Urgent Action: Drop Haiti’s Debt to the IMF

Despite international support for debt relief, Haiti still owes the International Monetary Fund US$270 million, which the organization has yet to cancel. Following the disastrous earthquake this January, the IMF loaned Haiti US$105 million, adding to the amount the country already owed.

Although the new loan has a 5 1/2-year grace period and no policy conditions attached, simply delaying payments is not enough to ensure Haiti’s long-term economic recovery.

Illegitimate debt resulting from loans to dictatorships, harsh IMF structural adjustment programs and unfair trade agreements have kept Haiti in a poverty trap for too long.

This January the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank responded to international pressure and cancelled Haiti’s debt. Even the Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has expressed support for debt relief.

In March, Canadian Finance Minister James Flaherty encouraged debt relief, stating, “At our recent meeting in Iqaluit, G7 Finance Ministers pledged to work with the World Bank and other international financial institutions to forgive lingering debts that would divert valuable resources from Haiti’s long-term development needs.”

The SJC invites you to write to James Flaherty, urging him to use his influence as Governor of the IMF to ensure full and unconditional debt cancellation for Haiti immediately. Please copy your member of parliament.

NOTE: Personalized letters and e-mails are effective ways to influence policy. Please use the sample letter below as a guide only. Letters should include your name, address, a specific request, and any additional or personal information that you would like to share about Haiti.

For more information, visit www.sjc-cjs.org.

Sample Letter

E-mail : jflaherty@fin.gc.ca

The Honourable James M. Flaherty
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
(If you mail to this address, you do not need to provide a stamp)

RE: Drop Haiti’s Debt to the IMF

Dear Honourable James M. Flaherty,

I am writing to request that you use your influence as Governor of the IMF to ensure full and unconditional debt relief for Haiti immediately.

Canada dropped Haiti’s debt last summer, and with your help, the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank followed suit this winter. Although the IMF Managing Director has expressed support for debt relief and the organization delayed repayments until 2012, it still hasn’t cancelled Haiti’s debt outright.

As you expressed following the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in Iqaluit this winter, a debt-free future is vital for Haiti’s long-term economic development. Please use Canada’s influence to ensure that the IMF cancels Haiti’s $US270 million debt.






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