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9685: Haiti: U.S. Hold on IDB Loans Increase Misery - Fact Sheet (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Haiti: U.S. Hold on IDB Loans Increases Misery - A Fact Sheet 

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a summary of U.S. veto actions and their implications against loans approved for Haiti at the
Inter-American Development Bank.

    1.    The United States is using its veto power at the Inter-American Development Bank to predetermine the outcome of on-going national political negotiations in Haiti.  Using its veto prerogative, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury are blocking development and humanitarian loans at the Inter-American Development Bank designed for Haiti.  The loans cover a broad spectrum of critical social and
economic priorities -- such as health sector improvement, education reform, potable water enhancement and road rehabilitation.  These
loans total approximately $145.9 million.  This issue prompted the Congressional Black Caucus to send a letter to President Bush last week asking for a change in policy.

    2.    The Inter-American Development Bank lacks legal standing to block these loans since contracts have been signed for disbursement.  What is unusual about this situation is that the loans were blocked at
the moment of disbursal instead of during the normal process of halting loans at the project review level or in the decision making process at the Board of Executive Directors.  In fact, the Haitian       Government has taken all the necessary steps toward disbursement including ratifying the loans by its legislature and securing signed contracts with the appropriate IDB officials.  Many legal experts
believe that the IDB faces possible legal exposure for failing to honor signed contracts with the Haitian Government.

    3.    Haiti is now in a negative cash flow status with the Inter-American Development Bank.  Although the Inter-American Development Bank is precluded from moving ahead with critical social and humanitarian
loans, Haiti is still required to pay arrears payments and credit commissions on loans that it has not received.  By the end of 2001, if nothing changes, Haiti will be in a negative cash flow position
with the IDB -- paying more into the Bank than Haiti is receiving by approximately $10 million.  Equally dramatic is the fact that Haiti was allocated $562 million dollars in potential loans since 1998 and
yet not a dime has been disbursed.  It is the practice of the IDB to make pipeline accounts available to other IDB member countries within Haiti's development category, such as Honduras, Nicaragua and         Guyana, if there is no disbursement within a 3-year period.  This period comes to maturity at the end of 2001, leaving Haiti with no available pipeline for which to draw.  It is a very desperate situation for the hemisphere's poorest country.

    4.    The humanitarian and social indicators continue to drop dramatically.  Meanwhile, quality of life indicators, such as health care and infant mortality, continue to erode creating a potentially
devastating humanitarian crisis.  Over the past two weeks, some 150 people allegedly drowned while trying to sail an un-seaworthy boat to Miami.  Nearly 700 others were interdicted on the high seas and returned to Haiti in the same timeframe.  These are the first
massive flights since President Aristide was elected late last year.
          On the ground, the humanitarian statistics demonstrate increasing desperation, including:

          *    The national rate of persons infected with HIV/AIDS is now 4% or 300,000 persons, creating 163,000 orphans; and 30,000 new cases per year;
          *    The infant mortality rate is 74 deaths out of every 1000 births;
          *    The doctor to patient ratio is 1.2 persons to 10,000 physicians; and
          *    Only 40% of the population has access to potable water.

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