Action: Urge your Senator to sign a bipartisan letter to President Obama.
Background: Low-income countries continue to pay high debt-servicing fees to the wealthiest countries through international financial institutions. For many of these countries, servicing such a debt means inability to provide social services for their own citizens. This problem has been exacerbated by the recent global financial crisis where we see debt burdens for low-income countries rising.
[This is an issue that has had no small impact in Haiti, where until last year servicing the debt accrued by the brutal, 29-year Duvalier regime required a larger portion of government spending than education or healthcare. Most of the country's debt was forgiven after the earthquake, but despite international calls that further aid be given to Haiti in the form of grants, not loans, the International Monetary Fund has since loaned Haiti $60 million.]
Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) are sending a letter to President Obama urging him to take serious steps in reforming the lending practices and policies of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other multilateral development banks.
Faith Reflection: “Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat””[Amos 8:4-6].
Jesus condemns mistreatment of the poor and the needy. He teaches us to seek good and work for justice. Instead of helping them, the current lending practices of the international financial institutions are ruining the poor.
Action: Urge your Senator to sign on to this critical letter.
Based on alert prepared by Patrcia Kisare, Legislative Assistant for International Affairs, MCC Washington Office