Cancel the Debt Now!


This documentary enlivens and explicates the sometimes difficult subject of today’s international debt crisis. It shows how mounting debt threatens the stability of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By highlighting the global Jubilee movement, this visually powerful resource invites audiences to become informed and involved. Duration : 22 min. Release Date : 1999



Narrated by Julie Harris and co-produced with John Miglietta.

This documentary about the unjust and unpayable debt of the world’s poorest countries was produced for the Jubilee Campaign to educate people about the injustice of third-world debt. It explains the origin of the debts that are crushing impoverished countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia; and invites us to work with partners around the globe to help lift that debt burden.

More than 7,000 copies of this video have been distributed throughout the world.

From a review by Margaret Doyle in Yes! Magazine:
Cancel the Debt Now! shows how the desperate living conditions and environmental degradation of poor countries are magnified by the debts they owe to the rich, industrial nations. It explains the origins of the debt and delivers an emphatic message calling for its cancellation.

While watching the film, two stark facts jump out and rattle the viewers’ comfortable cage: First, the poorest of the poor are repaying money they never received. Loans made in the ’70s and ’80s to Third World Countries were often spent to arm the military against their own people, exploit natural resources to the benefit of multinational corporations, and secure the power and wealth of corrupt regimes.

And second, the enormity of the debt service–paying the principal plus exorbitant interest rates–amounts to slavery, virtually eliminating meaningful self-determination.

As countries descend further into absolute poverty, where shelter, clean water, true nourishment, and decent healthcare are unknown, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have offered Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) to “help” these countries repay their loans. The SAPs restructure the original loans conditioned upon terms of economic austerity and privatization of industries. This cure has turned out to be worse than the disease, as governments slash healthcare and education and strip the land and waters of their countries to meet the conditions for loan restructure.

Cancel the Debt Now! shows that citizens can pressure financial and elective institutions to address debt relief.



How to use this film:

Cancel the Debt Now! is part of our Connecting the Dots series, which shows how policies carried out by the industrialized world create poverty and suffering in the developing world. These documentaries are thought-provoking resources on the global dimensions of social and environmental justice. Click here to read a review of this series by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Ph.D.

Specific suggestions for showing our films in your community can be found under Using Our Films. For additional information on poverty and debt cancellation, we suggest the following websites:

Africa Action

DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa)

Debt Links

Global Exchange

Global Issues

Global Policy Forum

Jubilee USA Network

The One Campaign



Additional information

Price Levels

Consumer/Home Video, Public Library/Secondary School, Synagogue/Church/Mosque, University/College/College Library, Public Performance/Screening License


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