Haiti Needs Debt Forgiveness, Not More Debt

This was a letter I sent to the Congressional Black Caucus in regards to Haiti’s debt situation.

Congressional Black Caucus
2444 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
congressionalblackcaucus@mail.house.gov

27 Jan 10

CBC members, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is James Quigley and I am currently collecting signatures in order to appear on the ballot and unseat Bobby Scott in the 3rd Congressional District of Virginia. That aside, I wish to applaud your actions in regards to pushing for debt forgiveness for Haiti. Thanks to your work, and the work of others, Haiti has been forgiven for $1.2 billion within recent years. However, according to the fine folks at jubileeusa.org, Haiti still owes more than one billion dollars to various banks and organizations. As you well know, nearly half of this debt is from the regimes of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc”, which were finally deposed more than twenty years ago.

The images shown from the recent tragedy that devastated Haiti were heartbreaking to many Americans, myself included. If there can be something positive that comes from this, hopefully it can be through the goodwill of Americans to send help through private charities. There was a statement from one CBC official that read: “At this stage, the information on the ground is still unknown, and until authorities can get a grasp on what is needed, ‘in kind’ donations have been discouraged.” I would hope that you do not agree with this statement, and that you are finding ways to facilitate “in kind” donations, which constitute goods and services rather than money. If people wish to donate tools, canned food, and even donate their time to travel and provide aid they should be encouraged to do so. Such aid may even make a difference sooner than any kind of monetary donation routed through the government and international agencies before going through the Haitian government, and finally to the people in need.

Finally, I hope that we can take an opportunity during this crisis to address the debt of third world countries, whether just across our border such as in Haiti, or various other countries in Africa and Asia such as Liberia and Afghanistan. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) exist largely through our funding and representation, but these international financial institutions loan money out to government administrations that are unable to pay off the debts during their rule. This is profitable for the institutions that make up the World Bank and IMF, but is rarely beneficial for the citizens stuck with footing the bill. Some of the more corrupt governments then use loans from these international institutions to pocket money for bureaucrats or to finance a patronage system that corrupt officials use to stay in power. After these corrupt politicians leave, the citizens of their third world countries are left to foot the bill causing further poverty. For example, the large majority of the debt that has to be paid by current Haitian president, Rene Preval, came about before he had been elected. With his capital in ruin, his main port in greatly damaged, and his nearest airport in shambles, the chances for President Preval to revive his economy look grim. Now is the time to offer a helping hand to Mr. Preval and the people he represents and seek forgiveness for debt incurred by previous corrupt administrations. Currently, the World Bank and IMF still drag their feet in regards to debt forgiveness to Haiti. In fact, the IMF has given indications that some of the so-called “disaster relief aid” that will be provided will be given as debt that will further impoverish Haiti’s future while enriching that of these international banks.

I hope you agree that no corrupt government should be allowed to run up massive debts unless in time of war or other such crisis. We should not encourage a financial system that allows a corrupt government to steal from its future generations in order that the officials in charge can pocket the money or can give it to its political allies while leaving the bill to its citizenry. Once I am elected, I hope you can join me in reexamining the role of the IMF, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions and what this system of banking is doing to the people of impoverished countries. I am also sure that the American citizens who are footing the bill for the IMF and World Bank would also like to see foreign aid go to the people it is meant to help instead of unaccountable international organizations.

After my victory, I hope we can find similar issues we find commonality with and that I can add as fresh a perspective as I have above.

Congressional Black Caucus
2444 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
congressionalblackcaucus@mail.house.gov

27 Jan 10

CBC members, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is James Quigley and I am currently collecting signatures in order to appear on the ballot and unseat Bobby Scott in the 3rd Congressional District of Virginia. That aside, I wish to applaud your actions in regards to pushing for debt forgiveness for Haiti. Thanks to your work, and the work of others, Haiti has been forgiven for $1.2 billion within recent years. However, according to the fine folks at jubileeusa.org, Haiti still owes more than one billion dollars to various banks and organizations. As you well know, nearly half of this debt is from the regimes of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc”, which were finally deposed more than twenty years ago.

The images shown from the recent tragedy that devastated Haiti were heartbreaking to many Americans, myself included. If there can be something positive that comes from this, hopefully it can be through the goodwill of Americans to send help through private charities. There was a statement from one CBC official that read: “At this stage, the information on the ground is still unknown, and until authorities can get a grasp on what is needed, ‘in kind’ donations have been discouraged.” I would hope that you do not agree with this statement, and that you are finding ways to facilitate “in kind” donations, which constitute goods and services rather than money. If people wish to donate tools, canned food, and even donate their time to travel and provide aid they should be encouraged to do so. Such aid may even make a difference sooner than any kind of monetary donation routed through the government and international agencies before going through the Haitian government, and finally to the people in need.

