The Islamic Post Blog

Executive Order Lifts Economic Support Fund Ban by ipinfo2
March 24, 2009, 10:49 am
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, March Volume 2009 | Tags:

By Subhana A.  Rahim
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP)- After only one week in office, President  Barack Obama announced his intention to waive the ban on 17 countries that have been denied access to the US Economic Support Fund (ESF).  These countries, that are set to receive respite from the Obama administration, have been previously restricted due to their entrance into the International Criminal Court. This decision by President Obama is yet another one of his initial acts in office that clearly sets his policies apart from the Bush administration’s.
The $3 billion fund provides economic assistance to US allies and to countries that are in transition to a democratic system of government. The ESF is designed to support US policy objectives by  providing assistance to developing countries. The goal of the plan is that member countries that accept this aid will eventually become increasingly self sufficient and begin to develop an economic system that is more capitalist in nature as it supports free enterprise. The ESF also provides assistance to foreign nations in the areas of child healthcare, international disaster and famine assistance and by improving failing foreign infrastructures to name just a few.  Some of the countries that have been banned in the past include Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These countries, as well as 7 others are now poised to enjoy the benefits that are associated with the fund. While some of these benefits have greatly improved the economic and social development of their recipients, it has been argued that the fund was previously used to manipulate poor and/or underdeveloped countries.
In the past, the United States had not played a supportive role towards the efficacy of the International Criminal Court by refusing to enroll and adhere to the Court’s policies. This refusal stems from the ICC’s doctrine that states that US citizens, as well as citizens from other countries, should not be exempt from international enforcement and international court proceedings. America’s refusal to have her citizens detained and prosecuted in certain foreign countries has caused a dividing line to occur at the ICC as some countries are willing to waive the restrictions against US citizens in return for US aid. In this vein, some countries have signed separate immunity agreements with Washington in order to circumvent ICC’s unwavering policy.  As a result, it is more difficult, if not impossible, for these countries to enforce laws against US citizens that prohibit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In addition to the conflict with the ICC, the US has also withheld support for UN peacekeeping efforts in various regions as well.
The countries for which the ban has been waived are: Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa, Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenadines, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jordan, Mali, Liberia, Berun, Niger, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


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