The Jubilee Act (HR 2634) will be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives in early April. This is the single most important piece of debt legislation in the past seven years.
Help us make history by passing the Jubilee Act this year! Please call your Representative and urge him or her to vote yes today! Keep an eye on this page for updates!
The Jubilee Act is also under consideration in the U.S. Senate. A Senate hearing on the Act is expected before the end of April. Please call your U.S. Senators and urge them to co-sponsor the Jubilee Act (S 2166).
Want to do more?
Organize A House Party. For more information, contact Jubilee National Field Organizer Brian Swarts at brian(at)jubileeusa.org.
By monét cooper | Jubilee USA Network
Today is Maya Yamazaki, policy analyst at the Families USA Global Health Initiative, sent us a link to a game called “Whack TB [Tuberculosis].” Basically, the gamer/user takes a mallet that, literally, pummels the disease in countries all over the world.
The game begins slowly.
I eliminated TB in Nigera, which has about 704,000 reported cases. I whacked TB in Tanzania, which has over 190,000 cases, then on to Brazil, Peru, Columbia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But I noticed something: The more I let tuberculosis feel the brute force of my mallet, the faster TB spread.
One of the deepest contrasts and, to me most disturbing comparisons, is the number of cases in Florida versus those in Haiti. Florida reports 1,038 cases of tuberculosis, yet Haiti, only 600 miles away from the Florida coast has more than 34,000.
As I paused to think about Haiti’s plight, the game ended.
In an email Maya writes that “as the rest of the world is doing its part to stop the spread of Tuberculosis, what is the U.S. doing? Not as much as we could. We need new vaccines and new drugs if we are to stop TB from spiraling out of control, and we need them now.”
How do countries access these new drugs to not only help stop TB from spreading as well as HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses?
The World Bank and IMF have decided today that Liberia has reached decision point for the HIPC initiative. What this means for Liberia is that it will be able to apply for temporary debt relief from some of its creditors. According to the article released by the World Bank, Liberia, in order to be granted full debt relief has to “implement broad sets of reforms.
In particular, Liberia is expected to maintain macroeconomic stability as evidenced by satisfactory performance under the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF); prepare and implement a Poverty Reduction Strategy for at least one year; and implement pivotal reforms in the areas of governance, public financial management, debt management, as well as other structural and social measures.”
Vulture fund Elliott Associates was covered in the “In the Loop” section of the Washington Post earlier
this week. Check out the post by Columnist Al Kamen below:
The mystery is solved. Thanks to a devoted Loop Fan, we now know that the host of Friday's $1.4 million Republican National Committee fundraiser at the famed Beresford co-op in New York -- headlined by President Bush -- was none other than Paul Singer, the hedge fund billionaire and renowned "vulture capitalist."
Singer, a mega-donor for Republicans and conservative causes over the years, has pumped out more than $2.6 million in contributions over the past decade, according to a records search, to folks such as John McCain, Tom DeLay, Mitch McConnell, Christine Todd Whitman and dozens of others. He was a big promoter of Rudy Giuliani's late presidential campaign and gave $5,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth back in 2004.
Singer also has been one of the top money guys for Progress for America, an ostensibly independent political committee that promoted Bush's policies and political agenda, giving, all told, $1.5 million. The only Democrats on Singer's favored list seem to be Chuck Schumer and Bill Bradley.
Maybe it's his media nickname, "vulture capitalist," coined because his firm buys up debt held by Third World countries at a discount, then sues them to force repayment in full, sometimes for even more than the original amount.
Singer has said that buying "sovereign distressed debt" in such places as Peru or Congo serves the purpose of requiring countries to comply with contracts and that the countries can afford to pay but refuse to do so. Besides, it's less than 2 percent of his 31-year-old, $9.8 billion hedge fund.
But what would Bush's other friend Bono, the rocker and African debt-relief activist, who has strongly criticized such transactions, say if he knew?
Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Like previous years, many
people flood the streets not only to remember the famine that took place in
In this March 16 editorial written by Steven Forester of Haitian Women of Miami, urging Bush to rethink his immigration policy as it applies to Haitian undocumented workers, one of the stats he includes blew our minds. Read this:
In 2007, remittances to Haiti from the United States totaled an estimated $1.26 billion -- about 24 percent of Haiti's gross domestic product, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. It dwarfs the $129 million in foreign aid that Haiti got in 2007 from the US Agency for International Development.
It makes taking action even more urgent.
