Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

CHINESE CHECKERS & WORLD ECONOMICS

February 7, 2011
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In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.Confucius

Chinese Checkers board

 

China is still a paradox for the Western developed nations even as it slowly sips capitalism, converting itself into the second world economic power. What China may not be willing to wholly swallow is the tint of democracy that inevitably goes with economic wealth and prosperity, as very recently demonstrated in relation to the Nobel Peace Award.

 

To understand China and its strategy on international relations, one must either have lived in Asia amongst Chinese for some time or try to find a palpable example of how these perseverant people draw up their goals and lay out their strategy.

 

If one has ever had a chance to play Chinese Checkers, he/she would easily comprehend what the past weeks of international actions by Chinese dignitaries in several fronts represent. Decidedly, China has had to put its foot forward to seek recovery of its wavering prestige after the absence of Liu Xiaobo at the Oslo Nobel Peace Awards ceremony last December 10, 2010.

 

On the checkers board, China has come to realise the order of priorities of the other international powers seated at the games table. Its growing economic power is no longer doubted and even Japan has admitted that its Asian neighbour has surpassed Nippon economic might if not replaced it as Asia’s primary industrial nation. If there is an Asian trait where China outshines is in perseverance towards established goals; and the present-day Chinese regime has understood that whilst not having to relinquish its communist ideals, capitalism offers it the best launching pad towards economic prosperity. Kissinger’s role in the Ping-Pong Diplomacy with then China’s Prime Minister Chou En-lai led to the Communist regime taking over the UN seat the Nationalist Chinese had occupied since the organisation’s constitution in 1945.  Ever since the Nixon Administration acknowledged in 1972 the existence of a Communist government (People’s Republic of China) in Beijing in the now famous Shanghai Communiqué during President Nixon’s week-long state visit to China, the trail was set for the USA to formally break diplomatic relations with its natural ally, the Taiwan-based Republic of China and establish formal relations with the larger mainland Chinese government in 1979.

 

Once the supreme world leader, the United States of America, took that step, all other democratic nations have the go-signal to establish open trade relations with the PRC. A few of the so-called non-aligned had already recognised diplomatically and some others had submerged trade relations behind the USA’s back. Year 1979 marked the turning point to openly trade with the nation with the world’s largest (and still growing) population.

 

Precisely what seems to have attracted most other states, China’s immense population as a potential market, could very well be the Communist regime’s ‘Achilles’ heel’ as time goes by. True to say, China has imposed birth controls measures some time ago to put a stop to the exponential growth of its population, especially in the rural area. However, as time goes by, the tides may have changed, especially in the macro-urban area such as Beijing & Shanghai. The high cost of living in tentative consumer zones discourage Chinese couples to have off-springs, leading to the initial break of birth of toddlers who would later have to support the burden of aging generations.

 

If China would look into this problem now, it would be faced with the true dilemma of its accelerated blossoming into one of the world’s leading economies. The problem China has yet to face is that of unequal wealth between urban citizens and those Chinese residing in rural, industrial and mining zones. It is creating a serious breach in consumer habits as well as modes of living that could very well end in a cause of medium-term future conflict.

 

China is converging into a unique model with a strengthened economy based both on its cheap labour and consistent industrial development. However, in the process, it is retaining the worst part of its Communist heritage and adopting the less solvent portion of democratic developed nations’ growth model that of a global unsupervised market. In the short-term, this has permitted China to take an empowerment role in international economics to the point it possesses the world’s Nº 1 bank and PRC’s investments in other states’ bonds. It has acquired businesses and land both in Latin America and Africa, in a clear attempt to diversify risk.

 

It has however not considered that the true risk to its upcoming combo-type regime that fails to relinquish old ideological traits whilst it embraces economic habits of Western democracies lies in splitting up of its vast population and territory into nuclei where one or the other purist model may finally wish to prevail. China should comprehend that it would prove insufficient to have a leader educated in the UK to make 1.350 million (1.35 B for Americans) citizens toe the line towards a democratic regime.

 

Furthermore, it will take more than mere networking at conferences such as the recently-ended Davos World Economic Forum (where China’s delegation passed from 6 in 2001 to 66 in 2010) or the state visits by its premier and vice-premier to the USA and the stronger EU states to really convert China into a full-pledged democracy. Such time is both far and near, depending on which side of the fence one may see it from.

