Our global partners from the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) arrived in the US in April for the End the Debt Crisis speaking tour. Jubilee Chapters in Oregon and Massachusetts hosted Hopewell Gumbo and Kelvin Hazanwgi at universities, churches and homes to make deeper connections and inform our communities about the intersections of debt, alternative development and human rights in Zimbabwe.
Kelvin and Hopewell travelled through Portland, Oregon, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. to meet with civil society organizations and representatives from the World Bank, IMF, the US Department of Treasury, Congressional offices and the Administration. They met with key Congressional offices and had a high level meeting with Scott Morris, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Developmental Policy and Debt at the US Treasury to talk about Zimbabwe’s struggle with debt, development and the intersection with human rights. These meetings were a chance to educate policy makers here in the US about global economic policy that entraps the Global South in a cycle of poverty and the need to make real, structural changes to the international financial system, like debt audits and implanting principles of responsible lending and borrowing.
The tour was a great success but it started with startling events. The day Hopewell Gumbo, one of the leading human rights and social justice activists from Zimbabwe, was to board his plane in Zimbabwe, he received notification that his visa was cancelled - weeks after his visa had been confirmed. They cited his most recent conviction in a political court case, when Hopewell was arrested in Harare for speaking at an event where they showed footage of transformative events that happened in Egypt and Tunisia. Hopewell's visa had been confirmed earlier after an in-person interview in which he had openly discussed this unjust arrest.
On hearing the news, the Jubilee team sprung into action, and within a few hours, his visa had been renewed through our efforts alongside several Members of Congress who put in inquiries with the State Department and called the U.S. embassy in Harare. Hopewell was late for some of the tour because of this outrageous change, but ultimately arrived in the US and met with Congressional Members, university students, faith communities and successfully cultivating the beginning of a Linking Our Voices initiative between our chapters, Jubilee Massachusetts and Jubilee Oregon and ZIMCODD.