Segments in this Video

Poor Countries Indebted to Rich Countries (00:47)


Alvin Anthony of the Jubilee Campaign in South Africa informs us rich countries will cancel Iraq's debt for investment purposes. He urges them to cancel debts in Africa, Latin America and Asia as well—for humanitarian reasons.

Argentina's Dictatorship Legacy (05:12)

Foreign debt is keeping nearly 50% of Argentina's population below the U.N. poverty line. The dictatorship tortured and killed "desaparecidos." International banks loaned money to dictators, contributing to genocide as well as increasing national debt.

Living Below the Poverty Line (01:02)

We meet Monica, a woman who survives by collecting garbage. The people in her neighborhood exist outside Argentina's social and political system.

Protesting the National Debt (02:57)

Argentina spends more paying on debts to the World Bank and IMF than it spends on education and social welfare programs. The Argentine federal court has declared these debts illegitimate and illegal; transnational banks feel no moral responsibility for doing business with dictators.

South Africa's Apartheid Debt (02:24)

People have to pay for electricity, water and education—services they should be getting free—because the money is being used to repay the debt incurred during apartheid. The ANC promised to provide a better life for all, yet unemployment is 40% unemployment and many are dying of poverty.

Corporate Accountability (01:39)

The Jubilee Campaign, an international organization fighting dictatorship debts, believes that corporations should not be allowed to support authoritarian regimes.

African Nations Debts (02:09)

Many countries in Africa are in debt to foreign creditors, spending three to five times the amount they spend on domestic programs to repay them. We hear a poem about the subsequent suffering of its citizens.

South African Debt and AIDS (03:02)

All communities are affected by HIV. Many young people try to become infected with the virus in order to receive a small welfare allotment.

Ethics of the Apartheid Debt (02:28)

Foreign banks granted South Africa loans during the apartheid regime. The current government has chosen to repay this debt in order not to scare away foreign investment. The Jubilee Campaign and other human rights groups consider the debt immoral.

Privatization of Public Resources (02:24)

South Africa's government is in the process of privatizing public services such as water and electricity, which increases their cost. Nearly 50% of South Africa's population is unemployed and lives in extreme poverty, rendering payment for these services impossible.

Apartheid Victims Hold International Companies Accountable (04:06)

We meet a woman whose husband was killed during apartheid. She has joined the Khulumani Group, which is suing international companies for loaning money to the South African government during apartheid and supporting the violation of human rights.

The Philippines' Foreign Debt (03:00)

We meet a group of children in a garbage dump selling plastics; they cannot afford school. Manila slums lack basic services such as roads, water and electricity. Nearly one third of the national budget goes to repaying foreign debt, cutting into social services including public hospitals.

Unethical Bankers and a Dictatorship (03:10)

The financial industry manage risk rather than morality. During 20 years of dictatorship thousands of activists were arrested, tortured and many were killed. We hear firsthand accounts from some of the victims.

Corruption During the Marcos Regime (02:31)

The Philippines' foreign debt of 56 billion USD arose from corrupt practices under the Marcos regime. 10-15 billion USD were stolen from the national treasury. Well aware of this, International banks loaned money to the dictatorship anyway.

Nuclear Power Plant as Corruption Evidence (01:11)

The Marcos regime decided to build a nuclear power plant costing 2.5 billion USD. Marcos himself accepted a 1.2 million dollar gift from the construction company. Located near a volcano, it was too dangerous to put into operation and the Philippine government is still repaying the loans.

In Hope of Cancelling Dictatorship Debt (02:14)

The current Philippine government has allotted one third of their budget for repaying interest on foreign debt. One congress member proposes seeking ways to cancel the Marcos era debt. .

A Plea to Cancel Unethical Loans (02:37)

Seventy percent of the population of the Philippines lives below the poverty line, largely due to foreign debt accrued under the Marcos dictatorship. Human rights activists urge companies to forgive the loans.

Credits: The Debt of Dictators (00:40)

Credits: The Debt of Dictators

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The Debt of Dictators

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This powerful documentary exposes the practice of multinational banks lending billions of dollars to brutal dictators throughout the world. Viewers are transported to Argentina, South Africa, and the Philippines for a firsthand look at how the incurred debt impacts daily life as essential social services are cut, resulting in restricted access to food, water, electricity, schooling, and health care. Human rights activists, including representatives of the Jubilee Campaign, provide commentary on and argument in favor of forgiving these debts. (45 minutes)

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL49774

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“This stirring film shows the effects of forcing poor populations to foot the bill for their own oppression.” —Thomas Pogge, Columbia University, author of World Poverty and Human Rights

Performance Rights

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Only available in USA and Canada.