Press Release: Wednesday, November 4, 1998

Canadian organizations and individuals today called for an immediate stop on debt payments coming out of Nicaragua and Honduras.

4 November 1998 - In letters to the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Finance Minister Paul Martin and External Affairs Minster Lloyd Axworthy, they asked that a freeze on debt payments be enacted for 90 days, in light of the disaster affecting the people in Central America.

Both Nicaragua and Honduras are considered heavily indebted poor countries by the international financial institutions, and pay out millions of dollars each month to outside creditors. Much of this money goes to the IMF, World Bank, and IDB. The two countries sent out US$888 million dollars last year - or $2.43 million per day.

Finance Minister Martin has supported establishing a 90 day freeze on transactions for countries in economic crisis. We are asking his support for the same for these countries, facing natural disaster and social crisis.

This effort is being coordinated by the Social Justice Committee of Montreal, as part of the Halifax Initiative national coalition, as the coordinating agency for the Canada/Central America Urgent Action Network, and in partnership with other networks and organizations across Canada.

For more information, contact:
Derek MacCuish, 514-933-6797
514-695-7908 (evenings