 

Revolutions are not writhe in a day, much less in a vast territory subdued during decades by the charm of Mao Tse Tung. Nevertheless, few would have expected the turmoil that now plagues Egypt but had its first spark in Tunisia. Global communications is changing social interaction habits for good.

 

China has played well its external economic moves on the checkers board; to the point that major other players sit agape in admiration whilst freedom is curtailed. What goes on within the walls of that other China is another story and few abroad are aware of the tensions that may be developing. How long before China either proves the solvency of its economic power or succumbs to its evident internal socio-economic disorganisation?

 

In the Year of the Metal Rabbit that has just started, China may well have to turn inwards in order to reach the true goals desired by its now open-eyed citizens immersed in the new pleasures of a semi-restrained global consumer economy.

 

 

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona

 

 

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HAITI A YEAR AFTER

January 13, 2011
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Atletas Olímpicos de España / Olympic Athletes from Spain

 

Versión en Español –              http://wp.me/pRlnf-2V


Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.Michael Crichton

After the earthquakes that not only caused tragic death but left many Haitians homeless and hungry several world leaders and international delegations gathered at the U.N. General Assembly to state publicly their support for Haiti’s aid & reconstruction. There was consensus!

A year later, Haiti remains mostly in ruins moreover people have been struck with cholera, remaining as hungry and poor as before. Elections were held but still Haiti is lacking true leadership to fight for its survival amongst the nations that join it in plenary sessions at the U.N. headquarters. Meeting of scoundrels, as Michael Crichton put it?

At the height of the tragedy, one than one flamboyant world leader was in first line to appear in the headlines with his promises. Today, none of these have fulfilled their compromise to support Haiti’s return to a minimum decent life.

Had it not been for the NGOs operating in Haiti, I wonder if the death toll for both the earthquake and the cholera epidemic would have been worse. For them, Haitians do matter. For world leaders, Haiti is only an added burden in their crisis-menaced expenditures.

If the reconstruction was already supposed to take at least a decade, after this obvious indolence in contributing of the wealthier nations, I fear that Haiti will never regain its former level, already then amongst the poorest nations in the world.

Hay we lost all humanity and decency to permit this new ethical blunder?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona, Spain


KYOTO COUNTDOWN AFTER CANCUN

December 18, 2010
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Earth in Peril

 

 

 

 

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

–       Mark Twain

 

*******************************************

 

 

Climate change? Who cares? …. This seems to be the generalised world attitude after a rather tepid Cancun meet that has been marred by Bolivia’s objections about the insufficient agreement reached.

Although the Cancun pact sets up a future billionaire “green” fund for developing countries and in some manner is an advance in greenhouse gas emissions reduction from industrial countries from 25 to 40 per cent in the next 10 years, debate on a much needed definite global pact has been postponed to the 2011 Durban Climate Conference, just a year before the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end.

True to say, China has tried to sell a softer image than its previous hard-line posture in the Copenhagen meet in 2009. Nevertheless, the deferment of the definite global pact may well permit this industrial giant to emit contaminating gases without supervision. Another Asian emerging giant, India, was nudged by the USA to accept emission limitations whilst China and the USA itself seem to skip a much desired supervision of their own emissions.

The Mexican conference president, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, had a rather relevant role to stop bickering and permit a consensus only Bolivia refused to accept. As she gavelled the end of the 193 countries’ meet, Espinosa breath in relief but was aware that a crack had been opened in the Latin American front.

What is worrying is that the so-called consensus pact reached last weekend has had little repercussion on citizenry comments over the globe. It seems that we, the citizens of the world, have lost not only faith in our leaders’ capability to resolve climate change nut also that we are less interested in this ever-growing problem.

As the clock ticks away the seconds to the finalisation of the Kyoto Protocol, we must admit that the $100 Billion Green Fund is no guarantee that emerging nations will apply same to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in their respective territories. Nor can we be sure that climate change will be channelled accordingly in other aspects of environmental protection, such as is the case of potable water facilities and ocean water protection.

