Debt relief for the most impoverished
Having been involved as missionaries for 30 years in the rural
zone of Nicaragua, our Sisters experienced first hand
the harsh burdens that foreign debt placed on the majority of
Nicaraguans. International loans with high rates of interest
prevented the government from spending on education, health care,
and infrastructure of the country. We came to realize that
direct aid and self-help programs -- though necessary -- were not
adequate in alleviating deep poverty in the country. We
realized that in a world the gap between rich and poor (both
individuals and countries) continued to expand. The only way to
achieve justice and peace was to change the systems that placed
profits or power ahead of human rights and the well-being of all
people and the earth.
Every 50 years, the biblical tradition (Leviticus, chapter 25) calls for a year of Jubilee when slaves
are to be set free and debts canceled. As the year 2000
approached, Pope John Paul II called on the international community
to reduce the oppressive debts of the most impoverished nations.
In support of his call, numerous faith communities organized
a movement (Jubilee 2000) that called on rich countries to
lift the heavy burden of foreign debts that trapped poor nations at
the bottom of the global economy. Our Sisters supported the
movement through a corporate stance on debt forgiveness. We
pledged to learn about, pray and advocate for the cancellation of
the unpayable debts held by the most impoverished countries.
In return, these poor countries - including Nicaragua -- were to
invest the savings in human development and other programs
benefiting the poor of their nations.
Our work on debt relief is not yet accomplished. Foreign
debt payments of highly indebted poor countries remain a critical
barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Set by the
United Nations in 2000, these goals aim to reduce poverty by half
Please join the movement to alleviate the foreign debt burdens
of many poor countries.
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