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Haiti’s debt penalty

In stark contrast to the Mail, Gary Younge in The Guardian reminds us it is the West that owes Haiti.

As Haiti’s government admits they are overwhelmed by the relief effort, with two million people needing emergency food aid, Younge points out that the country’s response to the earthquake is hampered by a legacy of debt. He writes:

The world cannot yet find $1bn in debt relief for Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, a country that spent more in 2008 servicing its debt than it did on health, education and the environment combined and that has now been flattened. But, over a weekend, a single country could rustle up $85bn to keep a single company in business.

“It is an obscene reminder that, in the world of global capital, distressed assets are still more valued than distressed people.”

Younge’s views reflect an increasingly popular view on social networking sites, that Haitian debt must be cancelled.

Given that donations from the public helped drive Western governments to dip a bit deeper into their pockets – after the miniscule initial sums pledged – we have every reason to hope that the will of the people will also push the politicians to help Haiti in the long term, by ditching its’ debt.

LH

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