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International Illegitimate Debt Campaign Bulletin
22 August 2007

Issue 3, August 2007

About this bulletin

This is a publication that comes out every two months to summarise recent and forthcoming actions in the International Campaign on Illegitimate Debt carried out by activists across the world. It aims to publicise the actions and give opportunities for more people to get involved to challenge illegitimate debts and the structures which lead to them.
The bulletin is produced by Jubilee South, Jubilee USA, Eurodad, and CADTM
Please circulate widely to people you know who will be interested. Please send your feed back and or articles for the next issue to: debtbulletin at eurodad.org
Deadline for articles is on October 1, 2007.


Week of Global Action vs Debt & IFIs
October 14 to 21, 2007

Debt and IFI campaigners will be holding actions world-wide from October 14 to 21, 2007 to articulate issues, analysis, calls and demands on debt and the role and policies of International Financial Institutions. Check out the website of the Week of Global Action – www.debtweek.org — sign up as a participating organization or individual, help circulate the statement, and organize your actions for the week.

Platform of the Global Week of Action

- 1. Open, transparent and participatory Parliamentary and/or Governmental Debt Audits in both South and North countries; Full cooperation with citizens groups for independent Citizens Debt Audits, including the Global Citizens Audit of the lending operations and related policies of the World Bank and IMF, Regional Development Banks and Export Credit Agencies

- 2. Immediate and 100% cancellation of multilateral debts and all illegitimate debts as part of the total cancellation of debt claimed from the South, without externally imposed conditionalities; Repudiation of unsustainable, unjust and illegitimate debt;

- 3. Full transparency and accountability to citizens in the implementation of debt cancellation and debt repudiation; Democratic decision-making and implementation to ensure that funds freed from debt cancellation and debt repudiation are used for genuine, equitable and sustainable development.

- 4. Immediate end to the financing and enforcement of neoliberal policies and projects through debt related conditionalities:

  • Stop the privatization of public services and the use of public resources to support private profits
  • Stop using debt and aid as leverage for unfair trade agreements
  • Stop the promotion of environmentally destructive projects such as big dams and harmful mining of oil, gas coal and other dirty energy; Stop the escalation of climate change.

Activities planned for the Week of Global Action

The following are initial information on the plans for the week of Action.

ASIA

The Asian Labor Assembly on Privatization and the Regional Strategy Conference on Privatization – two major gatherings of labor movements and anti-privatization campaigns held last July 8 to 12, 2007 in Pattaya, Thailand - adopted resolutions to support and participate actively in the Week of Global Action vs the Debt and IFIs. These two events were convened by Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS APMDD) and drew more than 70 participants from 12 Asian countries.

In addition, the labor movements, trade unions and migrant workers groups in the gathering agreed to declare October 17 as International Day of Workers’ Actions vs Debt and IFIs. Communications will be sent to labor groups and movements from other regions to urge them to join Asia workers in mobilizing on this day.

Contact: JS APMDD Gerry Arances gerry at jsouth.org

Philippines

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) together with different civil society organizations, people’s organizations, and other progressive formations in the Philippines will be having a seven-day-long event under the theme “Week of Action Against Illegitimate Debts, Unfair Trade and Worsening Poverty”.

Different activities will aim to elevate the public’s consciousness and awareness on different social, economic, and political issues of global significance. The activities intend to reach out to and engage a broader audience, targeting in particular the marginalized, the faith-based formations, cause-oriented groups, and other individuals willing to share their time and effort towards the fulfillment of our advocacies.

Specific policy demands will be highlighted during the week, such as the Repeal of the Automatic Appropriations Law on Debt Servicing, Congressional Debt Audit, Repudiation and Cancellation of Illegitimate debts, the legislation of the Magna Carta of Women, the Alternative Budget, Food Security, and Fair Trade – which includes the critique on Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and the RP-China Agreements.

Aside from FDC, various local and regional organizations are expected to participate in the week of action: Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) – Philippines, Youth Against Debt (YAD), World Food Day Committee – Philippines, Philippine Network for Rural Development Initiatives (PHILNET-RDI), Greenpeace - Philippines, Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS), Pambansang Kongreso ng mga Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), NGO Coalition on Food Security and Fair Trade (PNLC), SARILAYA, and others.

To drumbeat the event, FDC will be conducting a press briefing on Monday, October 8.

As an opening salvo, there will be a symbolic action on Sunday, October 14. From 7 to 9 in the morning, participants will pledge to run, walk, jog, bike, etc. from the National Housing Administration building to the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

To sustain the momentum, PKKK will be celebrating the National Rural Women’s Day on Monday, October 15. Also on the same day, FDC will conduct a Public Forum on the Debt, where it will launch the latest FDC Video Documentary on Illegitimate Debt.

