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6661: President of Haiti calls for total debt cancellation (Jubilee 2000) (fwd)
President of Haiti calls for total debt cancellation
President Rene Preval called for total and immediate debt cancellation for
Haiti, during a meeting with Jubilee 2000 campaigners on Thursday 8th June.
Mr Preval also welcomed the work of the Jubilee 2000 global movement and said
there should be closer collaboration between government and civil society in
the important battle for debt cancellation. He emphasised that progress would
depend on a more united and forceful alliance in the South.
The meeting with the Jubilee 2000 campaign took place in the government
palace in Port au Prince as part of a week of activities, organised by the
Haitian campaign during a Week on Debt (5-11 of June). The Jubilee 2000
delegation was comprised of Camille Chalmers (PAPDA), Liana Cisneros (Jubilee
2000 UK), Kathy Luzencourt (World Federation Lutheran), Yolette Etienne
(Oxfam UK), Sister Marie Camille Francois (Haitian Religious Confederation),
Harry Clervean (Trade Unions) and Emmanuel St Hilaire (Federation of
Camille Chalmers said that the meeting was a very important step for the
Jubilee 2000 campaign: "It showed the willingness of the government to take a
protagonistic role on debt cancellation. President Preval also expressed his
interest in working with civil society on the elaboration of a strategy to
allocate released funds for poverty reduction."
Representatives of organisations from the North East, Central and South East
of the country participated in conferences and workshops during the Week on
Debt. The issue of Debt was linked to a variety of issues, such as debt tied
to health and food
security, debt and education, debt and agriculture production, debt, human
rights and popular participation, debt and macroeconomics.
The Week on Debt finished on Sunday with a concert in the central square of
the capital, Port au Prince. Renowned musician and bands from Haiti and
abroad performed, including Boukman Eksperyans, Chandel, Bob Bovano and
Eritaj. The concert brought together around 3,000 people wearing headscarves
in red and blue (the colours of the Haitian flag) with the slogan "No to
debt, Yes to life." A large screen next to the stage showed key moments of
the international Jubilee 2000 campaign.
The total debt of Haiti is $1.1 billion and the country is still paying debt
built up by the notorious dictator, Papa Doc. An estimated 45% of Haiti's
debt was contracted under Papa Doc and the fortune of his family is
calculated at $900 million. Of the total debt, 85 % is multilateral owed to
the World Bank, IMF and the IADB. The bilateral debt at 15 % is owed mainly
to Italy, Spain, France and the USA. Despite extremely high levels of
poverty, Haiti is not considered eligible for debt cancellation under the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
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