Finally, I hope that we can take an opportunity during this crisis to address the debt of third world countries, whether just across our border such as in Haiti, or various other countries in Africa and Asia such as Liberia and Afghanistan. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) exist largely through our funding and representation, but these international financial institutions loan money out to government administrations that are unable to pay off the debts during their rule. This is profitable for the institutions that make up the World Bank and IMF, but is rarely beneficial for the citizens stuck with footing the bill. Some of the more corrupt governments then use loans from these international institutions to pocket money for bureaucrats or to finance a patronage system that corrupt officials use to stay in power. After these corrupt politicians leave, the citizens of their third world countries are left to foot the bill causing further poverty. For example, the large majority of the debt that has to be paid by current Haitian president, Rene Preval, came about before he had been elected. With his capital in ruin, his main port in greatly damaged, and his nearest airport in shambles, the chances for President Preval to revive his economy look grim. Now is the time to offer a helping hand to Mr. Preval and the people he represents and seek forgiveness for debt incurred by previous corrupt administrations. Currently, the World Bank and IMF still drag their feet in regards to debt forgiveness to Haiti. In fact, the IMF has given indications that some of the so-called “disaster relief aid” that will be provided will be given as debt that will further impoverish Haiti’s future while enriching that of these international banks.

I hope you agree that no corrupt government should be allowed to run up massive debts unless in time of war or other such crisis. We should not encourage a financial system that allows a corrupt government to steal from its future generations in order that the officials in charge can pocket the money or can give it to its political allies while leaving the bill to its citizenry. Once I am elected, I hope you can join me in reexamining the role of the IMF, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions and what this system of banking is doing to the people of impoverished countries. I am also sure that the American citizens who are footing the bill for the IMF and World Bank would also like to see foreign aid go to the people it is meant to help instead of unaccountable international organizations.

After my victory, I hope we can find similar issues we find commonality with and that I can add as fresh a perspective as I have above.

James Quigley
Chairman of the Peninsula Libertarian Party
Hopeful Future Candidate for upcoming VA-3 District Congressional Elections
JamesQuigley4Congress@gmail.com

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3 Responses to Haiti Needs Debt Forgiveness, Not More Debt

  1. Henry Ryto says:

    James,

    Better duck before the TLP pukes start screaming about “socialism”, “wealth redistribution”, etc.

  2. James Quigley says:

    I think most here will understand.

    The aid that we give to third world countries comes from the American taxpayer and goes through the IMF and World Bank. I believe the institutions that make up the IMF and World Bank are the same institutions that make up the Federal Reserve and the Central Banks of Europe. I could be wrong, as it’s extremely difficult to find raw data on where the money is going.

    Now, Americans are seeing that aid as a net loss, and rightfully so. What I believe is actually happening is that the IMF and World Bank is taking our money through the printing presses of the Federal Reserve and loaning it out to countries for the profit of the same institutions that make up the Fed/IMF/WB. Because the aid is actually debt, it makes us the poorer for printing and giving away the money, the third world poorer for being stuck with massive debt, and the banking institutions richer. Furthermore, the IMF puts stipulations on the money loaned and makes deals with dictators to do development projects that benefit certain corporations. How much does one want to bet that these same corporations have financial ties to the same institutions that make up the Fed/IMF/WB? As you can see, the chance for massive corruption through this system is high.

    Most Libertarians are rightfully skeptical of the Federal Reserve and international institutions, so this letter is more ammunition for them.

    If we could remove the IMF and World Bank from the process, we could make a better determination of where our money is going and whether or not aid to foreign countries is a worthwhile expenditure. For the money to do any good, it still would have to have a mechanism to get to the actual citizens and not to a dictator and his family, but that’s a topic for another time.

  3. Britt Howard says:

    Henry, your bias and misunderstanding is so strong that you are once again way off base. You don’t seem to want to understand because your idea of how things are, is already set.

    Libertarians prefer private charity and in kind contributions for the exact reasons james states. Our current form of foreign aid isn’t just inappropriate, it is inefficient and feathers the nests of corrupt power holders in oppressed poor nations. They often refuse in kind aid and demand money.

    Debt forgiveness is fine too. The aid was already given and shackles the poor country to the benefit of the world elite. If there is a new government, they start off in debt.

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