From October 16 to 17, GCAP, PKKK, PNLC and FDC will conduct the Anti-Poverty Fair. Booths will be set up in the Sunken Garden in UP Diliman, various workshops will be conducted as part of the fair.

Environmentalist organizations will launch their actions on October 18 with the theme around “Climate Change” or “Climate and Energy”, to be spearheaded by Green Peace and PARE. On October 19, mass mobilizations by the FDC will be conducted in the morning, to be followed by a cause-oriented concert in the afternoon until evening.

Faith-based organizations will gather on October 20 to conduct the Church Unity Congress, which is aimed to consolidate the different religious formations towards key agreements and principles on issues of debt, poverty, and trade, especially on their ethical and moral dimensions. This will be followed by activities in celebration of the World Youth Day.

FDC, together with different social movements and formations, will be closing the weeklong event on October 21 with its Human Chain against Poverty. A press conference will be conducted to report to the media the accomplishments and to reiterate the messages of the event.

AFRICA

Two more important events to be commemorated during the October Week of Global Action vs Debt and IFIs

  • October 14 – death anniversary of Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere (1922-1999) – Tanzanian Father of the Nationa

Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere led the country to independence in 1961. He was the exponent of South-South solidarity, Non-Aligned Movement. He pioneered Ujamaa (a culture of Human Rights) and economic self-reliance.

He was opposed to the IMF-WB Conditionalities and had to step down in 1985 when the pressure for SAPs was pressurized from the IMF/WB. He also urged people in the South to repudiate illegal debts.

  • October 21 – death anniversary of Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique.

Samora Machel led Mozambique with socialist policies and was among the leaders of the so-called frontline states who fought for the total liberation of African states. The other leaders of the frontline states included Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania and Kwame Nknumah of Ghana.

He was killed on October 21st in a plane crash, widely believed to be caused by the Southern Africa military regime of which he was strongly supporting its removal.

Tanzania

Tanzanian and other African activists are planning to honour Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere with activities on October 14th and carry on the banner to campaign against the Total Cancellation of the illegal debt and demand for reparation.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Jubileo Sur Americas is preparing for the Week of Global Action vs Debt and IFIs and a number of organizations and social movements have joined in, and are beginning to plan actions with the participation of regional networks such as the Continental Social Alliance, the Latin-American network of movements affected by Dams, and the Continental Movement of Christians for Justice and Peace.

In Central America where organizations linked to Jubilee South are fighting for the recognition of the Ecological Debt owed by Europe to the region within the frame of the current political and trade negotiations EU-CA, this demand will be the central axis of activity during the Week. In the South Cone region many networks and movements have agreed to give special importance to the demand for Audits, non-payment, and reparation of the illegitimate bilateral debts that involve Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, led by the ubiquitous hand of the IFIs and predatory capital, and a huge social and ecological debt which continues to accumulate in the region.

Jubilee South/Americas is preparing written and visual materials in Spanish to promote the Week. All are invited to sign up and/or get information on the actions to be carried out in the Americas, as well as request materials and logo in Spanish at: semanadeuda at gmail.com

NORTH AMERICA

United States

Jubilee campaigners in the US will be rallying support for the Jubilee Act this fall through the 40-day Cancel Debt Fast!, a rolling nation-wide fast from September 6 – October 15, 2007. The fast will be led by Rev. David Duncombe who will lead a water-only fast in Washington, DC. Jubilee USA is working to win a hearing on the legislation in the US House and to see a companion bill introduced in the US Senate by the end of 2007. The fast will end during the Global Week of Action on Debt and the IFIs with a prayer breakfast, education/lobby training day, and Jubilee USA’s annual national meeting from October 16-18 in Washington, DC. These events will be followed by the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington from October 19-21.

EUROPE

Belgium

- VI International Seminar on International Law and Debt

CADTM Belgium is organizing on October 19, and 20 2007, two days of seminars on the Audit of the Debt in the Belgian senate in Brussels. The objective of this seminar is to deepen the audit of the debt. The Seminar will feature representatives of 5 countries working on the audit: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Ecuador (with the participation of Ricardo Patino, Ecuadorean Minister in charge of the Audit), the Philippines, Brazil.

