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Congresswoman Waters Introduces Resolution to Cancel Haiti's Debts

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to urge the IMF, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other multilateral financial institutions to cancel Haiti's multilateral debts immediately and completely.  The resolution also urges the Secretary of the Treasury to use the voice, vote and influence of the United States within these institutions to accomplish this important goal.  The resolution is cosponsored by senior members of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"Haiti is a country with tremendous development needs and numerous impediments to development," said Congresswoman Waters.  "One of those impediments is a devastating burden of international debt."

According to the IMF, Haiti owes over one billion dollars to multilateral financial institutions, including $21 million to the IMF, $507 million to the World Bank, and $534 million to the Inter-American Development Bank.  Much of Haiti's debt burden was accumulated during the oppressive rule of the Duvalier regimes, neither of which used the money to benefit the Haitian people.  The IMF estimates that Haiti will spend $56 million on debt service payments to multilateral creditors during the 2006-07 fiscal year. 

"These debt service payments are a drain on Haiti's fragile economy," said the Congresswoman.

President Rene Garcia Preval was installed as President of Haiti last year, following democratic elections in which more than 60 percent of registered voters participated. 

"The cancellation of Haiti's debts will enable the democratically-elected government of Haiti to improve healthcare, education and other essential government services; invest in critical infrastructure; and improve the lives of the Haitian people," said Congresswoman Waters.