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The National Catholic Reporter cites Eric LeCompte on the Pope's message on ecological and economic themes in the recent Amazon Synod. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
The Amazon synod is about the concept of social sin, not married priests
Port Louis, Mauritius - Reject your "idolatrous economic model," were the words Pope Francis addressed Mauritius' political leaders with on Monday. Dubbed the "Mauritius Leaks," the island is the center of a tax avoidance scandal where companies pay a lower tax rate in Mauritius to avoid billions of dollars in taxes in the African countries where they actually do business.
"Poor African countries are losing billions of revenue needed to build infrastructure and fight poverty because of the Mauritius tax haven," stated Jubilee USA Director and United Nations finance expert, Eric LeCompte. "Pope Francis calls corruption a plague and it was the common theme for each of the three African countries he visited."
Francis is at the end of a three nation Africa tour that began on September 4th in Mozambique and continued in Madagascar before visiting Mauritius.
In Mozambique during the Catholic leader's sermon at a religious service attended by more than 60,000, Francis exclaimed, "Mozambique is a land of abundant natural and cultural riches, yet paradoxically, great numbers of its people live below the poverty level. And at times it seems that those who approach with the alleged desire to help have other interests. Sadly, this happens with brothers and sisters of the same land, who let themselves be corrupted. It is very dangerous to think that this is the price to be paid for foreign aid."
Mozambique wrestles with a $2 billion debt scandal because loans from Credit Suisse and a Russian bank intended to support the Mozambique ports and fishing industry were used to secretly outfit military boats.
"In Mozambique, the Pope is deeply concerned with corrupt officials and some global banks that benefit from and created these secret loans," said LeCompte. "The Pope is concerned by the high poverty rates, corruption and the debt crisis in Mozambique. The Holy Father asserts that debt is a tool of the rich to control poor countries."
Mozambique is recovering from two cyclones this year and data from the World Bank ranks the southeast African country as the 7th poorest in the world.
At a Catholic Mass of more than a million participants over the weekend in Madagascar, Francis took aim at allegations that more than half of Madagascar's elected leaders are involved in corrupt activities. "When 'family' becomes the decisive criterion for what we consider right and good, we end up justifying and even 'consecrating' practices that lead to...privilege and exclusion: favouritism, patronage and, as a consequence, corruption," he said.
Francis was referring to the family clan system in Madagascar and the challenge that natural resources are lost in Madagascar because of consumption of wealthy countries.
"The Pope's message for Madagascar is protect your environment and your natural resources from all forms of theft and corruption," noted LeCompte. "Madagascar's deforestation and resource theft is fueled by corruption."
In the last 6 decades nearly 45% of forests in Madagascar were lost to illicit logging and subsistence farming. In addition to corruption, Pope Francis expressed concern for climate vulnerabilities that each of the three African countries share.
“The Pope's visit to Africa spreads the message of his 2015 writings, the encyclical Laudato Si. Pope Francis in several speeches in Africa highlighted a concept from his encyclical, ecological debt or climate debt,” shared LeCompte who advises Vatican leaders on economic issues. “The rich world owes a debt to the poor world for taking their natural resources and driving climate change and poverty. Wealthy countries must return resources to poor countries so they can deal with more powerful natural disasters and extreme weather events spurred by climate change. ”
Jubilee USA Executive Director was cited by the National Catholic Reporter on Pope Francis's visit to Mauritius. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
Pope urges Mauritius, island tax haven, to reject 'idolatrous economic model'
Eric LeCompte, the leader of Jubilee USA, a network of religious and development groups that argue for international debt relief, cited figures showing that sixty percent of the people of Mauritius see corruption as on the rise in their country. He called the island nation "the premier tax haven in the region draining revenue from many poor countries in Africa."
Read more here.
Washington DC - The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, announced Tuesday that she will resign on September 12th. Lagarde was nominated to lead the European Central Bank earlier this month.
Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:
"Lagarde moved forward new focuses on gender and inequality at the International Monetary Fund.
"After the Greek crisis, we saw her lead shifts in thinking on the problems with austerity, although we didn't see enough changes in austerity policies at the IMF.
"Now that Lagarde is moving on, there are growing calls for the new head of the IMF to be selected based on the merits of the nominee as opposed to whether or not the person is born in Europe."
Jubilee USA Releases Statement on Japan Summit
Osaka, Japan - Leaders of the world's wealthiest economies gathered at the annual G20 Summit to discuss global policies on trade, climate, debt, tax and financial crisis prevention.
Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement on the G20 Japan Summit:
"Trade tensions, climate change concerns and preventing global financial crisis dominated much of the Osaka Summit.
"There is great concern at the G20 meetings about debt crises and future financial crisis.
"The G20 was founded to prevent financial crisis and there is willingness to move forward global policies on debt sustainability and transparency. The question is whether or not we can achieve policies that move beyond voluntary crisis prevention and implement binding policies that will prevent future crisis.
"Combating financial secrecy and raising revenue in countries remained a key focus of the Japan meetings.
"Fundamentally, we need trade policies that protect workers and the vulnerable. We need to see shifts in the status quo on trade policies.
"Climate is a critical issue, especially as the G20 focused this meeting on ensuring that economies can be more resilient in the face of natural disasters. Economies that can be resilient in the face of disaster need debt policies that offer relief until recovery goals are met."
European Finance Ministers endorse a new Greece debt agreement that provides financing in exchange for maintaining austerity policies and economic reforms.
“Parts of the Greece deal provide more breathing space for Greece in the short-term, but we are still concerned that there isn't enough debt relief to keep Greece out of trouble for the long-term," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who monitors and works on international debt agreements. "I'm also worried that the continued austerity policies hurt too many Greeks and will negatively impact economic growth."
While the International Monetary Fund's Christine LaGarde supports the deal, she raised concerns about the deal's ability to achieve sustainability for the Greek economy.
Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently highlighted in The Bond Buyer speaking on emergency relief funds, the bankruptcy process and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.
Puerto Rico Bond Holders May Have to Wait More Than Two Years
By Robert Slavin
Some observers, including Jubilee USA Network executive director Eric LeCompte and Council on Foreign Relation Senior Fellow Brad Setser, said the bankruptcy’s progress was reasonable considering the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
PROMESA “gave Puerto Rico some breathing space by allowing for a debt payment moratorium and preventing creditor litigation," LeCompte said. "PROMESA allowed Puerto Rico to default and made it disadvantageous for new predatory creditors to buy the debt. Finally, the legislation created a super bankruptcy process that is capable of restructuring all of Puerto Rico’s debt.”
LeCompte said PROMESA is the “first comprehensive debt restructuring process since the 1953 London Accord that restructured all of Germany’s debt.” He explained that by this he meant that it was the first time since the London Accord that both state-level and local government level debt was simultaneously restructured.
Read more here.
As Atlantic Region Braces For Another Damaging Hurricane Season, Concern Grows: Islands are unprepared as forecasters predict three hurricanes again
May 17, 2018
Efforts to reduce the country’s debt load in the wake of the hurricane appear to be moving backward, according to UN sovereign debt consultant and Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. He points out that the initial offer to pay 25 cents on the dollar to investors has now moved 40 cents as serious consideration is being given to so-called G.D.P.-linked bonds tied to the success or failure of the nation’s economic engine.
While efforts to prepare Puerto Rico, a US territory, require a response from the wealthiest nation on earth, smaller independent islands are especially exposed if a hurricane ravages the region again.
Moves are underway at the United Nations that could provide debt relief to independent islands such as Grenada, St Lucia, and Antigua if they are again stricken.
Recent public and private conversations have taken place at the United Nations Financing for Development Forum (FfDForum) in New York. The group is currently considering provisions for automatic debt relief and payment moratoriums when a disaster hits, as well as mandated debt restructuring. After the FfDForum focused on the measure, LeCompte says the G7, G20, International Monetary Fund or UN could call for its adoption and the creation of a legally binding process. Once approved at this level it could become legally binding, he said.
LeCompte expects the provisions to move forward in the next few months, just as the hurricane season could be approaching its historically most volatile period in the fall.
Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Devex speaking on the Financing for Development meetings at the United Nations last week in New York. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.
UN financing forum sees focus on debt relief for vulnerable Caribbean nations
So far, there is no specific debt relief action plan for the Caribbean region, but it’s something to watch for at upcoming global summits, including the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in the fall, said Eric LeCompte, the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Jubilee USA Network.
“We see a consensus emerging about the need for a debt relief process for Caribbean islands to protect them from hurricanes and other natural disasters,” LeCompte said. “What people are really talking about now, is how do we have a permanent process in place that looks to structure and relieve debt after a crisis occurs?”
“There is momentum with the hurricane season, trying to get anything in place,” LeCompte explained. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have never seen a moment where global decision makers are taking the situation as seriously as they are now. The seriousness is incredibly significant. If Jamaica gets hit by a Category Five, what does that do to the entire region?”
Read more here.