There will be translation in French, Spanish, English. For information and registration (before September 15, 2007): Myriam Bourgy at cadtm.org>; Christine Vandendaelen at cadtm.org>

- Formation of the International Debt Observatory

CADTM is organizing in Namur (Belgium) a three –day seminar (from the 15 to October 17, 2007) for a comprehensive understanding of the debt. This seminar is being organized within the framework of the International Observatory of the Debt. The program includes sessions on know to read and understand technical documents, discussions on the link between external debt and internal debt. No translation into English. Only language used: French.

For information and registration please contact: jerome at cadtm.org

Ireland

Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) is joining with 3 other campaigning organisations to hold an activist forum on the issue of debt and the IFIs on October 13th in advance of the Global Week of Action. This event will also be used to plan activities for the Week of Global Action in October and around the World Bank conference due to be held in Dublin in November on funding the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank.

Spain

The Campaign for the Elimination of the Debt of the Impoverished Countries, “Who owes Who?” in Barcelona is preparing a series of actions and conferences for the Week of Global Action against the Debt in October. The week will focus in denouncing the illegitimacy of the debt and the necessity to recognize the social and ecological debts of the countries of the North.

Among other actions which will be organized are 3 conferences on the 17, 18 and 19 of October, in the University of Barcelona, which will discuss financial, ecological and social debts (one each day), to show evidence of the correlation between the external debt and matters such as fiscal or tax havens, migration, women’s rights, climate change or the North’s consumption.

Saturday, October 20 will be a day of activities that will include music, theatre, film screening and conferences. On Sunday, October 21 the Week of Global Action will conclude with a popular march in downtown Barcelona. Other actions will be organized in other Catalan cities like Tarragona, Manresa or Lleida.

The organization of the Week of Global Action against the Debt is framed in Barcelona within the process of construction of a Social Catalan Forum, which will be presented on January 26 of 2008, the Day of Global Action according to the FSM.

- “Who owes who?” Campaign in Madrid

Within the framework of the Week of Global Action against the External Debt (14-21 of October) a popular race of approximately 12 km and a day on Illegitimate Debt, Debt in Africa and the Ecological Debt of Climatic Change will be organized, among other things. The Campaign will also join the mobilization of the Spanish Alliance against Poverty that will be held in October within the framework of the “World-wide Call against poverty”.

For further information: www.quiendebeaquien.org agroecologia at ecologistasenaccion.org
Tel.. +34 619 94 90 53


G8 Summit

Debt activists joined and organized various activities in Rostock, Germany during the week of the G8 Summit held in Heiligendamm. A one-day meeting of Debt Campaigns was held on June 3 attended by more than fifty representatives from 17 organizations. At least three seminar-workshop on illegitimate debt was held as part of the Alternative Summit on June 6th. At the June 2nd International Mobilization — debt activitists from Germany and other countries, north and south, carried huge red balloons and streamers calling for the wipe out of all illegitimate debt, and big masks of G8 leaders’ faces accompanied by a streamer demanding : G8 Pay Back your Debts to the South !


Debt Audits

ASIA

Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development will be holding a training seminar on debt and debt audits on November 11 to 18, 2007 most likely in the Philippines. The training seminar will use a curriculum developled by the Jubilee South global secretariat, also used in the training seminars recently organized by Africa Jubilee South.

Philippines

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) is renewing its campaign for a Congressional Debt Audit.

In September 2004, FDC succeeded in securing the House of Representatives unanimous adoption of the Joint Congressional Resolution on the Audit and Investigation of Public Debt and Contingent Liabilities. While FDC was in the midst of campaigning for the adoption of the Joint Resolution by the Senate (the final requirement for the Congressional Audit), major evidence of massive electoral fraud surfaced which led to popular demand for the resignation and/or ouster of the Philippine president. Social movements, progressive political movements and peoples organizations (including FDC) shifted focus on campaigning for the Presidents removal. The Philippine Congress also became pre-occupied with the electoral fraud and expose of related issues, and eventually the impeachment proceedings. The campaign for the Congressional Debt Audit was temporarily suspended. Likewise the preparations for the parallel Citizens Debt Audit.

FDC will be forming a joint task force with its allies in the Philippine Congress to campaign and push for the Congressional Debt Audit. FDC also plans to resume its preparations for the Philippine Citizens Debt Audit – to be launched late this year.

AFRICA

- Africa Jubilee South, together with the Jubilee South Global Secretariat and in cooperation with ActionAid International Africa Region, recently held two training seminars on debt and debt audits.

