Haiti Helped… a little

Finally some good news for Haitians.

A reprieve also arrived from President Barack Obama, who on Friday approved Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, which will allow them to stay and work in the U.S., and send money home to their loved ones.

This is not going to improve the lot of many, but it is a good preliminary measure.

As I’ve argued before what Haitians need long term is a withdrawal of outside interference, a cancellation of its debt and a little more policy space so it’s people can drag themselves out of poverty.

I’ll blog on this more later, but the IMF are pretty much doing the opposite. Anyone surprised?

To great fanfare, the IMF announced a new $100 million loan to Haiti on Thursday. In one crucial way, the loan is a good thing; Haiti is in dire straits and needs a massive cash infusion. But the new loan was made through the IMF’s extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms.

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