assistance and is seeking as much as $100 million to fill a budget gap that he said could send Haiti back into anarchy.

"I believe we are at a very serious turning point," Préval said in an interview. "We can either win or lose." He argued that his long-troubled country was on its way to normalcy when rising food prices, the economic crisis and a series of devastating hurricanes left it reeling.

Préval spoke through an interpreter, but when asked when Haiti needed the money, he broke into English and simply declared, "Now."

You can help Haiti now - by calling on the World Bank to cancel Haiti's debt immediately.

More background information on Haiti –"

Faith Reflection:
Haiti’s accumulated debt is illegitimate and unjust. Throughout Scripture, from the books of the Law to the Prophets to the Gospels, we are called to celebrate Jubilee, cancel debts and restore economic equality (see Leviticus 25, Amos 5:11-15 and Matthew 18:23-35).

"Let us proclaim Jubilee by helping to cancel the debt for Haiti, which suffers this unjust burden. Let us be part of God’s justice in a broken world.

Please call your U.S. Representative TODAY and urge him/her to sign on to the Congressional letter to World Bank President Zoellick calling for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti. The deadline for signatures is 5pm on Wednesday, February 18.

1. Dial the Capitol Switchboard – 202-224- 3121. Ask to be connected with your Representative’s office. (Go to "" to find your Representative).

2. You will be connected with the receptionist. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles international issues.

3. Whether you speak to the staffer in person, or just leave a message on his/her voicemail, here’s what to say:
“My name is ___________ and I am a constituent from __(your city)___. I am calling to ask that Representative ___________ sign Rep Waters’ letter calling on World Bank President Zoellick (pronounced “sell – lick”) to cancel Haiti’s debt. Haiti should be freed to use its resources for education and health care rather than debt repayment. To sign the letter, contact Kathleen Sengstock in Rep. Waters office”

4. If you are speaking to the staff person be sure to thank them for their time and ask whether they think that the Representative will sign the letter.

5. Let us know the results of your call, by emailing

The deadline for signatures is 5pm on Wednesday, February 18th, so please act now!

1 comment:

Timbo said...

Just interested in your thoughts on the efficacy of debt cancellation in light of the current governments approach to potentially corrupt unilateral solutions based on your post from Feb 10...


Hope you two are doing great. See you Weds, Ben.



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