Rome News-Tribune Quotes Eric LeCompte on Global Financial Crisis

The Rome News-Tribune featured Eric LeCompte's thoughts on the COVID-19 global recession and the potential impact on Latin America and Caribbean. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Coronavirus could push Latin America, Caribbean into deepest recession since 1930s

But the only country in the region that might benefit from that measure is Haiti, said Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and director of the Jubilee USA Network, a religious development group that has been a longtime advocate for debt forgiveness.

“Many of the Latin American and Caribbean countries don’t qualify for any type of debt relief measure because they are considered too wealthy,” LeCompte said. “We’d like to see it extended to Ecuador, Bolivia, Grenada, Jamaica and other countries that could benefit from a debt standstill but need even more relief.”

And even what might be offered to Haiti isn’t enough, donors said, given the nation’s fragile economic state. During a recent emergency meeting of the CARICOM bloc of Caribbean countries, leaders agreed to lobby the G20 and international finance institutions for full-fledged debt write-offs and emergency funding for the rest of the Caribbean.

Also this month, the International Monetary Fund began offering below-market-rate emergency loans that might allow some countries to bolster health services or provide U.S.-style stimulus packages to keep workers employed. For many nations it’s simply piling debt on top of unsustainable debt, LeCompte said, but “it’s better than nothing.”

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Eric LeCompte Interviewed by Miami Herald on Latin America, Caribbean Debt

The Miami Herald interviewed Eric LeCompte on coronavirus impacts on the economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

Coronavirus could push Latin America, Caribbean into deepest recession since 1930s

But the only country in the region that might benefit from that measure is Haiti, said Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and director of the Jubilee USA Network, a religious development group that has been a longtime advocate for debt forgiveness.

“Many of the Latin American and Caribbean countries don’t qualify for any type of debt relief measure because they are considered too wealthy,” LeCompte said. “We’d like to see it extended to Ecuador, Bolivia, Grenada, Jamaica and other countries that could benefit from a debt standstill but need even more relief.”

And even what might be offered to Haiti isn’t enough, donors said, given the nation’s fragile economic state. During a recent emergency meeting of the CARICOM bloc of Caribbean countries, leaders agreed to lobby the G20 and international finance institutions for full-fledged debt write-offs and emergency funding for the rest of the Caribbean.

Also this month, the International Monetary Fund began offering below-market-rate emergency loans that might allow some countries to bolster health services or provide U.S.-style stimulus packages to keep workers employed. For many nations it’s simply piling debt on top of unsustainable debt, LeCompte said, but “it’s better than nothing.”

 

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Update: IMF, G20 Moving Our Proposals

Friends, 

Jubilee USA's coronavirus proposals to lift the vulnerable and protect all of us from financial crisis continue to move at the IMF, G20, White House and Congress.

Last week, Jubilee's Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, met with the heads of the IMF and World Bank. Since then we've continued daily meetings with Finance Ministers and world leaders on our proposals. We are now working with our Republican and Democratic partners to authorize last week's coronavirus crisis victories in the next stimulus package.

Now nearly 100 religious groups, labor unions and partners signed our letter to the G20, IMF and White House to cancel debt and increase aid to developing and developed countries, bolster global healthcare, move forward transparency and anti-corruption proposals and put in place policies to protect all of from the financial crisis.

Will you join us and sign and share our 4 point call to action to the IMF now? We'll deliver our next round of petitions and letters to the IMF next week.

Yesterday the head of the United Nations, António Guterres, echoed our proposals to expand debt relief and aid to more countries! The UN Conference on Trade and Development encouraged the creation of a process to create a new global financial crisis mechanism.

Linked here, you'll see Eric's e-mail from Sunday with an in-depth overview of our work and prayer, action and education resources.

We're so grateful for your partnership. As we've entered Ramadan, we lift this holy time for our Muslim members and partners.

Best,


Kate Zeller
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Argentina and Creditors Struggle to Agree on Debt Plans

Washington DC - In less than three weeks, Argentina and it's creditors must reach a deal on restructuring the South American country's $70 billion debt or risk default. Last week, Argentina offered a proposal to creditors that was rejected by enough debt holders to thwart the plan.

