Declaration of Havana, II South-North Consultation

Jubileo Sur/Américas

September 30, 2005

1.       Five years after the first international South-North consultation on debt was held in Dakar, Senegal, representatives from 51 countries convened the second, ‘Resistance and Alternatives to Debt Domination,’ from 28 to 30 September, 2005 in Havana, Cuba. We marked the 20th anniversary of the historic Havana meetings that focused the world’s attention on the true nature of the debt crisis and strengthened the resistance to the payment of enslaving debt.

2.       We, Southern and Northern people’s movements and organizations, agree to work together to promote international recognition of the peoples and countries of the South as social, ecological, cultural and financial creditors of the North. We demand that Northern governments recognize these debts, caused by policies of plunder in violation of human rights, including the right to sovereignty and self-determination

3.       The strength of the struggle against debt domination lies in the unceasing efforts of debt campaigns and social movements across the world. We affirm our commitment to work together in solidarity through campaigns and initiatives in both the South and the North, strengthening our movements to reverse the enormous historical injustice that has brought us together here.

4.       In 2005, we recognise that the accelerating processes of globalisation have only extended and exacerbated the debt crisis, one of the worst scourges afflicting humanity. Far from diminishing, the burden of foreign debt remains a major obstacle limiting countries’ development, forcing them to pay interest to wealthy countries and institutions instead of investing in people’s priorities. Initiatives of those same countries and institutions, such as HIPC, have not put an end to this grotesque situation. On the contrary, their policies and actions – including on trade and the environment – have increased debt and inequality around the world.

5.       Debt is used as a tool of control over exploited and impoverished countries. Debt domination must be ended. The injustice and poverty caused by debt must be ended. The plunder of natural resources and exploitation of people carried out in order to guarantee debt servicing must be ended. The use of debt to impose policies such as neo-liberalism on the countries of the South must be ended. Unjust trade must be ended, including so-called “free trade” treaties, which lead to greater indebtedness and loss of control over resources and sovereignty. Relations between countries must be based on justice and respect for human rights, not on oppression, militarization, and war. The illegitimate, unjust and unpayable debt of the South must be cancelled immediately. This cancellation cannot be linked to externally imposed conditions. We will advocate repudiation of debt and will be in solidarity with governments that choose to take this course of action.

6.       Wealthy governments, transnational companies, and institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO must accept responsibility for the plunder of the countries of the South, for creating and perpetuating the debt crisis, and in particular for odious debt. Given the historical and on-going exploitation of the countries of the South; the imbalanced financial, economic and political relations between the exploited and the exploiting; and the ecological devastation imposed on the South by governments and commercial interests of the North, it is indisputable that the North owes the South.

7.       The South-North Consultation on Resistance and Alternatives to Debt Domination thanks Cuba for its generous support for our meeting. At the same time, we call on the government of the United States to recognise its historic debt to Cuba, accumulated through the illegal and immoral blockade and by other acts of aggression by the United States government.

8.       While stressing the urgent need to overcome debt domination, we recognise that this alone is not enough. We must at the same time promote integrated economic and social policies that promote respect for and development of peoples and nations, and strengthen the building of alternatives.


Categories: Caribbean, Cuba, Odious Debts

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