Friday, October 22, 2010

Haiti has New Hotels - and Cholera

I’m glad former President Bill Clinton is going all-out to boost Democratic participation in the mid-term election, but a few weeks ago in a short interview about the reconstruction in Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake, he was pleased to announce that the rubble had finally been cleared from the streets of Port au Prince and that “I have several hotels”.

Clinton was obviously referring to his personal efforts to encourage donors to rebuild the Haitian capital, not to private possessions. The interview was cut short after those brief words, probably by a technician or jour-nalist who foresaw that more on the subject would be damaging to Clinton’s image.

What alert listener could avoid the obvious question: “Why are hotels more important than hospitals?”

Our media never mentions the 400 Cuban doctors who have worked in Haiti for years, and we don’t know how long the relief doctors remained on the island or what the overall health situation is ten months after the quake. What we do know now is that - according to a Fox News report that came up when I Googled the subject - 140 people have died and 1500 are seriously ill, in an area outside of Port au Prince. The worry is that the epidemic could spread to the thousands living in the capital’s tent cities.

What can you expect, when you build hotels instead of health-saving infrastructures?

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