Friday, November 26, 2010

It Never Seems Like it is....

This is by Roger Annis of
Haiti Solidarity BC

Canada's national broadcaster, the CBC, is airing television and radio
reports daily this week from Haiti.

The cholera epidemic

In the last two days, the reports have focused on the catastrophic
consequences of the cholera epidemic. Television news reports on Tuesday and
Wednesday evenings by Paul Hunter showed graphic images of the epidemic and
its spread. Radio news reports by Connie Watson were similar.

On Tuesday evening, Hunter briefly interviewed the UN's chief humanitarian
representative, Nigel Fisher. He said there is not enough medical supplies
and personnel to deal with the crisis. Hunter reported, "Cholera is
exploding. All the conditions for a massive cholera epidemic are present in
Haiti. People are going to die here in the week and months ahead in the

The late evening radio news on CBC last night carried a report from BBC's
Mark Doyle. He, too, reported on the shortage of supplies and medical
personnel. He quoted a spokesperson for MSF (Doctors Without Borders), "It
is spreading everywhere, and the truth is that we do not know where it will

It must be said, none of the CBC reports have probed WHY the cholera
outbreak is proving as deadly as it is. There is an air of fatalism to their
reports. But of course, fate has nothing to do with it. The conditions for
the wildfire spread of cholera have been laid by years and decades of policy
by the wealthy countries of the world. The policies of neglect and
interference that preceded the earthquake, enforced by a foreign military
and police occupation force, have been extended and deepened since. They
have made Haiti what it is today.

The flawed election

Last night, Connie Watson delivered CBC's radio news' first substantive
report on the November 28 election. The report touched on two of the reasons
that make the election so flawed--the presence on the voter roll of the
names of those who perished in the earthquake, and the difficulty of voter
registration. She gave the example of one woman who was unable to register,
despite several visits to a registration office. Ms. Watson did not report
how typical is the example of this one woman. But most notably, she
continued the de facto embargo by CBC news against reporting the exclusion
of political parties from the election, notably the Fanmi Lavalas. CBC is
aware of the exclusion; it has chosen, so far, to not report it.

The Globe and Mail national daily is also silent on the exclusion.
Yesterday, it penned an important editorial calling for an investigation
into the source of the cholera outbreak. But it also argued in support of
the election, saying that Haiti needs a "strong leader" and the election
will, hopefully, provide this.

Today, the experienced and influential CBC journalist and news program host
Brian Stewart publishes a commentary on the CBC news website on the
situation in Haiti. His views are permeated with prejudice as well
as fatalism for the future of the country. He bemoans the state of
earthquake relief and recovery and concludes that the only answer is an
outright takeover of the country by the same foreign powers that have run
Haiti into the ground. He writes, "Experts I respect have urged the need for
some form of international mandate to protect Haiti, basically from its own
corrupt leadership and lack of governance, until some workable security and
legal system can be established."

But Canada and the other world powers have been funding and training Haiti's
"security and legal system" ever since they overthrew elected government
there in 2004. The "coup" (to use the term in the aforementioned Globe and
Mail editorial) of that year was preceded by a murderous, four-year aid
embargo against the government elected in 2000. No doubt, Mr. Stewart's
"experts" overlooked this small detail when offering to him their
prescriptions for Haiti's future. But how to explain that an experienced
journalist could be either blissfully unaware or uncaring of such facts?

Read his full commentary here, .

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