Yesterday on her show, Rachel Maddow reported on the IMF’s announcement that
its $100 million loan to Haiti does not need to be paid back and that the IMF
is working with other donors to cancel all of Haiti’s debt. Though
pressure to cancel Haiti’s debt came from various organizations around
the world, Maddow cites a piece from The Nation’s Notion blog, published
January 15, that called for Haiti’s debt relief.
In the post,
“IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages,” Richard Kim outlines how the $100
million loan, like IMF’s previous loans to Haiti, comes with strings
attached, “including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay
increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and
keeping inflation low,” many of which contributed to the economic
problems of Haiti pre-quake. Kim’s criticism that “in the face of this
latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to
compel neoliberal reforms,” helped convince the IMF to restructure the
loan into a grant.
As Maddow highlights, this goes to show how public pressure can result
in change and, as Naomi Klein said, “can seriously subvert
shock doctrine tactics.”
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