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Inside Capital


News From the Streets and Suites of Washington and the World

During the week of April 10 through April 14, 2000, National Radio Project and Free Speech Radio News broadcast daily, half-hour programs focusing on the Spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank held in Washington, D.C. This collaborative project, “Inside Capital: News from the Streets and Suites of Washington and the World,” featured reports on IMF/World Bank proceedings and counter-events and demonstrations.

Inside Capital includes stories from foreign correspondents on impacts of IMF/World Bank policies on working people and families in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During the IMF/World Bank meetings, environment, labor, and human rights organizations are weighed in heavily, widely seen as continued momentum from the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization.

National Radio Project heightens public consciousness, broadens public debate on critical social issues, and encourages civic participation by giving voice to diverse perspectives and opinions not often heard in the mass media. National Radio Project produces a half-hour weekly public affairs series, Making Contact, as well as special programs like “Unconventional Coverage,” “World Trade Watch,” and “Inside Capital.”

Free Speech Radio News is a project of Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship. At the time Inside Capital aired, over 40 freelance journalists from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas had been on strike for over a month to protest censorship of legitimate news stories at Pacifica Network News. The striking reporters made up 70 percent of Pacifica’s active contributors. For more information, go to www.savepacifica.net.

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Inside Capital – Day One

Download Broadcast Quality mp3 of Day One: April 10, 2000

JUBILEE 2000 PROTEST TO CANCEL THE DEBT IN D.C.
15,000 protesters took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to call for the cancellation of Third World debt.

WHY CANCEL THE DEBT?
Correspondent Danielle Knight takes an in-depth look into how IMF loans and structural adjustment programs are affecting developing nations. She talks to activists from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Zimbabwe.

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD BANK AND IMF
Host Phillip Babich talks to Catherine Caulfield, author of “Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and the Poverty of Nations,” about the history of the IMF and World Bank.

WORLD BANK BOND BOYCOTT
Eighty percent of the World Bank’s funding comes from the sale of bonds. A new campaign has been launched, led by organizers from 11 countries in the global south, to cut off this supply of money to the Bank. Laura Livoti takes a closer look. ~~~

Inside Capital – Day Two

Download Broadcast Quality mp3 of Day Two: April 11, 2000

YOUTH ORGANIZING IN WASHINGTON
Meticulous preparations are underway as world bank and IMF protesters prepare to take their messages to the streets of Washington D.C. this weekend. Correspondent Robin Urevich reports on what some are saying is a growing movement of younger activists.

G5 WORKERS
Inside the homes of some of Washington’s most prestigious international civil servants — including officials with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank — are domestic workers brought in from abroad who report that they are being held as virtual prisoners within the confines of the homes they clean. Correspondent Danielle Knight reports on the plight of foreign workers brought into the United States under a special visa category known as G-5.

MEXICO AND THE IMF
In a letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund last year, Mexico’s Secretary of Finance Jose Angel Gurria said Mexico was in the final phases of structural adjustment begun in the late 1980s. As part of its IMF-prescribed structural adjustment program, Mexico has privatized many public sectors. Correspondent Leigh Robartes reports from Oaxaca, Mexico, on the impacts of privatization on the country’s economy and people.

ECUADOR AND THE IMF
One of the most recent recipients of an IMF loan is Ecuador. In March, the IMF approved a 3-year $2 billion dollar loan package in the wake of a popular uprising in that country. On January 21, 2000, an indigenous-military coalition toppled the government of President Jamil Mahuad. After less than a day, however, the new government bowed to pressure from the United States and handed power over to former vice president Gustavo Noboa. And, now Noboa is moving forward with plans to “dollarize” its economy, a condition of Ecuador’s IMF loan. Inside Capital’s Nate Binzen reports on reactions from coup leaders.

HEALTH CARE IN INDIA AND THE WORLD BANK
Vineeta Gupta, general secretary of Insaf International based in Punjab, India, speaks with Inside Capital’s Laura Livoti about her work and the track record of the World Bank’s poverty alleviation programs in India. Gupta is a medical doctor who noticed that poor patients had less access to health services after the clinic in which she worked came under a World Bank program that purported to improve services. ~~~

Inside Capital – Day Three

Download Broadcast Quality mp3 of Day Three: April 12, 2000

DAMS, PEOPLE, AND THE WORLD BANK
One of the original and primary types of projects the World Bank provides loans for are dams. Since its inception in 1945, the World Bank has provided billions of dollars in loans to countries to build dams for power production, irrigation, and water management. But some of these projects have been enormous failures and have had grave consequences for communities located near dam projects. Monica Lopez reports on calls from affected communities for reparations.

AN INSIDER LOOK AT THE IMF
From the vantage point of a negotiator for loan-seeking countries with the IMF, Harvard Economist Jeffrey Sachs speaks with host Phillip Babich about the IMF’s role in affecting the economic conditions in developing countries around the world. He also discusses the IMF’s handling of currency crises in Mexico, Brazil, and Asia in the 1990s.

