Friday, October 22, 2004

 

IMF cancels Haiti trip (Haiti--Intro)

This is the first post in what will become a multi-post primer on some of the current situations in the world today, such as Haiti, Darfur, and the environment in general. I will note in the subject line which topic and what number in my little primer the post is (wow, how's that for grammar...) The post here is really just a snippet from today's news, and the actual primer part will begin with my next Haiti post, when I have more time to sit down and type my own thoughts.

As I try to make some sense out of it all, I will be posting what I find. It won't, probably, be in any order that makes actual sense, but I will try to get as much info posted on each topic as possible. If anyone out there has something they'd like me to post more info on, please e-mail me! The article below reflects some of the latest available news on Haiti.

Associated Press
IMF Cancels Trip to Violence-Torn Haiti
10.21.2004, 11:43 AM

The International Monetary Fund has called off a mission meeting with Haitian leaders next week, citing security concerns in the violence-torn Caribbean nation, IMF officials said on Thursday.

Haiti has been trying to rebuild since a three-week rebellion pushed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power in February and September floods killed more than 1,900 people.

The IMF extends emergency aid at low interest rates to countries in which major destruction has occurred. The mission was to discuss, among other things, the renewal of an economic monitoring program, the current budget and emergency post-conflict assistance.

"All that now is on hold," said IMF senior press officer for Latin America Francisco Baker, in a telephone interview Thursday.

On Sept. 30, the anniversary of the army coup that had ousted Aristide for the first time in 1991, violence resurged when Aristide partisans clashed with police.

Since then, at least 55 people have been shot and killed and scores wounded.

The IMF representative was called back to Washington, D.C. "because of the recent deterioration in the security situation in and around Port-au-Prince," said Tom Dawson, Director of IMF External Relations, at a press briefing Wednesday.

Because of the violence, the government has lost millions of dollars in customs receipts, and the weak Haitian economy is staggering.

At a meeting in July, international donors pledged about $1 billion in aid to Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country, racked by almost two decades of political turmoil.

But the disbursement of hundreds of millions of dollars in low-interest loan dollars depends on whether the IMF approves of the interim government's adherence to specific economic measures, such as controlling inflation rates and curbing government waste.

Dawson said the postponed meeting would be held "as soon as security conditions permit."

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