As the world sees the horror of Haiti’s earthquake, charitable donations are flooding in — Avaaz members alone have donated over $500,000 in less than a day.
These funds are desperately needed. But even as they flow in, Haiti is sending money out–to pay off national debts run up by corrupt governments in years past.
Haiti should not be worrying about debt to the International Monetary Fund as families are digging through rubble. At a moment like this, global financial institutions won’t be able to ignore a worldwide outcry. Help lift a massive burden from Haiti’s ability to rescue, recover, and rebuild — let’s raise a million voices for emergency debt relief for Haiti:
Even before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the world’s poorest countries — due, in part, to a legacy of unjust debt stretching back to France’s demand for reparations after its 1804 revolution.
In recent years, the tremendous worldwide campaign for debt relief has shown the power of public pressure to support poor nations. Today, Haiti still owes more than $600 million USD, much of it to global financial institutions — and is scheduled for millions in payments in 2010 alone.
Recovering from the earthquake will take years, even decades. As the headlines fade, donations will slow–but the burden of paying debts incurred by unelected governments will continue, unless we take this moment to make a change.
After the tsunami in 2004, the world suspended debt payments from affected countries. Today, if we take action, we can achieve a permanent victory: the cancellation of Haiti’s debt. Haitians are urgently appealing for all of our help. Our donations make a difference. But our voices as citizens are needed as well. Join the call for debt relief, and pass this message to those who feel the same:
As we watch the images on our televisions and computers, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. But if moments like this can trigger our consciences and move us to act in solidarity with those most affected, they can help us to move to a better world — one where we move as one to address the man-made poverty and inequality that has left our brothers and sisters in Haiti so vulnerable to natural crises. There is not enough that we can do. But let’s all do everything we can.
With hope in the face of tragedy,
Ben, Iain, Ricken, Alice, Sam, Milena, Paula, and the whole Avaaz team
PS: To donate to support Haiti, click here:
Jubilee (debt campaigning group) information page on Haiti’s debt:
“Cancel Haiti’s Debt” – Foreign Policy blog
“Haiti: the land where children eat mud” – history of Haiti’s debt from The Sunday Times, 17 May 2009
Posted on January 21, 2010 by haitisheri1804