"Argentina was running out of money to pay debt before the coronavirus struck," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte's group monitored Argentina debt since the early 2000s. Then in 2014, Jubilee USA filed to the US Supreme Court when Argentina's last debt crisis faced US Court arbitration. "As the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus worsen, Argentina's ability to pay debt becomes more uncertain."

On Wednesday Argentina missed a $500 million debt payment which set in motion a possible default by the end of May if Argentina and it's creditors cannot reach a new debt agreement. Argentina's proposed debt plan represents a more than 60% cut on the country's debt payments and some investors say the country can pay more and offer better terms.

"In light of the coronavirus and the suffering of Argentina's people, the initial plan is reasonable," said LeCompte, who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Vulnerable and poor people are the ones who suffer most because of the country's economic woes."

Argentina's efforts to surmount recent debt challenges are supported by the International Monetary Fund, G20 leaders and Pope Francis.

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United Nations Warns of Famine, Urges Debt Relief and Calls for New Debt Process to Confront Coronavirus

Washington DC - Over the last 48 hours, United Nations agencies warned the coronavirus could spread famine to hundreds of millions, called for new debt relief processes and the UN's chief urged expanding debt relief and aid to more countries.

"Without debt relief and emergency aid, too many countries do not have the ability to feed their people, strengthen health services or help their people survive the economic impacts of the coronavirus," stated Eric LeCompte, a UN finance expert, who leads the religious development group, Jubilee USA Network.

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for expanded debt relief and aid for broader groups of developing countries to confront the coronavirus pandemic. Guterres spoke to the virtual meetings of the UN Financing for Development Forum and he specifically noted the plight of Middle Income Countries.

His remarks come as the UN World Food Programme released analysis this week, that the impacts of COVID-19 could spread famine to 265 million people.

"Almost all of the countries that face increased numbers of people suffering from famine are poor countries with debts that cannot be paid," said LeCompte. "Not only do these countries need debt relief, they also need emergency aid so people don't starve to death."

The UN Conference on Trade and Development also released Thursday a template for a new process, the International Developing Country Debt Authority, to create a mechanism to negotiate the debt of countries facing crisis.

"The efforts of the United Nations are critical now to immediately expand aid and debt relief to more countries in the face of this unprecedented global health and economic crisis."

Last Friday, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank noted that increased resources and debt relief would be needed as the coronavirus economic crisis deepens.

Read the UN Secretary General's Remarks here

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 response plan here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

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UN Chief Calls for Debt Relief for All Developing Countries

Washington DC - United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called for expanded debt relief and aid for broader groups of developing countries, including Middle Income Countries, to confront the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. Guterres' remarks were shared at the virtual, informal UN Financing for Development Forum.

Eric LeCompte, UN Finance Expert and Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network, releases the following statement on the UN Secretary General's remarks:

"A broad group of developing countries need debt relief, not just the poorest countries.

"The so-called Middle Income Countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean will be hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

"Without debt relief and emergency aid, too many countries do not have the ability to bolster health services or help their people deal with the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

"The UN Secretary General is right that debt relief must be immediately extended to more countries in the face of this unprecedented global health and economic crisis."

Read the UN Secretary General's Remarks here

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IMF Credit Tool to Bolster COVID-19 Response

Washington DC - The International Monetary Fund's new Short-term Liquidity Line (SLL) provides a renewable line of credit to countries to confront the impacts of the coronavirus.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network, releases the following statement on the IMF's new Short-term Liquidity Line:

"The IMF's Short-term Liquidity Line is helpful as we confront the coronavirus.

"This tool frees up millions of dollars for countries to fight the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

"Many countries lack the fiscal and monetary space to increase liquidity and this answers some of that problem.

"In the absence of broader actions on debt relief and allowing countries to access additional resources, the IMF is doing what it can do to make more resources available.

"We really need to be able to access the special drawing rights or SDRs and more aid for countries to deal with the enormity of this growing coronavirus financial crisis."

Read the IMF Short-term Liquidity Line Announcement here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

Read about the IMF World Economic Report here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

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Bottom of the first. Debt cancelled, Crisis Protections, Next Steps

Friends,

Our hearts break.

We all know people who fell to this plague. Many of us and the people we love struggle with the economic impacts of the virus.

And yet as Easter and Passover people, as people of the Spring, as believers in the Jubilee Promise, we rise. Amidst our sorrow, we sow and build.

