September 28 - 30, 2005 - Havana, Cuba

Call for a South-North Consultation: Resistances and Alternatives to Debt Domination

13 August 2005 by Jubilee South

The majority of countries in Africa and the rest of the South are hamstrung by debt, by the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
. It is a heavy burden, a trap. The conditions and policies of the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

and the IMF are to enable countries to pay debt not to develop. That is all! Let us argue the moral case. Let us create a new liberation movement to free us from immoral debt and neo-colonialism. This is one way forward. The other way is through Pan-African unity.

Julius Nyerere, former president of Tanzania, interview published in January 1999.

Twenty years have passed since the holding, in Havana, of a series of multisectoral conferences aimed at dealing with the external debt problems in Latin America and the Caribbean. Those gatherings helped to generate greater global consciousness about the real nature of the problem as well as to strengthen the struggle against the payment of a debt that enslaves. Fidel Castro echoed what had been expressed by the enormous diversity of participants, when he declared that the debt of the countries of the South of the world is unpayable not only mathematically and financially but also morally and politically.

Since then many advances have been made in this struggle and the world scenario and possibilities for action have changed substantially. But the challenge of securing truly just and equitable alternatives to the dominant policies of indebtedness and globalization remains valid and increasingly urgent. The recent proposals of the G7 governments that offer to cancel a minuscule amount of debt claimed from a handful of countries without offering any essential changes are a clear manifestation of the fact that the debt problem is still intact and that the proposals of the lenders will not provide a solution.

In order to remember and celebrate the 20 years of struggle since those first gatherings in Havana, paying homage to their many protagonists, analyzing the changes which have occurred, and discussing among us the next steps, we propose the holding of a SOUTH-NORTH CONSULTATION ON RESISTANCE AND ALTERNATIVES TO DEBT DOMINATION, in Havana, Cuba, September 28-30, 2005.

We call for the participation of all movements, institutions, networks, and campaigns against the debt and the International Financial Institutions, in both the South and the North, grassroots activists, union members, academics, lawyers, indigenous peoples, parliamentarians, women and men of culture, of the various religions, of political spheres, of rural regions, defenders of human, environmental, educational, healthcare, and housing rights, indeed of all who defend a world of equity Equity The capital put into an enterprise by the shareholders. Not to be confused with ’hard capital’ or ’unsecured debt’. , solidarity, and peace.

Plenary debate and working groups will treat diverse aspects of the debt problem, including:
- Strategies to achieve recognition and repudiation of the illegitimate external debt along with the recognition and restitution of ecological, social and historical debts, including comprehensive debt audits and judicial action;
- Strategies for the defense of human rights and resistance to the accumulation of new social, ecological and financial debts, including opposition to privatizations and trade liberalization;
- Strategies of struggle against the International Financial Institutions, including their interconnectedness to the WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

and military and corporate power;
- Building of alternatives to the current global economic-financial-commercial disorder.

It will be particularly important for this South-North Consultation to incorporate an intense cultural dimension, reflecting on some of the common perceptions with regard to the debt that we need to transform and seeking to involve in every aspect of our struggle against the debt, the cultural and artistic expression of the many peoples and languages whose survival is at stake as a consequence of debt domination and globalization.

We extend a special invitation to all those who have been part of these 20 years of anti-debt struggle, to share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings. something of their experiences with the Organizing Committee, through whatever medium is possible, to help in the process of building our collective memory.

Immediately prior to the South-North Consultation (September 26 to 28), the JUBILEE SOUTH network of peoples’ organizations, coalitions and debt campaigns from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean, will also hold in Havana its 2ND SOUTH-SOUTH SUMMIT. The aim of this Assembly will be to take stock and consolidate the political and organizational advancements achieved during our first five years, and to further develop future strategies and initiatives. Participation is open to those organizations and movements in the South that are interested in joining our network or collaborating in joint initiatives.


The idea is not only to abolish the debt; this is associated to a new order...and to the idea of integration, because even if the abolition of the debt is achieved, if a new economic order is reached, without integration we would always continue to be dependent countries”.
Fidel Castro, Havana, August 1985.

Jubilee South / Cuban Chapter of the Hemispheric Social Alliance / Southern Peoples’ Ecological Debt Creditor Alliance / Afrodad / KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Initiative for Justice / Observatory on Debt and Globalization (Barcelona) / SLUG Norway / Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt / 50 years is enough / Christian Aid / World Council of Churches Program on Globalization and Economic Justice / Lutheran World Federation Program on Debt / Eurodad / ActionAid International / Debt and Development Coalition (Ireland)

Registration is open through September 15. For details, to adhere, or participate, please contact:

Jubilee South,
Piedras 730 (1070) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Telefax: (54-11) 4307-1867
jubileosur at
secretariat at




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