Haiti – IJDH’s law suit against the UN’s cholera infestation is full of irony and conflict
From the Haitian Blogger an excellent article on the Institute for Justice and Democracy [IJDH] ‘complaint’ on behalf of Haitian victims of the UN’s cholera infestation…
The victims’ petition explains that the UN and MINUSTAH are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars for: 1) failing to adequately screen and treat UN troops arriving from countries experiencing cholera epidemics; 2) dumping untreated wastes from a UN base directly into a tributary of the Artibonite River; and 3) failing to adequately respond to the epidemic.
But as the Haitian blogger explains, the IJDH’s law suit is full of ’irony and conflict’ and hypocrisy on the ‘irony and conflicts’ and hypocrisy such as IJDH board member, US Special Envoy, Paul Farmer. I met Farmer in November 2010 and put the question of UN’s responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti. His response was evasive and this at a time when “Almost everyone accepted that the UN brought cholera to Haiti’ [Peter Hallward, Guardian].
Paul Farmer, a UN Special Envoy, sits on the IJDH’s Board of Directors. Ezili DantÃ² has written extensive criticism of Farmer’s stances on behalf of the UN, particularly in pushing a cholera “vaccine,” rather than supporting the building of sustainable, clean water infrastructure. By the way, a prominent cholera expert has given the thumbs down to the cholera vaccine.
Notably, on an interview to promote a new book, Paul Farmer backed-down from his initial honest assessment that the source of the cholera epidemic in Haiti was the UN.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, you were one of the first people–you were quoted by AP–saying that the cholera after the earthquake was brought in by the Nepali–the Nepalese peacekeeping force, the U.N. force. How did that happen?
DR. PAUL FARMER: How did it happen that I was rash enough to say that?
AMY GOODMAN: No, how did it happen that they did it?
Paul Farmer’s realization that he had gone against his employer’s adamant denials of responsibility aside, a cholera expert, John Mekalanos, was also of the same opinion: that it is important to trace the source of the cholera outbreak because the cholera brought to Haiti from Nepal is a “novel, virulent strain previously unknown in the Western Hemisphere and health officials need to know how it spreads.”
Speaking of prevarications and hypocrisy, Paul Farmer also made the following nauseating statements when he was asked about his reaction to Bill Clinton’s apology for destroying Haiti’s ability to feed its people…
“I felt a sense of great relief just at hearing him say that.” And …”Anyway, just one other thing I want to say while we’re on the topic. In Rwanda, I once asked a friend of mine, “How come you guys like President Clinton so much?” After all, he was president in 1994, which is the lowest hour of their existence, for sure. And this friend of mine said, “Well, because he said he was sorry.” And that was instructive to me.
MY GOODMAN: The genocide took place–
DR. PAUL FARMER: That’s right. This was–
AMY GOODMAN: –and they wouldn’t invoke the word “genocide.”
DR. PAUL FARMER: Yeah, yeah.”
A classic model for responding to inquiries about any of Bill Clinton’s tardy confessions. This strategy has legs! It works well as a reaction to Clinton’s admitting for instance, that the UN did bring the cholera epidemic to Haiti.
Uhmmm… this is an angle that victims of genocide, the 3rd world’s struggling farmers, cholera suffers and other victims of the U.S.’ evil foreign policy haven’t given enough thought to: the “great relief” that awaits the morally repugnant oligarchs who eventually “repent their sins.”
Paul Farmer wasn’t always an “Envoy for Empire.” His NGO Partner’s in Health did good work to improve the health of rural communities in Haiti. They even collaborated with the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights on a 2008 report exposing the role of the U.S. in violating human rights in Haiti. At the request of the U..S., the International Development Bank (IDB) withheld loans they’d already approved for Haiti. The loans were specifically targeted by Haiti’s government for building water infrastructure. This loan embargo, along with other inhumane actions by the U.S., served to not only destabilize Haiti’s first democracy, but also accounted for the vulnerability of Haiti to the virulent cholera strain that was UNleashed in October 2010.
“A new report from Partners In Health and three other groups reveals the United States government’s clandestine efforts to ensure that political considerations (namely the desire to destabilize Haiti’s elected government at that time, led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide) took precedence over the rights of some of the planet’s poorest and most vulnerable people…..Continue reading