More than forty participants attended the first seminar, held in Nairobi , Kenya from July 28 to August 5, from the countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The second seminar was held in Dakar, Senegal from August 8 to 13, with more than 30 participants from Benin, Burundi, Cameroun, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

The seminars resulted in the organizations from most of the countries committing to undertake Citizens Debt Audits. At least six of the countries aim to begin their Citizens Debt Audits within the period of March 2007 to January 2008.

  • UGANDA — March 2007
  • LIBERIA, MALAWI — June 2007
  • KENYA — July 2007
  • SIERRA LEONE , ZIMBABWE — January 2009

- CADTM International seminar on the Debt and the Natural Resources in Central Africa

The network of CADTM in Central Africa — New Alternative Development-DRC; CADTM Lubumbashi-DRC, APASH-Congo Brazzaville; Jubile Angola, Interdependent-Point Black — is organizing a seminar on Debt Audits and the Illegitimate and Odious Debt of DRC. The Seminar will be held on November 23 to 26, 2007, in Kinshasa in DRC. It will also address the formation of a network of members of Parliament of DRC and Congo Brazzaville on the debt.

Information and registration: Victor Nzuzi at yahoo.fr>

- CADTM International seminar on the Debt and Agriculture

The West Africa network of CADTM — CAD-Mali; CADD-Benin; RNDD-Niger; FNDP-Ivory Coast; CADTM-Senegal — is organizing in December 2007 an international seminar on Debt Audits and Agriculture in Abidjan.

For Information and Registration: Solange Koné at yahoo.fr>

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Ecuador

Ecuador Launches Historic Debt Audit Commission - 2007-07-27

On 23 July, in Guayaquil Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Economy and Finance launched the world’s first debt audit commission to have the full support and involvement of the government.

The “Comision para la Auditoria Integral de la Deuda Publica” (CAIC) is composed of national and international experts in the fields of debt, economics, law and local social and environmental struggles, coupled with representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Procurador, the Auditor General, and Civic Corruption Authority. International advisors to the audit commission include Alejandro Olmos of Argentina, Oscar Ugarteche, Peruvian economist, Eurodad`s Gail Hurley, Jurgen Kaiser of Erlassjahr, Maria Lucia Fatorelli of Brazil and Eric Toussaint from Belgium.

The commission has one year to investigate individual credit agreements - which will include bilateral loan contracts and Paris Club agreements, bond issuances and multilateral loans - to provide detailed analyses of these credits based on legal, economic and social and environmental impact considerations.

Ricardo Patiño, former Economy and Finance Minister and key backer of this initiative emphasised the word “integral” in a speech which launched the process in Guayaquil on 23 July 2007. “This will not be a simple financial audit of the debt,” he said, “but will consider all relevant legal, political and economic factors which have led to the accumulation of illegitimate debt in this country. The audit commission must also consider social and environmental damages to local populations caused by debt. Debts which are found to be illegitimate must not be paid. Debts which are legitimate must be reimbursed,” he said.

The commission has been divided into four “sub-commissions” to facilitate the audit process :

  • Bilateral debt
  • Multilateral debt
  • Bonds and commercial debt
  • Domestic debt

Eurodad has been designated as the international advisor and analyst on bilateral debt issues and has already begun to collect information from Ecuador’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Ministry has indicated that it will make available to commissioners all relevant documentation to support the investigative process. Ricardo Patiño indicated that he had already written formally to some banks and multilateral insitutions to request supplementary documentation.

The commission will meet once every quarter and will provide regular progress reports to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Ecuadorian public.

Link to Presidential decree establishing Ecuador`s debt audit commission

Press statement: Ministry of Economy and Finance

Ecuador’s Bilateral debt: key facts

Of Ecuador`s US$10.6bn external debt burden, just over US$2.1bn is owed to bilateral creditors. Key bilateral creditors include Spain (US$396.8mn), Italy (US$340.4mn), Japan (US$300.3mn), Brazil (US$275.2mn), France (US$179.2mn), Denmark (US$15.8mn), UK (US$99.8mn).

Only US$1.27bn of a total of US$2.1bn in bilateral debt involves original loan contracts however. US$882.4mn stems from several successive Paris Club renegotiations, commonly referred to as Paris Club V, VI, VII and VIII. The terms and conditions of the renegotiations will also be subject to close scrutiny by Ecuador`s debt audit commissioners to clarify - and make transparent to the people - the details of what remain to date very opaque and poorly understood decisions. Original loan contracts will also come under investigation and indeed enquiries have already begun into a number of Spanish, Italian and Belgian loan agreements.
Europe

Belgium

VI International Seminar on International Law and Debt

See under Activities planned for the Week of Global Action


Summits, Popular Assemblies, Meetings and Educational Activities

India

An International Tribunal on the World Bank will be held in India on September 21 to 24, spearheaded by a broad cooperation of social movements, peoples movements, NGOs and other citizens groups in India, with solidarity and participation of international networks including Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movemen on Debt and Development (JS APMD). The role of the World Bank in the accumulation and perpetuation of Illegitimate Debt will be the focus of JS APMDD’s presentation in the Tribunal Proceedings.

