Yes to Life, No to Debt
The Tegucigalpa Declaration launching the Latin American and Caribbean Jubilee 2000 Campaign for the annulment of external debt builds on universal ethical values. It also explicitly invokes the biblical tradition of Jubilee. Chapter 25 of the Book of Leviticus prescribes that every 50 years a Jubilee is to be celebrated when debts are remitted; slaves are freed and wealth is redistributed
The exorbitant foreign debt of the so-called Third World excludes four-fifths of the world’s population from economic and social development. The debt reflects an unjust international economic order and a long history of slavery and exploitation. It is mathematically impossible to repay this debt. Between 1982 and 1996 the Latin American and Caribbean region paid out $739 billion in debt service – more than the entire accumulated debt – and yet the debt continues to grow. The debt is illegitimate because, in large measure, it was contracted by dictatorships or formally democratic, but corrupt, governments. The debt is also illegitimate because it swelled due to high interest rates and conditions imposed by creditor governments and banks. It is immoral to pay the debt because, in order to do so, governments have to allocate an extremely high percentage of government revenues at the expense of social programs and workers’ wages. There is already a huge social debt in terms of peoples’ health, education and nutrition. Latin American governments spend 60% less per capita on these areas than they did in 1970. Attempting to increase exports to pay the debt will lead to over-exploitation of natural resources, ecological damage and threaten the survival of future generations. The debt is used to justify neoliberal policies of structural adjustment as a way of perpetuating dependence. The Biblical Jubilee (Lev.25) calls for justice between creditors and debtors, as well as peace and harmony within human society and the natural world, as well as the elimination of slavery resulting from debt. The Latin American and Caribbean Jubilee 2000 Campaign joins the international movement for the annulment of impoverished countries debt by the year 2000. adapted from The Tegucigalpa Declaration – Latin American and Caribbean Jubilee 2000 Platform issued in Honduras – January 1999.
- For more information contact:
- A book entitled Consenso Etico Global en vez de Globalizaci_n NeoLiberal: Hacia una Carta Etica is available from the Centro Ecumenico Diego de Medellin
- “Jubilee 2000: Time for Debt Remission” Economic Justice Report Vol. VIII, No. 4, Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice
- “Time is Ripe to Expand Call for Jubilee” Economic Justice Report Vol.IX, No. 4, Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice
- John McMurtry Unequal Freedoms: the Global Market as an Ethical System Toronto: Garamond Press