Paul Farmer is a highly-respected physician and a well-known champion of the the people of Haiti, where he has lived most of his adult life. He is founder of Partners-in-Health, a multi-country network of health care and a literal life-saver for the people of Haiti. Farmer is politically astute and over the years has provided ample analysis of the effects of occupation and neo-liberal policies on the people of Haiti and, especially, on their health.
On August 11, 2009, Dr. Paul Farmer was appointed as Bill Clinton’s Deputy UN Special Envoy to Haiti. I remember when his appointment was announced. The Haiti solidarity community gasped at the thought. A few, who were less pessimistic, thought the people’s champion could influence Clinton and clear the way for true change in Haiti. And, perhaps that is what Farmer thought when he accepted the job. Yet, deep down, he must have known, along with the rest of us, what he was getting into. He would be co-opted by the US/UN machine that has controlled Haiti for years and would be steered down a straight and very narrow path of non-political issues. Also, he would become Clinton’s sidekick. Generally, Clinton has little problem drawing a crowd, but with Farmer by his side, Clinton gets a “bump” in “trustworthiness” from the average Haitian.
Dr. Farmer was on Democracy Now this morning to promote his new book, “Haiti: After the Earthquake.” Amy Goodman tried mightily to get a straight answer from Farmer on a range of “touchy” subjects – UN responsibility for cholera epidemic, formaldehyde trailers sent to Haiti after the quake — but he was evasive and changed topics in a desperate and increasingly illogical manner. Farmer’s voice revealed that he knows he is less believable as time goes on and that this job has brought him to a place he thought he never would be — more of a champion for Clinton than the Haitian people.
Click here to go to the Democracy Now interview with Dr. Paul Farmer. He was on for the hour.