From Volume 38, Issue 18 of EIR Online, Published May 6, 2011

Ibero-American News Digest

Here's What the 'Haiti Treatment' Looks Like

April 28, 2011 (EIRNS)—If Americans want to know what "aid" to expect from Barak Obama in the event of a natural disaster—victims of last week's savage tornado sweep through parts of the U.S. are already learning—look at what the Narcissist-in-Chief has done for Haiti.

Investigative journalists who've been in the country numerous times in the past year report that the country is literally "drowning in sewage." The Truttier Waste Disposal dump near the giant Cité Soleil slum in the capital of Port-au-Prince contains thousands of gallons of feces, all certainly infected with cholera. In an article published April 25 in, investigative reporter Mac McKinney reported that toxic raw sewage from cholera treatment centers (CTCs) is discharged into a giant, open-air unlined holding pond in the middle of the dump, from where it can potentially leach into the Plaine Cul-de-Sac aquifer underneath which is the main supplier of water to the capital. Discarded needles and syringes, bags full of vomit and excrement from the CTCs also end up in the dump.

In an article published April 24 in a Huffington Post blog, investigative reporter and former Haiti relief worker Giorgianne Nienaber pointed out that the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster, known as WASH, run by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has received only 19% of its $175 mn. funding requirement for water and sanitation systems.

The absence of latrines, de-sludging activities, and safe drinking water, guarantees that cholera and other water-borne diseases will spread quickly. As the rainy season begins, medical personnel are reporting a wave of new cholera cases. While the overall mortality rate officially stands at 1.7%, it is 7.9% in the rural department of Sud Est, and 5.4% in Grande Anse.

The overall UN cholera appeal is only 45% funded. Nienaber underscores the irony that "some of the same agencies that have created a comprehensive document on Haiti's needs, have packed up their tents, banners and personnel. They say they will return when the money flows along with the increasing disease numbers."

New temporary shelters do not include sanitation infrastructure. People continue to defecate into plastic bags, or on the ground or in streams. In rural areas, there is a dangerous shortage of water purification tablets. In the village of Chinchion that Nienaber visited, residents were forced to travel miles to market to buy bleach for water purification. Other villages were paying for the tablets on the black market.

The UN's Shelter Cluster reported that as of April 7, 7.4% of the 56,107 temporary shelters, in which 235,649 people lived, received no WASH services. Nienaber reports that an estimated 42% of an additional 116,000 temporary shelters scheduled to be built this year, will not receive any sanitation and water services either.

Extreme Weather in Colombia: Non-Stop Rain for Almost a Year

April 26 (EIRNS)—Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stated yesterday that the non-stop rains and flooding that have hit the entire country since May 2010 are "the worst natural tragedy of our history," and that "it's as if our entire territory were being affected by a hurricane which arrived in the middle of last year and has not wanted to leave."

That's a pretty accurate description. The photos are impressive, with entire sections of Bogotá under 2-3 feet of water. The extreme weather pattern, in a country which already has areas with some of the highest average annual rainfall on the planet, is being ascribed to La Niña, which is the cyclical cooling of the surface water in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which for some reason has locked in place and is not expected to break until June 2011, at the earliest. Although Santos and others of course blame this in turn on (non-existent) global warming, it is likely to be yet another effect of solar and galactic causes which are also behind the crescendo of recent earthquakes, volcanic, and related activity.

The director of the National Disasters System said that, from May 2010 until today, the non-stop rains have produced over 3 million victims in 30 of the country's 32 departments, including 418 deaths. A state of emergency due to floods, landslides, etc. has been declared in 1,018 of the country's 1,100 municipalities, and 230 highways have either been closed, or have restricted traffic.

Agriculture is being devastated, as well. The Colombian Farmers Association (SAC) reports that in 2010, land under cultivation dropped by 9%, and output fell by 11.1%, and 2011 is expected to be worse. There are worsening shortages of corn, rice, and other crops.

EIR Videoconference in Honduras

April 24 (EIRNS)—This afternoon, EIR representative David Ramonet spoke via videoconference to an audience at the Pedagogical University of Honduras, in San Pedro Sula, attended by a group of senior students from the Social Sciences department as well as three invited teachers, among them the coordinator of the Geography division. Attendees heard Ramonet discuss the global economic breakdown, the galactic crisis, and the burgeoning mass strike, as well as the LaRouche movement's activities in the United States and worldwide.

Ramonet particularly focussed on the mobilization to stop the crisis through a global Glass-Steagall initiative, a New Bretton Woods arrangement, and international cooperation for great infrastructure projects capable of reviving the global economy and take on the galactic crisis.

The 45-minute presentation was followed by a 15-minute Q&A in which two students and a professor intervened. One student asked about EIR's evaluation of events in Mexico, which has been taken over by crime and which gets weapons from Honduras and the U.S. Ramonet responded by describing what has occurred in Mexico since the end of the López Portillo Presidency, which he described as the last Presidency of the Mexican Revolution, and explained the need to launch projects such as the North West Hydraulic Project (PLHINO).

These activities at the Pedagogical University will continue next week with a dialogue between second and third-year students and Ingrid Torres of the Mexican LaRouche Youth Movement.

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