Activist countries

Legislation to support debt relief for the Caribbean and other developing countries passes the US House

A bill to support debt relief for the Caribbean and other developing countries has passed the US House of Representatives.

Congresswoman and New York City legislator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York’s 14th congressional district, said the measure passed the House on Friday as part of the America COMPETES Act.

“The legislation reinforces the common framework of the G-20 (Group of 20), a multilateral debt relief initiative, to reflect the challenges countries have faced during the pandemic,” said Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes the eastern part of the Bronx, parts of north central Queens and Rikers Island in New York.

“Essentially, the legislation also imposes a moratorium on the payment of the debt of the countries which apply to be part of the Common Framework,” she added. “Developing countries whose early economies and political systems were crippled by colonialism and foreign intervention deserve a real opportunity to compete – to build independent and sustainable economies, free from impossible levels of debt.”

The congresswoman said the legislation will also have benefits at home and abroad.

“The race to the bottom for wages that has cost the United States so many manufacturing jobs is driven by the economic vulnerability of developing countries,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who gained national recognition when she won the Democratic Party primary elections for New York’s 14th congressional district on June 26, 2018.

“We cannot have a healthy, competitive global economy as long as the whims of a handful of nations dictate the financial stability of the rest of the world,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who along with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is the first woman members of the Democratic Socialists of America elected to serve in the United States Congress.

The World Bank has warned of a significant increase of 12% in the debt burden of developing countries, which will reach the record level of US$860 billion given the COVID-19 pandemic, called for swift efforts to reduce debt levels.

“COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to the world’s poorest countries, causing a recession that could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty,” the Washington-based financial institution said in a statement. last December. “That is why the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have urged G20 countries to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

The World Bank said the DSSI helps countries focus their resources on fighting the pandemic and saving the lives and livelihoods of millions of the most vulnerable people.

Since taking effect on May 1, 2020, the bank said the initiative has provided more than $10.3 billion in assistance to more than 40 eligible countries.

Among other things, Ocasio-Cortez advocates for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with rounding up and deporting Caribbean and other undocumented immigrants.