Article from the Jan 2005 issue of the Socialist , newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Cancel the debt
Money for reconstruction not war
- Indonesia $132.2bn
- India $104.4bn
- Thailand $59.2bn
- Malaysia $48.6bn
- Sri Lanka $9.6bn
Total aid pledged so far = $8bn
The Economic Tsunami
50,000 poor people die every DAY from preventable diseases, 20,000 of them in Africa. Africa experiences a Tsunami scale economic disaster every week!
Spending on Iraq War:
- US - $148 billion (420 x Tsunami aid pledge)
- Britain - $112 billion (120 x Tsunami aid pledge)
False Aid Promises:
Bam earthquake in Irn 2003
- Money pledged £17.1 million
- Money delivered £9.5 million
Floods in Mozambique 2000
- Money pledged £214 million
- Money delivered £107 million
Hurricane Mitch in Central America (1998)
- Money pledged £4.8 billion
- Money delivered £1.6 billion
by Chris Loughlin
Belfast Socialist Youth
SOCIALIST YOUTH have responded to the tsunami disaster by taking to the streets demanding the immediate cancellation of the debts of the countries affected.
This is in contrast to Gordon Brown's paltry gesture of freezing debt repayments for a year.
His proposal would only mean that the major capitalist powers and the big moneylenders would delay extracting their pound of flesh. When the debt of Central American countries was frozen after Hurricane Mitch, it actually meant some of these countries ended up with bigger repayments at a later stage.
It is also most likely that the pledges of aid made by governments in the West will not be honoured. As recent disasters have shown, there is a big difference between money pledged and money that is delivered.
Overall the response of the capitalist leaders internationally to the tsunami disaster has been typically penny pinching.
George W. Bush initially pledged a sum of only $15 million to relief and aid efforts. Contrast this pathetic figure to the $50 million he intends to spend on his inauguration.
Bush and Blair have spent an obscene amount of money on the war and occupation of Iraq. According the British medical journal The Lancet that has resulted in the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis. Yet these war criminals have pledged less for the tsunami disaster than they spend in one day of their occupation of Iraq.
The tsunami disaster has graphically shown the need for system change internationally. It is a fact that there was no need for over 150,000 people to die. The cost of an early warning system for the Indian Ocean that could have saved tens of thousands of lives is only $2million a year!
Yet governments in the region like that of Indonesia have spent hundreds of millions on wars against national minorities in their own country in places like Aceh and East Timor. The massive waste of $4 billion a week that is spent on the occupation of Iraq would transform the lives of the millions affected by the tsunami disaster.
The completely inadequate response to the aftermath of the disaster and the potential for a further huge loss of life due to disease shows that under capitalism the profits and wealth of the rich elite will always come before the lives of the poor.
There are a lot of articles by the CWI on the disaster available here