printer printer Click on the green icon on the right
Jubilee South/ Americas reiterates demand for 100% unconditional cancellation of debt
by Jubilee South
13 June 2005


Buenos Aires, June 11, 2005 - The G-8 Finance Ministers announced this afternoon a new proposal to advance toward the cancellation of part of the multilateral debt claimed of 18 South countries, mostly in Africa but also including Bolivia, Honduras, and Nicaragua. While some of them celebrated the announcement as a “historic” step that would make possible a “new beginning” in the relations between enriched and impoverished countries worldwide, other Ministers admitted that the agreement had more to do with the needs of the international financial institutions (IFIs) themselves to salvage their credibility and initiate a new cycle of indebtedness.

Today’s announcemente suggests the eventual cancellation of debt worth u$s 40 to 55 billion, once the agreement itself is approved by the IFIs, the countries involved fulfill the conditions demanded of them, and the G-8 governments comply with their promises to make new resources available in order to compensate the IFIs for their loss of revenues. The debt in question represents a minuscule part of total South country debt; the debt of African countries alone is today valued at u$s 300 billion.

Jubilee South/Americas reiterates its demand that any debt cancellation must be unconditional and take into account the broadly-evidenced illegitimacy of the debt claims held against South countries. Rather than debtors, the peoples and countries of the South are creditors of an enormous social, historical, and ecological debt. That is why any attempt by the International Financial Institutions, and the debtor governments of the North, to make cosmetic changes in order to preempt any fundamental changes, must be rejected. We must furthermore demand that the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank and the other regional banksm conduct participatory Audits in order to determine how much they have already collected in excess.

In the same vein, the announcement made this afternoon comes as a belated recognition that after years of promises, little or nothing has really been done to recognize the illegitimacy of the debt and proceed to cancel it. Only u$s 54 billion of the u$s 2.4 trillion claimed of the so-called developing countries has been effectively cancelled. And even then, the prior condition has been that each country must certify its compliance with the conditions summed up in the widely discredited “Washington Consensus”, including the application of structural adjustment programs, reduction of the state, privatization of essential services and basic human rights, as well as trade liberalization. This is the case of Bolivia, for example, where debt cancellation today would have minimal impact in comparison with the ongoing multi-million dollar losses and socio-political impact provoked by the policies of water, gas, and other natural resource privatizations that were imposed earlier as preconditions for debt “relief”.

Other countries which are experimenting situations of severe humanitarian crisis, such as the case of Haiti in our hemisphere, not only continue to be exluded from these proposals but indeed, the International Financial Institutions continue to force debt collection at any cost. In January of this year, the Haitian government disbursed u$s 53 million in back-due interest, in order for the very same banks to release almost the same amount of money in new loans - destined in large part to help prepare the way for the privatization of the country’s telecommunications network.

Secretaría: Piedras 730, (1070) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Telefax: (5411) 43071867 Email: jubileosur at

Jubilee South