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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Cuba, Israel, and Haiti: Bill Clinton lies (surprise!)

If Ha'aretz is to be believed, this was Bill Clinton speaking to Shimon Peres in Davos: "Shimon, I don't know what we would have done without the Israeli hospital at Haiti. The Israeli hospital was the only operational facility which was able to perform surgery and advanced tests." Well, I don't know what "advanced tests" we're talking about (and, frankly, I'm skeptical that "advanced tests" were among the more pressing needs of the Haitian people), but there were Cuban doctors performing surgery in hospitals in Haiti long before the Israelis (or anyone else) arrived after the earthquake, as even NPR finally acknowledged.

Oh, and by the way, those Israeli doctors who the Haitian people couldn't have done without? They're gone now, having evidently fulfilled their mission. What was that mission? I feel certain the medical personnel themselves had only the noblest motives in mind, saving people's lives. The leadership of the country that sent them there, however, seems to have other ideas:

"You have raised human spirits and elevated the name of the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces," Netanyahu told the returning team. "As many plot against us, distort and muddy our names, you have shown the real IDF."
Cuban doctors? Still there. Their mission, to bring health care to the Haitian people and not good P.R. to the Cuban government, remains unfulfilled. Indeed, far from leaving, the Cuban presence in Haiti is increasing, as a team of 62 epidemiologists and vector control workers just arrived in Haiti to begin dealing with the massive public health crisis which confronts the island on top of the individual health crises.

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