Paraguay

Summit of the Peoples of the South “Building Sovereignty” endorses actions on the Bilateral Debts and the South Bank.

More than 1500 representatives of an enormous diversity of social movements and organizations met in Asuncion, Paraguay in late June, to hold their own Summit of the Peoples of the South “Building Sovereignty” parallel to the Summit of Presidents of MERCOSUR, Paraguay. The Summit was an important step in continuing the process of popular integration that was able to stop the proposed FTAA and continues now to strengthen resistance and building of alternatives to neoliberalism, imperialism and patriarchy in the region. Among its decisions, the Peoples Summit agreed to organize a seminar in September, together with the political parties of the Sao Paulo Forum, focused on the question of energy and in particular, the consequences of the Dams in the region, with their illegitimate bilateral debts between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, and other serious social, environmental and economic costs.

The organizations present in the Summit also agreed to focus on this matter during the upcoming Week of Global Action against Debt and IFIs, and in late January as part of the Global Days of Mobilization for Another World is Possible. The final plenary assembly of the Summit also agreed to establish a follow-up mechanism to press for popular participation in the Bank and lent its support to the “Open Letter for a South Bank” and formally presented the same to the official representatives present, among them the Minister of Finances and Popular Power of Venezuela and Bolivia´s Ambassador for Regional Integration.

The complete Declaration of the Summit of the Peoples of the South can be found at: http://jubileosuramerica.blogspot.com/2007/06/declaracin-de-asuncin_28.html, or www.jubileosuramericas.org

Central America

Regional Workshop on Ecological Debt of the European Union with Central America

With the presence of colleagues from Meso-america and guests from Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina, the first Workshop on Ecological Debt organized in the region took place on July 16 and 17 in San Salvador, organized by Jubilee South –Central America, constituted by UNES and Sinti Techan Network of El Salvador, Centre for International Studies of Nicaragua, Nicaraguan Social Movement, and Popular Bloc of Honduras.

During the two days of hard work, besides reflecting on and analyzing the notion and consequences of ecological debt on the peoples of the region, and its relationship with the illegitimacy of the huge external and domestic debts claimed from Central American countries, participants also presented specific cases where the ecological debts of the governments of Europe, transnationals and financial institutions to the countries of the region can be determined. An example would be the case of the Chixoy Dam in Guatemala, coffee cultivation in Nicaragua or the privatization of water in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The workshop also urged participating organizations to move forward in the design and implementation of an integral strategy to achieve the goal of including the acknowledgement and reparation of this Ecological Debt in the trade negotiations currently promoted by the European Union with Central America.

Read the Final Declaration of the Workshop at: http://jubileosuramerica.blogspot.com/2007/07/taller-regional-de-deuda-ecolgica-en.html

Argentina

Foreign Debt and Peasant Movement

Annually, from July 14 to 20th at Cafayate, Salta Province, the Argentine Peasant and Indigenous Movement runs the School of Memory. This is a training school for militants aiming to strengthen the values and the struggle in their campaign for land tenure and the improvement of the life conditions for peasant families. 200 representatives from different provinces of the country were at the school, and Dialogo 2000-Jubilee South/Americas was invited to help them reflect on the impact of foreign debt in the rural sphere.

The discussions were about the origin, consequences and current state of indebtedness, and its relation to development models imposed by the International Financial Institutions, such as monoculture, mining, etc., and also the repercussions of the debt payment on the everyday life of peasant families, where the illegitimacy of the debt was evident, and also an acknowledgment that we are the creditors, not the debtors.

Closing the debate there was a proposal for the movement to include the problem of the debt among the subjects of its campaigns, and it was agreed to work together in the development of materials to show the illegitimacy of debt and its relationship to the countryside and peasant peoples.

Contact: Gladys Jarazo, Diálogo 2000 (Argentina), dialogo at wamani.apc.org

Mercosur

Bilateral Debts

One of the largest asymmetries that must be dealt with by the MERCOSUR are the debts of a bilateral character resulting from the Treaties signed between Paraguay and Brazil for the construction of the Itaipú Dam, and between Paraguay and Argentina for that of the Yacyretá Dam, and the usurious interest rates subsequently imposed by Electrobras Brazil and the Argentine Treasury in order to collect on these illegitimate debts.