It's only the bottom of the first inning in dealing with this global health and economic crisis - and we are winning. We need everyone's help through the 9th inning. The stakes of playing ball have never been higher - the outcome determines how many of us will survive.

In this letter to our team of friends, partners and world leaders, we share what we won, what we've done together, where we are going and what we need you to do.

What we won.

After launching our campaigns to lift the vulnerable and protect all of us from financial crisis in mid-March, we moved the G7, G20, IMF, World Bank, White House and Congress to take action specifically on our Jubilee USA campaign goals.

  • On Friday, the leadership of the World Bank announced, for the first time in its history, that developing "Middle Income Countries" need debt relief too. Welcome news for our partners in the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and Africa. It's why from the beginning, all of Jubilee USA's coronavirus campaigns went beyond just the world's poorest economies.

  • Also on Friday, our efforts secured strong fought commitments from the World Bank and IMF to jointly work on expanding debt relief for all countries that need it as the crisis deepens.

  • This week the debt of the 25 poorest countries saw 6 months of debt cancelled and 77 of the world's poorest countries saw debt collection stop for 6 months, interest free, to bolster their health system freeing up more that $25 billion dollars to bolster health care. $4.5 billion of Somalia's debt was cancelled too! Thanks to our work together - these were huge wins and are essential for many of these countries who have either zero or up to 50 critical care unit beds per country. More than 70% of those who live in extreme poverty on our planet call these countries home.

  • We won support from world leaders to move forward protections to help many of us as we battle a financial crisis that rivals the Great Depression.

  • Amazingly, as we've pushed hard for all debt holders to be brought to the table to relieve debt, the White House, G20, IMF and World Bank agreed! For the first time, this week, all debt holders: banks, private, public, other commercial lenders are all being called to the debt relief table and processes are beginning. Jubilee USA has worked for this moment for more than 20 years.

  • The IMF agreed to our March proposal to increase aid, relief, resources, and below market-rate lending for all countries - developed and developing - so they can pass stimulus packages to protect workers, increase social safety nets and bolster health services in the face of the coronavirus. It's unprecedented - half of the world's countries already requested emergency financing from the IMF.

  • The IMF, World Bank and G20 committed to some of the global financial crisis protection and transparency initiatives we proposed to the head of the IMF on March 23rd. In order to build a more resilient post-pandemic world, our anti-corruption and tax evasion proposals are seeing the light of day.

  • The Fund's special debt relief trust that we helped create for Haiti's debt relief after the 2010 earthquake, then expanded for the 2014/2015 Ebola epidemic (benefiting Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia) was expanded again last week after weeks of your petitions and letters. Now 29 countries can see debt cancelled.

  • Since early February, tens of thousands of newspapers featured our Jubilee USA efforts and coronavirus campaigns. Over the last three weeks alone, daily, thousands of newspapers and tv/radio shows featured Jubilee USA Network's thoughts, analysis and campaigns.

The All Stars, Hall of Famers, came to the field. A solid "spring training" and what we ALL did together.

Over the last few weeks, 165 world leaders, Pope Francis, 200 global partner organizations, the largest US faith institutions, the International Chamber of Congress, the International Trade Union Confederation and the world's largest labor unions joined the calls we launched in March for debt relief, lifting the poor, increasing global healthcare and protecting all of us from financial crisis. Our Jubilee Republican and Democratic champions joined our efforts.

In the first week of February, I went to Rome to join a special event with Pope Francis, the leader of the IMF, 12 Finance Ministers, the World Bank, Martin Guzman, Joseph Stiglitz and Jeff Sachs to talk about Jubilee economics. The Papal Academy of Social Sciences brought us together and we began talking about being prepared for a financial crisis that could be spurred by the coronavirus.

By the last week of February, Jubilee USA was meeting with world leaders, influencers and Finance Ministers. Jubilee USA leadership and our partners and faith communities started preparing. We began our first petition drives and organizing across our 700 faith communities. We expanded the Jubilee USA team with seasoned players and volunteers. I saw friends who we last saw on the field 20 years ago come back and arrive for "spring training."

