Partners In Health is calling on friends and supporters of Haiti to join Paul Farmer and other PIH staff in skipping meals and taking action to help build pressure to cancel Haiti's crippling debt.
Evan Lyon, a PIH doctor who has worked in Haiti for the past 10 years, explained to a reporter for the Boston Globe why he has chosen to fast for three days. "Hunger is the most important issue that we see" in Haiti, Lyon said. "It's not uncommon for the people I take care of to come into the clinic not having eaten for one or two days. I chose to take this fast on with the understanding that for me it's a pretty modest thing to do."
Jubilee USA Network has organized a 40-day rolling fast to educate about debt and mobilize grassroots pressure on Congress for debt cancellation for Haiti and every other country requiring immediate debt cancellation to address extreme poverty. Find out more and sign up to fast for a day (or more!) at www.jubileeusa.org/
We are at a crucial time for Haiti debt cancellation. Since last year, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank have each decided that Haiti’s debts should be cancelled. But they are demanding that Haiti wait until the completion of a three-year process (at a minimum) before the debt is actually written off. In the meantime Haiti will pay millions more in debt service to these institutions, when the money could be used for health and education funding, infrastructure and many other immediate needs.
In March of this year, seven members of Congress introduced a resolution calling for Haiti’s debt to be cancelled immediately. This resolution now has 63 co-sponsors. This October we will make a final push to get the resolution to a vote with one week of intense grassroots lobbying.
Take part. A few minutes of your time can make a big difference for millions of people. On October 2, 3 or 4th make a call to your member of Congress asking him/her to co-sponsor House Resolution 241. If your member of Congress has already co-sponsored the resolution give them a call anyway. Thank them for co-sponsoring the resolution and ask him/her when we can expect a vote on the resolution. Find out if your congressperson has signed on by searching for the bill (H Res 241) on www.thomas.loc.gov .
Also, let your member of Congress know about the briefing on October 4. Let him or her know that this is an important issue for you and you expect a representative from that office to be at the briefing. Come to the briefing if you can! The briefing will run from 3:30-5:00 in room 2105 of the Rayburn House office building. Dr. Paul Piere from Zanmi Lasante/Partners In Health will be a panelist at the briefing. For more information on debt cancellation and how you can help, please visit www.jubileeusa.org/canceldebtfast.html.
[published September 2007]