The consequences of this debt servicing are suffered by the people of Paraguay whose most basic human rights are systematically affected as a result. In the context of the recent Summit of the Peoples of the South, held in Asunción, Paraguay at the end of June, Jubileo Sur Americas prepared documentation summarizing the key elements of the situation and met with various Paraguayan organization members of the Campaign to Recover our Hydroelectric Sovereignty, in order to discuss strategies for raising awareness of this situation in the region and securing regional support for the recognition and non payment of the bilateral debts and the renegotiation of the bilateral treaties which have given rise to these illegitimate debts and the suppression of Paraguayan sovereignty over the use of the energy generated by the dams.

Several organizations and movements in the regional have been proposing the realization of an integral audit of these bilateral debts together with the associated social and ecological debts. As a result of the meetings, agreement was reached to advance this in a regionally coordinated mobilization, including the decision to give special focus on this matter in the three countries (Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil) during the upcoming Global Week of Action against the Debt and the IFIs.

Contact: Jubilee South/Americas: jubileosur at wamani.apc.org, www.jubileosuramericas.org

Brazil

VII General Assembly of the Brazil Network on IFIs to debate initiatives to prevent further accumulation of illegitimate debt

The Brazil Network on Multilateral Financial Institutions, a non-profit, non-partisan, public entity which currently brings together 80 civil society organizations from throughout Brazil, will hold its VII General Assembly in Brasilia, August 8-10. Among other items on its agenda, the Assembly will discuss the role and necessary democratization of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), both in Brazil and regionally, and it will analyze critically the present political and financial conjuncture in South America, the dominant model of financing for “development” and matters relating to the present “crisis” of the IFIs and the creation of autonomous financial institutions in the region, such as the potential South Bank, in the context of the current processes of regional integration. The Brazil Network´s Assembly will also examine priority policies and lines of action for the next biennium, focusing on the role of the IFIs in the growth of illegitimate financial indebtedness as well as that of historical, social, and ecological debts.

The Assembly will also include representatives of partner organizations from neighboring countries and its program will include presentations from Parlamentarians, the president of BNDES, the regional coordinator of Jubilee South and representatives of the Brazilian Network for Popular Integration, the Landless Peoples’ Movement, the Movement of those Affected by Dams and the Green Desert Alert Network.

Contact: Fabrina Furtado, Brazil Network on IFIs, f.furtado at rbrasil.org.br, www.rbrasil.org.br

Ireland

Debt and Development Coalition Ireland is developing an education resource on illegitimate multi-lateral debts for use in regional ‘training of trainers’ education work in Ireland this autumn and early next year.

United States

Jubilee USA Network held its second annual grassroots training and advocacy conference from June 15-17 in Chicago. More than 350 turned out for an opening night event featuring popular US radio host Amy Goodman and Kenyan political cartoonist Gado Mwampembwa, and 170 participants stayed for the 3-day conference. The conference featured an inspiring presentation from Patricia Davila of the Ecaudoran Ministry of Finance who shared the plans of Ecuadoran civil society and government for an official audit of Ecuador’s illegitimate debt.


Parliamentary Initiatives; Engaging and Challenging Governments and Inter-governmental Institutions

Freedom from Debt Coalition – Philippines

FDC Philippines is holding strategizing meetings with its allies in the Philippine Congress to renew the battle for the repeal of the Automatic Appropriations Law. This law, which originated as a decree from the Marcos dictatorship and later integrated into the Administrative Code by the Aquino Administration, provides for automatic allocation of national government funds for debt service – whatever is falling due in principal and interest payments, regardless of how much will remain for the rest of government expenses.

The automatic appropriations law guarantees that debt service is prioritized above all else.

FDC and its member organizations are also working with its allies to hold congressonal hearings on specific cases of illegitimate debt – to gain public and media attention, and develop momentum in engaging the Philippine government about illegitimate debt.

Latin America and Caribbean, and the global community

For a Bank of the South in agreement with the Rights of the Peoples

In June an Open Letter was sent to the governments by hundreds of regional and international organizations requesting participation in establishing the Bank of the South. Amongst the signatories were the main regional and global networks fighting against debt domination and for another possible world, together with personalities such as Nobel Prize for Peace, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, and the former Energy Minister of Ecuador, Alberto Acosta.

