MANILA, Philippines – In solidarity with the Haitian people, the Freedom from Debt Coalition on Tuesday appealed to the Taiwan government through its representative here to immediately and unconditionally cancel the debt of Haiti which was ravaged by a 7.0 earthquake last January 12 that killed an estimated 200,000 people.

FDC also urged Taiwan government and private banks to follow the bold steps done by the Paris Club and the Venezuelan government on Haiti's debt.

In a letter addressed to Taiwan Representative Donald C.T. Lee, FDC secretary general Milo Tanchuling issued the appeal as part of the international call by anti-debt campaigners around the world, by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and by Paris Club, an informal group of creditor governments from major industrialized countries “to urgently provide full debt cancellation to Haiti.”

“As a national coalition of people’s organizations and social movements in a country recently devastated by strong typhoons, we sympathize with the people of Haiti and issue this appeal to the Taiwan government. There is no doubt that a total and immediate cancellation of Haiti's debt is big help towards its recovery after the earthquake,” Tanchuling said.

The group noted that according to various sources, Taiwan’s outstanding loans to Haiti amounts to $91 million.

In response to the global call, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said that the loans are from private banks, but asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider the urgent call.

In a separate statement, Paris Club members – among them are the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain and Canada – had “already agreed to cancel all the $214 million (150 million euros) owed by Haiti to its members.”

For his part, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last week said Petrocaribe, Venezuela’s cut-rate regional energy alliance, will forgive Haiti’s debt amounting to $295 million. -30-

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