Cholera Africa to America
By Carolyn Bennett
U.S. citizens are not the only “Americans.” Haitians, too, are Americans ─ citizens of the Americas. Other countries in the Western Hemisphere should be ashamed of what they have done to these Americans. An independent international community ─ if there is such a thing outside our dreams ─ should put a stop to the oppression, exploitation and forced impoverishment that leaves Haitians at the mercy of things, dependent on sectarian and nonsectarian hand-out vultures and corruptors.
For more than a hundred years, thousands of Haitians have died at the hands of killers partnered with brute force of U.S. – allied dynasties and dictators, U.S.-led and agented occupation and destabilization. Political and economic conditions including foreign meddling, militarization and infiltration anchor, permeate and intensify the force of natural disasters. These same foreigners then publish press releases and take to the airwaves feigning “sympathy” and foolish “prayers.”
Haiti is a country forced into poverty where deforested land (land without trees) is hit by cyclones and hurricanes, now this earthquake, then raging mudslides, rising floods ─ not unlike the neglected U.S. Gulf (weakened levees in Katrina’s wake) ─ taking out everything in the path. Inadequately built structures further weakened and destroyed, people, thousands of people, dying. Builders of cathedrals lick their fingers and thumb their prayer pages, preach and pray their vacuous words, instead of helping to build solidly and support honestly, nonviolently a functioning and self-sufficient nation of capable, strong, independent people.
I wrote and posted that bit of editorializing Wednesday, January 13, 2010, under the title FOREIGN-MADE, COMPOUNDED DISASTER — Haiti — Instead of vacuous mourning, fix fundamental wrongs against Haiti.
Yesterday Free Speech Radio News reported persistent, curable disease in Haiti.
Since the fall (October) of 2010 when the disease broke out, 6,000 (est.) Haitians have died from cholera.
Haitians continue to die from cholera — at an estimated rate of 10 people every single day. Excluded in these official figures are the people of Haiti who die in remote areas and whose deaths go unreported.
Entrenched, incestuous, abusive power and its impact
In July, at the year-and-a-half mark since the Haiti earthquake that ravaged the country and killed 316,000 of its people and left at least a million homeless, the Democracy Now program reported the United States of America and other “international donors” had failed to deliver on pledges but were “exerting excessive control over the reconstruction process.” Mainly in the mix was opportunist, husband of the U.S. Secretary of State, former U.S. President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton — double dipping as UN special envoy to Haiti and co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and as hawker of his Clinton Foundation funding of faulty projects in Haiti.
Democracy Now reported July 12 on a new Nation magazine report that Clinton Foundation-funded shelters in Haiti were unsafe because Haiti is hurricane prone and the trailers funded were riddled with problems (documented previously in New Orleans): mold and shoddy construction. Some had “worrying levels of formaldehyde.”
These Clinton-funded trailers had been built, the report said, “by the same company, Clayton Homes, which was, at that moment, being sued for providing formaldehyde-laced trailers for residents displaced after Hurricane Katrina” [New Orleans].
The co-author of the Nation report said on Democracy Now, “‘we’ve been requesting documentation of any bidding process from the Clinton Foundation, and we have not gotten documentation. We know [the trailers] were built by Clayton Homes, which is currently being sued in the United States for exposing [Gulf Coast] Hurricane Katrina survivors to injurious levels of formaldehyde.”
The plaintiffs in this FEMA-formaldehyde lawsuit claim their exposure was a direct result of residing in trailers Clayton Homes had sold to FEMA [U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency under President George W. Bush’s buddy, Michael Brown].
“‘The Clinton Foundation,’” Isabel Macdonald said, “‘has not answered our questions about any due diligence that was done.
“‘We know that trailers are considered a liability in the United States in the case of a hurricane. FEMA tells Americans to evacuate trailers.
“‘The real question is, how did Bill Clinton think this would be acceptable in Haiti — to provide these trailers as hurricane shelters, to buy them from a company facing this kind of lawsuit over formaldehyde?
“‘What does it say about the reconstruction efforts in Haiti, if the very first project approved by the commission that’s supposed to ensure accountability and transparency in Haiti’s rebuilding passes this kind of project?
“‘Bill Clinton himself has his hands all over it, and he is the co-chair of this commission that is supposed to ensure that Haiti is “built back better.”’”
After the report was published, the Clinton Foundation, also reported on Democracy Now, said they “will send in a team of experts to address the article’s findings.”
What I wrote last year is still true. Other countries and powerful officials and entities such as the Clintons and non-profiteers of various sorts in the Western Hemisphere should be ashamed of and made to account for what they have done and are doing to peoples of the Americas and similarly to peoples of Africa.
It doesn't have to be this way. We can do better.
Sources and notes
Source: Free Speech Radio News, August 15, 2011, http://fsrn.org/audio/headlines-monday-august-15-2011/8967
“Clinton Foundation Accused of Sending Haiti Shoddy Trailers Found Toxic After Katrina,” July 12, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/12/clinton_foundation_accused_of_send...
“Clinton Foundation to Review Haiti Trailers Following Exposé, July 15, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/15/headlines#9
Freelance journalist and former communications director of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Isabel Macdonald was co-author of the Nation piece “The Shelters that Clinton Built.”
United Nations has warned of serious cholera outbreaks in various regions of famine-stricken Somalia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says this year there have been reported some 4,272 cases of acute watery diarrhea among people in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
More than 180 people have already fallen victim to the disease in Mogadishu and surrounding areas and that half of the victims are children under the age of two.
The UN has warned that the deadly illness could quickly spread to the south as many possible carriers flee the famine that has hit some 12.5 million people in the Horn of Africa.
Iran has sent a second humanitarian aid convoy to drought-stricken Somalia. Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the country also plans to donate $25 million dollars to help with relief efforts.
More than 29,000 children under the age of five have died of hunger over the past three months in southern Somalia.
An estimated 3.7 million people in Somalia — around a third of the population — are on the brink of starvation.
Millions of people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have been affected by the worst drought in the region in 60 years.
“‘Cholera epidemic spreading in Somalia,’” August 12, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/section/351020501.html
Also: “36 children starve to death in Somalia,” August 9, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/193160.html
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