Among the main points they raised were: “…the Bank of the South must be part of a regional unitary response, together with the creation of a stabilization fund of the South; a common regional currency to promote intraregional trade, and to have stronger monetary stability; the realization of an audit of domestic and external debts, and the non-payment of illegitimate debt claimed from the countries”.

The signatory organizations also made clear that the Bank should integrate its stock capital and management in an egalitarian way among the members, and determine that its credit allocations will be used to strengthen the public and social sectors, giving priority to the redistribution of riches, and the sovereign, shared and own development of the peoples and countries of the region and environmental protection in comparison with the financing of mega projects, extractive, polluting or socially marginalizing investments such as the South American Regional Integration Initiative (IIRSA).

The letter can be read and support sent at: www.jubileosuramericas.org or at, http://jubileosuramerica.blogspot.com/2007/06/el-banco-del-sur-que-queremos.html

Peru

JUBILEE PERU QUESTIONS PREPAYMENT TO THE CLUB OF PARIS

Jubilee Peru and the Inter-American Platform of Human Rights “Democracy and Development” -Chapter Peru, held a public uprising in the event of the pre-payment transaction of a debt of 2 632 million dollars promoted by the Peruvian government to the Club of Paris.

“Why prepay debt to the Club of Paris when exactly one of its members, the government of Norway, had annulled last year the debts of several countries, including Peru, recognizing the illegitimacy of these debt?” The Belgian Senate has recently taken the initiative to review the debts of the countries of the Southern Cone, indicating that”when prepaying bilateral debt, we are denying the possibility of future cancellations“. Therefore, they question this operation that prioritizes the payment of the external debt over the attention to the”social debt".

On July 6 Jubilee Peru also directed a letter to the Minister of Economy demanding information on the bidding process of investment banks that will be in charge of bonds transactions that will be used for the prepayment to the countries in the Club as Paris, as well as the banking commission which also made these transactions. Journalistic investigations in course suggest there are underlying interests between the minister of Economy and the implicated bank.

Scotland

Jubilee Scotland is continuing to prepare a campaign on the debts Indonesia owes to the UK for arms sales to Suharto. They are in discussion with Indonesian and UK campaigns and are consulting with activists across Scotland to shape the campaign and broaden the support. All the main Government posts relevant to the debt are in Scotland now, and they anticipate huge popular support for the campaign, and hoping for the best.

Contact Person — Ben Young, Jubilee Scotland, +131 225 43 21 www.jubileescotland.org.uk

United Kingdom

Jubilee Debt Campaign UK has sent a submission to the new UK Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) and Secretary of State for International Development. This included pressing them: to accept co-responsibility for lending and cancel all developing country debts for which the UK bears responsibility for poor decisions; and to take action to ensure responsible future lending, including arguing for the Charter for Responsible Lending to include appropriate provisions.

For full submission see www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/newgovernment.

Jubilee USA

June and July have been busy months for the debt campaign in the United States. On July 7, the Jubilee Act for Expanded Debt Cancellation and Responsible Lending (HR 2634) was introduced into the United States House of Representatives by Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill calls for expanded debt cancellation for all countries that need it to meet the MDGs, urges the abolition of harmful economic conditions, and calls on the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an audit of countries whose debts may be odious, illegal, and/or onerous in nature. This audit should in turn inform the development of responsible lending standards. By late July, the bill had garnered 44 Congressional co-sponsors.

Spain

In relation to existing and future Debt laws (tools of management and generation), the “Who owes who?” Campaign in Madrid is planning a campaign on Development Aid Funds (FAD) and the Spanish Company of Credit Insurance to Exports (CESCE), that together generate almost 100% of the bilateral External Debt.

The campaign is based on the following three axes: 1) FAD: To eliminate Development Aid Funds for and to mark the main directives in a debated possible Law that will regulate the FAD, and in addition to denounce the entailment of the scope of the cooperation with the FAD; 2) CESCE: To denounce the credits granted through CESCE like generating tools of new debt and to demand its elimination; 3) EXTERNAL DEBT: Continue promoting the recognition of illegitimacy of the External Debt, its illegitimate origin, its consequences, their future generation and the lack of transparency of the Law of Debt approved in 2006.

Political parties in the Congress of the Deputies are being pushed to facilitate the enforcement of the Law of External Debt of 2006 and that they include in their electoral programs for 2008 a clear commitment for true reform of FAD and CESCE, always demanding the maximum degree of civil participation in the process.

