Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Haitians Won't Play "Baseball in the Time of Cholera" (UPDATED)

Irony and conflicts of interests abounds in the Institute for Justice and Democarcy's (IJDH) "complaint" on behalf of Haitian victims of the UN's cholera infestation.

Paul Farmer, a UN Special Envoy, sits on the IJDH's Board of Directors. Ezili Dantò 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 sufferers 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.

In the 10 years since the loans were approved, the Haitian water system has actually gotten worse. In 2002, a water-poverty index released by the British-based Centre for Ecology and Hydrology ranked Haiti dead last out of 147 countries surveyed."
Unfortunately, Paul Farmer sees his work in Haiti in somewhat more impersonal terms these days; so in the eighth year of the brutal military occupation of Haiti by MINUSTAH, Paul Farmer has abrogated his former just outrage at the U.S. role in the destruction of Haiti and settled into a submissive and effete role under his sponsor at the UN, Viceroy William Jefferson Clinton.

As for the IDB, obviously, since they were working in concert with the U.S. government to destabilize Haiti, they may never be held accountable for their inhumanity; not by "the international community" as it is currently represented. In 2012, the IDB is continuing their mission of "hope for Haiti"... that is, they remain firmly committed to enriching the U.S. and other foreign subcontractors at the expense of any Haitian sustainable development. Indeed, the IDB has dispense millions in support of the Clinton neoliberal model, better known as the "death plan" for Haiti... industrial parks and slave-wage sweatshops.

Speaking of sweatshops; the documentary "Baseball in the Time of Cholera" is a film about "Haiti's first little league baseball team" and gets promoted by the IJDH. Since baseball is not a pastime in Haiti, Yves Point Du Jour points out in the Al Jazeera segment above that Haitians "won't play baseball." There is a sordid background involving MLB's sweatshops in Haiti. In the 80s, when Haitians were rejoicing about the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, MLB and Rawlings decided that the best move was to take their business to Costa Rica where they paid workers 357.33% more than Haitians.
"Th[e] MLB in alliance with Rawlings Sporting Goods conspired to help destabilize Haiti after the overthrow of dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the late 1980’s and moved their baseball factories to Costa Rica, throwing thousands of Haitian women out of work, the professional sports organization should acknowledge their long, exploitative relationship with the devastated nation and make a much more significant donation to help rebuild the nation from which it made so much money." – Jean Damu
How disappointing for Haiti's first Little Leaguers to discover that MLB preferred dictatorship over democracy!

The American game that countries in the "developing world" like Haiti are more familiar with might well be called "hard ball." The U.S. has had a UN proxy occupation force in Haiti for the past eight years, who are allegedly there on a "peacekeeping" mission, but instead they have engaged in political repression, massacres, rapes, and other "crimes against humanity." MINUSTAH's actions in Haiti have promoted instability. Kidnappings and murders are on the rise – exposing the complicity of the UN in criminalization of the poor as a means of political repression. UN policies abet and support the corrupt puppet government of Michel Martelly and the Duvalierist empowered by his regime.
"Why is there a UN Chapter 7 peace enforcement mission in Haiti for 8 years – a country not at war, without a peace agreement to enforce and with less violence than most countries in the Western Hemisphere? (See the UN’s own Global Study on Homicide at page 93. )" – Ezili Dantò
The UN is responsible for the cholera outbreak in Haiti (they've admitted it in their own report). They are not immune from prosecution for their "crimes against humanity" in Haiti. The UN has grossly violated the terms of their mission. The UN will be held accountable for this deadly epidemic's accumulated toll on the population: 8,000+ dead and 620,000+ infected. The UN must guarantee environmental clean up in Haiti that eradicates cholera, provide just compensation to all the victims, build public water infrastructure, pick up plowshares (rather than pointing guns and WMD's at the population) and stop the occupation of Haiti.

Read Haitian Lawyer's Leadership Network's (HLLN) legal position about UN cholera lawsuit -- do a find for "HLLN legal position" at this page.

UPDATED 01/24/2013

The Uses of Paul Farmer: The Doctor and the Haitian Machine
Mediahacker | January 18, 2013 · by Ansel Herz
In October, both Clintons inaugurated a sprawling, scandal-ridden industrial park in Haiti’s north, where thousands of Haitians will sew garments for Wal-Mart and other US retail giants for meager wages.
Farmer, meanwhile, has been awfully quiet when it comes to public advocacy on Haiti’s behalf. His name last popped up in the news when the UN, in a slick PR move, appointed him a special advisor for a brand new $2.2 billion cholera initiative.
In fact, the initiative is anything but new. It’s been around for years, unfunded, and the UN itself has only contributed 1% of the overall funding goal.
The epidemic continues apace. Cholera killed 27 Haitians in the first week of January.
Farmer is still on the board of IJDH, which is suing the UN to accept responsibility for the outbreak and pay reparations to the victims. He’s made no public comment about the lawsuit. Neither has the UN, except to say it’s studying the claims.
“He’s been bought off by people who acknowledge that his critiques had merit and gave him a position, meaning Clinton and the UN,” one longtime Haiti aid worker told me. 
A Washington insider who works on Haiti policy called him “their useful idiot,” he said. “We see the same problems. Haiti needs a voice of reason to stand up to these powerful players. He could be that voice.” 
“It’s sad, really.”

Dady Chery said on Facebook | 01/23/2012 at 4:48pm: 
"Farmer was proposed as head of USAID in 2009, which is hardly a job for the saint that he pretends to be. Anyway, it is more profitable to be UN Deputy Special Envoy: Clinton's right hand in the UN. Farmer has been the major voice advocating for Haitian children to be administered cholera vaccines, presumably so that they would be able to drink filthy water without dying. Of course, the cholera vaccines are ineffectual, so the children will not be protected, unless they have the good luck to become immune on their own (which does happen with cholera). Apart from being useless, the vaccines are dangerous because they contain high levels of the mercury-based preservative thiomersal. Unsurprisingly, much of the job and funds for the vaccinations have gone to Farmer's NGO: Partners in Health (PIH). He recently became Special Counsel to the UN Secretary General on an initiative 10-15 year $2.27 billion initiative to eradicate cholera from Haiti. Mr. Farmer sees no conflict sitting on the board of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), an NGO that has gotten nowhere with a lawsuit against the UN on behalf of Haiti’s cholera victims.
The company that makes Haiti's cholera vaccine is Sanofi-Aventis: the 3rd biggest pharma in the world. Everybody gets their cut."

Haiti: Senate Rejects U.S. and Canadian Mining Contracts
DefendHaiti | Tuesday, 22 January 2013 20:15
On Tuesday [January 22, Haiti's] Senate Committee on Public Works and Communication held a hearing with the Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communication, Jacques Rousseau and the Director General of Mining and Energy, Ludner Remarais. Senators questioned the two officials about the mining licenses awarded this past December and following the hearing, the Senate met and rejected the accords, pending a review of the companies and the terms of agreement....

What Are 'Peacekeepers' Doing in a Haitian Industrial Park?
Upside Down World | by David L. Wilson   Monday, 14 January 2013 15:07
For decades Haitian leftists have argued that the U.S. government’s goal in Haiti is to provide a supply of cheap labor for the benefit of North American manufacturers and retailers. Maintaining a police force in the country’s industrial zones certainly would seem to fit into this program. And for all the insistence on MINUSTAH’s international composition, the United States clearly has a big role in the UN’s Haiti operations, with former U.S. president Bill Clinton serving as the UN’s special envoy to the country. 

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