Reprieve For A Beleaguered Haiti
By Steven David Forester | Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami Inc.
LAST MONTH, Haiti's president, René Préval, wrote to President Bush asking for a favor: For the time being, please stop deporting Haitians who are in the United States without legal status. It's a controversial request - one that would affect perhaps 20,000 people who entered this country illegally, are seeking asylum, or are appealing immigration decisions. The proposal is a tough sell politically, but it makes global sense.
Préval wants Bush to grant Haitian immigrants "temporary protected status." It's a legal time-out for immigrants who come from countries facing crises such as armed conflicts and natural disasters. The status already applies to certain Nicaraguan immigrants, who are covered because of devastation caused in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch. Immigrants from El Salvador are covered because of earthquakes there in 2001.
To make his own case, Préval points to devastating storms that struck Haiti in 2004, causing thousands of deaths, widespread homelessness, and the destruction of fertile land. Préval does not say so in his letter, but as Bush knows, Haiti is also chronically racked by poverty, AIDS, violence, and illiteracy.
Director of Advocacy & Organizing
Closing date: Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Jubilee USA Network seeks a full-time Director of Advocacy and Organizing to be based in its Washington, DC office. The successful candidate will lead the Network’s advocacy and government relations work while supervising program staff in the development and implementation of Jubilee USA’s national grassroots organizing and outreach plan. The post is a senior level position in a dynamic and fast-paced work environment. Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 organizations working to build the political will for cancellation of unfair and unjust international debts to fight poverty in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The successful candidate will report to Jubilee USA’s National Coordinator. APPLY
National Field Organizer
Closing date: Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The National Field Organizer is based in Jubilee USA’s Washington, DC office and leads the Network’s grassroots organizing efforts and its faith-based outreach work. The National Field Organizer works closely with the Director of Advocacy and Organizing and the Outreach and Congregations Fellow to support the Jubilee Congregations program, priority campaigns, and other local grassroots organizing initiatives. Jubilee USA Network is comprised of more than 80 member organizations and is the US arm of the global Jubilee movement working for definitive debt cancellation and economic justice for impoverished nations. APPLY
Oregon Congressional Delegation Co-Sponsors Jubilee ACT -- House and Senate versions!
In August, 2006 two Jubilee Oregon activists, Pat Rumer and Andy Szatkowski met with Judah Ariel, Washington DC staff for Congressman Earl Blumenauer to discuss future debt cancellation legislation. Judah suggested that Jubilee Oregon organize outreach to the entire Oregon delegation with the goal of bi-partisan support of the ACT. That became Jubilee Oregon’s goal for the 2007 Sabbath Year.
Winter 2007: Education & Outreach
Andy, as chair of the Jubilee OR advocacy committee, worked with others to meet with Portland-based congressional staff to discuss the elements of the proposed Jubilee Act. Jubilee Oregon collaborated with the Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition and the Oregon Fair Trade Coalition in these visits to make the links between debt and AIDS and debt and trade.
June 2007: Jubilee ACT Introduced
Congressmen Blumenauer and Wu signed on as cosponsors as soon as the Jubilee Act was introduced. Jubilee Oregon hired a summer intern who set up appointments and organized visits with other members of the Oregon delegation.
By Nicole C. Lee | Washington Afro-American Newspaper
Posted: Mar 08, 2008
Editor's note: Nicole C. Lee is the Executive Director of TransAfrica Forum and has had a longstanding interest in Haiti.
There is an old Haitian Creole saying that roughly translates “things are so bad, we are eating dogs.” Today, things are so bad in Haiti that mothers, fathers and children are starving while their country is forced to pay an international debt burden of almost 1 million U.S. dollars per week.
Once again, the plight of the people of Haiti is in the news. There are terrible stories from the nation’s capital, Port au Prince, where times are so difficult that many Haitians have no alternative but to eat dirt. “Dirt cookies” -- cakes made from salt, butter and dirt, while not a new survival tactic -- highlight the grim reality of day-to-day life for many Haitians. Some 80 percent of the country’s people are forced to live on $2 a day, 50 percent survive on a $1 a day or less. One in four children is chronically malnourished.
Haiti’s once arable land continues to be deforested as the poor cut down trees in order to burn them for cooking and heat. Health care is inaccessible for so many and the conditions that cause disease –- contaminated water, poor shelter, and malnutrition -– are rampant. While Haiti has a democratically-elected government, the needs on the ground remain enormous, largely because of straining natural disasters and the effects of structural poverty.