Forgiven and accountable

While millions of dollars in aid pour into Nicaragua and Honduras in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch, millions of dollars are also pouring out--to service debts to foreign creditors. Nicaragua, for example, pays $300 million a year on a debt of $6 billion. According to Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa, the Nicaraguan ambassador to the U.S., the debt service was slated to absorb over 40 percent of his country's annual export earnings in 1998 and 1999. The situation in Honduras is almost as bad. Given that these countries' economies have been dealt a severe blow and that their exports are likely to be meager for years to come, their indebtedness threatens to squash hopes of economic recovery and political stability. They need to have their debts canceled or--as France and the U.S. have already decided--suspended.


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