RUSSIA AND THE IMF
In 1991 when the Soviet Union abruptly dissolved, Western countries moved in with a latter day Marshall Plan, a financial package to facilitate so-called free market reforms. In the last nine years billions of dollars have flooded into the former Soviet Union — Russia in particular. A large percentage of this money has come from the International Monetary Fund. But whether the loans have helped or hindered the new nation is debatable. Phil Ittner reports from Moscow.

BOLIVIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS As the IMF and World Bank begin their annual meetings in Washington, there is a government-declared state-of-siege in Bolivia. Protest leaders can be detained without a warrant, and travel and political activity are restricted. Today, Bolivian trade unions called for a general strike to protest. At the center of the conflict are privatization and structural adjustment programs. Robin Urevich speaks with human rights activist about recent events in the Andean nation. ~~~

Inside Capital – Day Four

Download Broadcast Quality mp3 of Day Four: April 13, 2000

ANTI-IMF PROTESTS IN PARIS
Protestors turned out in the French capital to demonstrate against an elite advisory group to the IMF known as the Paris Club. Demonstrators were calling on the club to cancel the debt of poor countries which make up its clients. Tony Cross reports from Paris.

BAN ON PROTEST AT D.C. AREA SCHOOLS
Washington, D.C., area high school and college administrators cracked down on free speech and freedom of assembly on campus. Alison Hawkes reports that administrators in Maryland, following instruction from the police, urged students not to educate themselves about the IMF and World Bank or participate in protests.

CALL TO HALT WORLD BANK FUNDING OF OIL, GAS AND MINING PROJECTS
As a part of the demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, more than 200 environmental, human rights and faith-based groups from 55 countries released a policy platform calling on the World Bank to halt all funding of oil, gas, and mining projects. Danielle Knight reports on the impacts of these projects and why a broad-based international coalition supports a funding ban.

THE WEST AFRICA GAS PIPELINE
The World Bank, with backing from the Nigerian government, gives the go-ahead to U.S. based Chevron and a consortium of other oil companies to build a pipeline in the Niger Delta. Evironmentalists and local people fear there will be adverse environmental effects resulting from the West Africa Gas pipeline project. Sam Olukoya reports from the Niger Delta.

WORLD BANK FUNDING OF CORPORATIONS
Two branches of the World Bank have recently come under scrutiny for using public funds to help private corporations in their foreign business ventures. Laura Livoti interviews Andrea Durbin, director of the International Program at Friends of the Earth. Durbin has closely monitored the activities of the two branches: the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Association. ~~~

Inside Capital – Day Five

Download Broadcast Quality mp3 of Day Five: April 14, 2000

POLICE HARASSMENT IN WASHINGTON
Activists and organizers of the IMF/World Bank protests report police harassment ans surveillence activities by federal and local law enforcement agencies. Alison Hawkes reports.

ORGANIZED LABOR AND THE CHINA DEBATE
Thousands of union members are among the flood of demonstrators in Washington, DC, this week. Many joined a massive rally of community and faith-based groups for debt relief for poor countries, and more union activists are expected this weekend when AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and other labor leaders speak at demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank. But, over this week a key objective of union leaders has been to mobilize opposition to Congress granting permanent normal trade relations with China. Robin Urevich reports from Washington.

FORESTS AND THE WORLD BANK
Environmental activists have long warned that corporate-led globalization has been devastating to ecosystems worldwide. In late January the World Bank itself released a report that points to trade liberalization, globalization, and corruption as the major drivers of deforestation in many countries. The report criticized the Bank’s own project lending. Despite a forest protection policy adopted by the institution 10 years ago, the Bank admits that it continues to support projects that harm the world’s forests. Danielle Knight reports from Washington.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE AND THE IMF
Each day over $1.5 trillion dollars are traded in currency exchanges — as compared with $5 trillion dollars in all global trade in goods and products annually. The amount of currency trade is so large that it can swamp a national economy if speculators lose confidence and sell off a particular currency. The International Monetary Fund is supposed to maintain stable currency exchange rates, a role that in recent years has taken on greater significance with the advent of computerized, 24-hour-a-day trading in currencies. Like any commodity, when the supply of a particular currency increases and demand decreases the value of the currency falls — with drastic social implications, as was the case in Brazil, Mexico, and several Asian countries during the 1990s. Now, an international coalition is trying to limit currency volatility by introducing a one-quarter percent tax on currency transactions known as the Tobin Tax. Laura Livoti reports.

D.C. DEMONSTRATIONS AND WHAT’S NEXT?
Preparations are underway for this weekend’s demonstrations in Washington, DC, which are expected to draw thousands of IMF/World Bank protesters. Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department has suspended days off and has issued advisories to businesses and school campuses warning of possible civil disturbances. But, organizers of the demonstrations say that, while they can’t control everyone, the marches, rallies, and civil disobedience actions will be non-violent. The question of violence has preoccupied much of the media coverage on the IMF/World Bank protests. But, one question that isn’t being explored is: Are we witnessing a growing social movement? Joining us to discuss this and other issues is Soren Ambrose, policy analyst at the 50 Years is Enough Network.

Author: Sabine Blaizin

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