by Jonathan M. Katz. Originally posted at Salon.com.
What caused Haiti’s cholera epidemic? The CDC museum knows but won’t say.
Last Friday, a friend doing research at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta sent me a photo of a display at the CDC’s in-house museum. She thought I’d be interested because it had to do with the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which I lived through at its beginning and have been reporting on ever since.
She was right. It blew my mind:
To understand what’s so insane about it, you need to know a little about two of the maps in that image and the CDC’s history with the epidemic.
The main part of the map, that pink-and-red mass that looks like a crab claw, is Haiti. Specifically, it is Haiti at the height of the worst cholera epidemic in recent history, an incredible scourge that by official count has killed at least 9,265 people and sickened 775,000 people in that country alone—figures that many experts believe are wild underestimates. Even though this map is just a snapshot from early January 2011, less than three months into an epidemic that has now been raging nearly six years, you’ll note that already not a single part of the country has been left untouched. (The red areas are home to 25,000 cases or more; the pale pink areas, at least 1,000.) By then, the disease had already spread into the neighboring Dominican Republic and would soon be in Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, and other parts of the region.
Continue reading The Killer Hiding in the CDC Map
by Kevin Edmonds, NACLA
According to a report released on August 31 by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon regarding the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH by its French acronym), it appears that the renewal of the highly controversial mission will occur once again without any meaningful debate. Moon’s report effectively acts as a rubber stamp of approval for the occupation, stating that he was “Reaffirming my commitment to continue to focus the activities of the Mission, I recommend that the Security Council extend its mandate of one year, until 15 October 2013.”
MINUSTAH’s reputation and credibility as a stabilizing force has been shattered since the introduction of cholera into the island by the negligence of both the troops and shoddy base infrastructure in October 2010. Up until the deployment of Nepalese troops in the Artibonite Valley that October, Haiti had never experienced a cholera outbreak. According to the latest figures, the cholera epidemic has killed over 7,500 people, infecting another 590,000.
To date, the United Nations has refused to take responsibility for their role in the epidemic, despite “irrefutable molecular evidence” that the Haitian strain was virtually identical to the Nepalese strain. Reports from American medical researchers at the Center for Disease Control, in addition to separate French and Danish teams, have all confirmed that the MINUSTAH base in Mirebalais was the source of the cholera strain.
Continue reading In the News: Signs Point toward Controversial Renewal of MINUSTAH’s Mandate in Haiti