For further information: www.quiendebeaquien.org agroecologia at ecologistasenaccion.org Tel.. +34 619 94 90 53

Ireland

Debt and Development Coalition Ireland is carrying out parliamentary education with campaigners to assist campaigners to learn how best to use the Irish parliament to get illegitimate debt on the agenda. They are also are working on getting as many Irish parliamentarians as possible to sign on to the Parliamentarians Debt Declaration (www.debtdeclaration.org).


Research and Studies

CADTM

Ecuador at the cross-roads, for an integral audit of public indebtedness
A CADTM team did a study of 57 pages on the illegitime debt of Ecuador. This collective work was carried out in July 2007 at the request of Afrodad. This study was communicated to the ecuadorian government and the official debt audit commission in which the debt campaigns take part actively (Eurodad, Jubile Sur Americas, Latindadd, CADTM). Read on www.cadtm.org


Other Mobilizations and Protest Events

Brazil

Popular referendum on Public Debt and Privatizations

Jubilee South Brazil continues its struggle against the illegitimate debt on several fronts: the Citizens’ Debt Audit training courses on the budget, and in particular the popular referendum to be held on September 1 to 7, similar to those held in 2000 on External Debt and in 2002, on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The principal theme of this year´s plebiscite is privatization, particularly that of the Vale do Rio Doce Company (Sweet River Valley Company, best known as “O Vale” or “The Valley”), the second largest industrial metals and mining company in the world and Latin America´s most important gold mining firm. The Valley was privatized in 1997 for 3.3 billion Reales, at a time when its patrimony was valued at 95 billion Reales. A clearly illegal and fraudulent operation, as most of the privatization cases in Brazil have been.

These cannot be allowed to continue. Hence, Jubilee South Brazil Network, together with some 60 other popular and social movements, is organizing this referendum focusing on the Valley case. For them, debating privatization necessarily implies debating the public debt–generally invoked as an excuse for privatization- and its legitimacy. One of the Popular Referendum’s four questions asks if “the government should continue to prioritize interest payments on the domestic and external debt, rather than invest in the betterment of the Brazilian people’s employment and living standards?” For Jubilee South Brazil, the referendum is a pedagogical and educational tool, a critical means of dialoguing with the people and a form of direct popular participation in the fundamental decisions of the country. It will also help build support for a Parliamentary Debt Audit.

Contact: Jubilee South Brazil, www.jubileusulbrasil.org.br

Uruguay

THE DESCAM PLATFORM (Economic, Social, Cultural And Environmental Human Rights) URUGUAY has taken to consideration the case: “Uruguay And The Generation Of New Illegitimate External Debt Since The Financial Crisis Of 2002”.

The activities are the following:

  • a) Background. The financial crisis of 1982. The conversion of private debt into public debt: “Purchase of Irretrievable Portfolios” for the salvage of the financial system “from” and “for” IFIs;
  • b) Crisis of year 2002. Analysis of the case and its “modus operandi”. Costs of the successive swaps of external debt;
  • c) Permanent meeting of the test elements for its judicialization
  • d) Diffusion, Conferences to create awareness
  • e) To conduct a coincident Seminary with the actions in the Week of Global Action against Illegitimate External Debt.

Plataforma Descam plataformadescam at adinet.com.uy
Ramiro Chimuris ramirochimuris at gmail.com


More on this bulletin

The bulletin is an initiative of the International Facilitation Team of the International Campaign on Illegitimate Debt. The Team was established in Nairobi in January 2007 and is composed of Jubilee South, CADTM, Jubilee USA and Eurodad. It facilitates exchanges and joint initiatives of groups participating in the illegitimate campaign.

Debt groups and movements have agreed to call for the immediate cancellation of illegitimate, unjust and unpayable debt of the South without externally imposed conditions. The agreed priority areas for coordination and joint actions are:

  • Generating official recognition of the issue of illegitimate debt;
  • Raising the profile of illegitimate debt issue among social movements, CSOs and the general public;
  • Conducting debt audits, and;
  • Developing definitions, perspectives, analytical tools, advocacy instruments on illegitimate debt and alternative/responsible financing.

This bulletin digests recent and planned actions from around the world. It complements existing lists and newsletters by containing only extremely short and action-oriented articles, with links or e-m addresses for follow-up. Coming out every 2 months it will help busy people in the campaign and in related campaigns who want to keep track of and join in with our work. It is available in English, French and Spanish.

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If you did not receive this bulletin directly and want to subscribe, send your e-mail address – with the subject line marked “Illegitimate Debt Bulletin Subscription” to debtbulletin at eurodad.org.

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The next issue will come out in October. The deadline to submit articles will be 4th October. Submit articles in a short format (200 words), with web links and/or e-mail addresses as appropriate.