After weeks of work, research and preparation, on the morning of March 23rd, Jubilee's leadership sent a 3-page letter detailing a global economic plan to protect the poor and all of us from financial crisis. Reverend Steve Herder, Celeste Drake, Rabbi Matthew Cutler, Reverend Aniedi Okure and I wrote the IMF Head, Kristalina Georgieva, laying out a 4-point plan to protect all of us - all of us in the North and South, in developing and in developed countries. It is this March letter that laid out our coronavirus campaigns which resulted in our current victories and now directs our next year of work as we keep on moving forward through the 9th inning. It is this letter that not only lays out a plan to save lives, but ensure we are all protected from financial crisis and that our world emerges with more resilience in a post-pandemic world.

Simultaneously, our petition drives began across the United States and faith communities from California to Texas to South Carolina to Utah began mobilizing and acting with petitions and our national sign-on letter.

On April 1st, Jubilee USA revealed that the IMF had $140 billion in gold reserves. Our analysis showed the world where some resources are available to mitigate the global financial crisis.

Two weeks ago the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network wrote to President Trump about suspending debt payments and moving forward a process for debt cancellation for developing countries. The US Treasury and the White House are now championing these pieces of our Jubilee plan and because of this, we won debt cancellation for 25 countries and the collection of debts stopped for 77.

Then our friends at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development called for a trillion dollars of debt to be cancelled. A week and a half ago, groups representing "Jubilee" organizations around the world wrote the heads of the Fund and the World Bank to press broader aid and debt relief efforts. The letter was sent from the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, the European Network on Debt and Development, Jubilee UK, Jubilee Germany, the Latin American Network on Debt and Development and Rights, Oxfam International, the French Catholic La Plateforme Française Dette & Développement, the Society for International Development and Jubilee USA Network.

On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis made a powerful call for debt payment suspension, a process for debt cancellation and a call for universal income. Jubilee USA is so grateful for its 25 year partnership with the Holy See (Vatican) and for the amazing leadership of Reverend Augusto Zampini and Cardinal Turkson who lead efforts to confront the coronavirus. Zampini and Turkson both joined Jubilee USA's virtual web event for our members, partners and supporters. We appreciate the long-term inspiration of Jubilee USA 20th anniversary award winner, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi from the Holy See.

Early last week we sent our letter from more than 80 faith groups and partners to the G20, White House and the IMF. These amazing groups organized by Jubilee USA endorsed our 4-point plan. The signers include: The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jubilee USA Network, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, Buddhist Association of the United States, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Synagogues, Churches and Muslim groups from Virginia to Montana to Nebraska to Oregon. The largest labor union in the United States, the AFL-CIO, and Oxfam joined our Jubilee USA letter.

Beyond the world leaders we've worked so closely with to make these victories possible, a critical part of our Jubilee movement have been many journalists who have worked around the clock for the last month - writing, digging deep and highlighting our campaigns for our survival in every corner of the world.

Then over the last few weeks, our national webinars also featured our partners from Puerto Rico like Archbishop Gonzalez and Reverend Martinez, leaders from the AFL-CIO like Damon Silvers and Cathy Feingold and global Jubilee partners such as Patricia Miranda, Jean Saldanha and Iolanda Fresnillo.

Then last week we were all surprised by an amazing action from Shut Down DC. It wasn't April fools - but they fooled all of us with a spoof IMF website saying all of the developing world's debt was cancelled. This happened on the 20th anniversary of our 50,000 person strong IMF and World Bank protests, a powerful Holy Week that forged bonds for many of us. This action raised the importance of the need for all world leaders to act.

Then from Monday through Friday night - we saw Jubilee USA victory after victory every day.

Bono from U2 and partners from the ONE Campaign fought with us to gain Treasury and G20 support for countries to access global financial reserve funds to fight the coronavirus and protect all of us from a global financial crisis. This is a fight we still need to win and this brings us to the second inning.

Where we are going. Top of the second. Some of our best homerun batters just finished warm-ups.

The 4-point plan we laid out in March now directs our intensive campaigns for the next 6 months to two years.

Our plan means that every campaign we win triggers the next campaign and the next phase of action begins.

Here's where we are going the next few weeks and months:

  • We must push forward, urgently, the G20 and the IMF to access the global financial reserve, also known as the special drawing rights or SDRs. BBC America, BBC World News and BBC World Business did a special Jubilee USA 5 minute segment that included our work on this financial reserve. (See the link below)

  • At the US Congress, right now we need to be sure that the next stimulus package includes aid and bringing more jobs to Puerto Rico as the island wrestles with the coronavirus, earthquakes, hurricane recovery and the ongoing debt crisis.

  • Congress needs to authorize any Treasury and White House plans that need debt relief authorization in the next stimulus package. We must prepare Congress for IMF gold sales authorization. We need the new stimulus package to stop debt collectors from taking stimulus checks. We must be sure that student debt relief is expanded and that food assistance is increased from Nebraska to Puerto Rico.

  • We need to move forward and activate debt relief, aid and financing processes for all developed and developing countries that need it.

  • While debt was cancelled for the 25 poorest countries and 77 countries won't pay debt or interest for 6 months, we now need to build the process for debt relief expansion. Just like bankruptcy, we are in a standstill, and now we need the process to trigger an evaluation of debt and cut and cancel debt where needed. Moving the White House, G7, G20 and IMF on these issues is critical and we need you and your organization to sign our petition and letter. (Listen to the BBC link below)

  • We need to move forward more market and financial crisis protections to protect all us as we face a crisis as big as the Great Depression.

  • At the New York Assembly, Senate and Governor's office our efforts to improve debt restructuring in New York law must move forward to bring the world's private creditors to the table and stop predatory "vulture funds" from exploiting poor countries wrestling with the coronavirus.

  • Our campaigns must build a more resilient world. Now is the time for us to tackle corruption and global tax evasion.

  • Urgently, we must be sure that the World Trade Organization and trade pacts ensure that any country and population who needs life-saving medicines and health services will receive them expeditiously.

We are all in this ball game. Next Steps.

Pray - Jubilee USA put together vital prayer resources from many traditions as well as original interfaith prayers. Use them every day here.

Listen to this special 5-minute BBC segment on the next phase of our campaigns on global crisis protections, debt, SDRs and Jubilee USA's coronavirus campaigns. Listen to our 5 minute interview between minute 1:00 and minute 6:04, here.

Watch our Jubilee USA Easter Passover message here and watch this beautiful 2 minute message with our global partners here.

Act - Sign and spread our petition on our 4-point action plan. Have your faith community, union or organization immediately sign our 4-point action letter to the White House, G20 and IMF.

Donate - For a very limited time, we have $25,000 in matching funds. Please make a matching donation and have that gift doubled for our coronavirus campaigns. All $1200.00 "stimulus" checks that are donated will be tripled!

Read
our March letter to the IMF here that details our campaign goals. Read our April 1st letter on our campaigns and gold sales here. Check out our website for our new coronavirus report and vital updates.

Dear friends and partners, we are so grateful for you as we begin the second inning together.

Please keep Jubilee USA in your prayers. As I pray for you, please pray for me. Please pray and keep in your thoughts our Jubilee USA coronavirus campaign team: Kate Zeller, Nancy Alexander, Aldo Caliari, Aleja Hertzler-McCain and Cullen Trobec.

¡Adelante!

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

 

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The New York Times, Fox, ABC, Associated Press Quote Eric LeCompte on IMF Debt Relief

The New York Times, Fox News, ABC and the Associated Press featured Eric LeCompte's remarks on IMF debt relief. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

IMF, World Bank Pledge Help Amid Calls for More Debt Relief

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, a religious development organization, said it is still a good signal that the closing communique directed the lending organizations to explore providing debt relief to a larger group of nations.
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Jubilee USA Statement on World Bank Group Development Committee Communiqué and Malpass Address

Washington DC - The leadership of the World Bank Group, the Development Committee, released their communiqué at the close of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings. World Bank President gave a closing press conference.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA, releases the following statement on the World Bank Development Committee Communiqué on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries:

"The communiqué of the World Bank leadership just offered the first direction that the Fund and World Bank are looking at how Middle Income Countries need debt relief as well.

"We need to be looking at how all developing countries, not just the poorest, are impacted by the coronavirus. This acknowledgement is positive from the World Bank.

"We welcome this critical signal from the leadership of the World Bank that they will start to evaluate the debt challenges and needs of Middle Income Countries.

"While Malpass reiterated many important points from the decisions made this week, the money quotes are in the statement from the leadership about broadening their efforts to more developing countries."

Read the World Bank Communiqué here

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here

Read about the IMF World Economic Report here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

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