As I see it, the real danger of a conflagration amongst nations in the next decades will revolve around water, its equitable distribution and the rights of all to avail of water resources towards quality of living.

This should make us consider seriously all that goes about around in the geo-political pacts on climate change and environmental resources global administration.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

EU Environmental Consultant

Madrid-Barcelona


U.S. MERRY-GO-ROUND AFTER MID-TERM ELECTIONS

November 8, 2010
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The great American nation has voted and Obama has been punished for seeking reforms favourable to the U.S. citizenry in the first two years of his presidential term. The overwhelming Republican victory in the House of Congress is definitely the start of an uphill climb for President Obama and his White House advisors. Not only will the new Republican majority question and try to repeal approved laws such as Medicare but also will block any new initiatives in relevant fields such as economic reforms or foreign policy.

For those who are not familiar with the USA in its varied regional cultures, it is much harder to understand how voters in supposedly the world’s most powerful nation can change its historic support for America’s first Afro-American President two years ago to this sonorous defeat in the mid-term elections. Americans need a binding factor to keep their country at the top.

George W. Bush used the 9-11 tragedy to whip up American patriotism to get re-elected but left such a trail of discontent with the mounting deaths of American soldiers at the Iraq warfront. A change was needed and thus, Obama was put into the power seat at the White House four years later. The lower middle-class American expected Barack Obama to be the miracle-man who would shoo away the evil spirits of crisis and war that the Bush Administration had brought about in its second term.

Obama was aware of the timing by which he had scarcely 2 years to get America back to economic recovery, if he was to offer the Democratic Party a serene mid-term campaign. Unfortunately, such time pressure has worked against him on the local front. Whilst his popularity abroad brought him honours such as the Nobel Peace Award, the average American in the Midwest plus the Latin &the Afro-American communities continued to suffer the economic crisis and unemployment. The binding factor in the Democrat’s defeat in the recent congressional elections has been the so-called ‘fear syndrome’ magnificently availed of by the most conservative wing of the Republican Party.

The denominated ‘Tea Party’ campaigners have made good use of the economic crisis to make the middle and lower classes of the nation fear all that comes from abroad, in particular from the emerging nations of Asia and the southern neighbours of America.

One must point out a rather curious statement made by no less than NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg while assisting the C40 Climate Change Group Forum held in Hong Kong last week. Bloomberg, a billionaire that was a Democrat till 2001, then ran for office as a Republican and finally has turned independent before seeking a third mandate in 2009, has probably defined best the worries about the average American voter and the new political scene when he said, “If you look at the U.S., you look at who we’re electing to Congress, to the Senate—they can’t read, …. I’ll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports. We’re about to start a trade war with China if we’re not careful here, only because nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is.”

The U.S. 10-day presidential tour to Asia will not be enough to curtail fears about the new political scenario in Washington, D.C. nor solve the problems on hand.  Obama must fight such ignorance at the home front not only because the voters do not have interest in learning more about the globalised world but also because the new congressmen that will scrutinize his proposed laws are just unprepared for such an intensive intellectual task in a world wrapped up in a single napkin in all relevant issues from economic crises thru terrorism up to climate change.

As America’s political & economic merry-go-round is about to commence its mid-term ride, new inexperienced faces will appear in the U.S. Congress & Senate. With a much less than a thorough knowledge of international politics, they are to dictate laws which will not only affect the American citizenry but likewise the other nations of the world.

What’s in the ride for the rest of us?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


G-20 TORONTO SUMMIT: LAST CHANCE TO SEE THE CRISIS FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

June 23, 2010
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Spanish Version              http://wp.me/pRlnf-1a


After a futile Busan meeting of economic ministers earlier this month, hopes of progress and consensus amongst world leaders at the G-20 Summit are scarce.  One inevitable question crops up – Are these government leaders governing their nations and the world for the citizens that elected them or for the financial markets that sway their fragile decisions?

Just as Obama was about to take over at the White House and Spain was first invited into the group, the G-20 met in Washington D.C. under a retreating George Bush. Two other summits, London https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/hello-world/ & Pittsburgh https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/the-pittsburgh-summit-the-world’s-future/ , have been held since then with practically the same futile results. Chances are that the Toronto summit will be more along the same line.

Whilst the USA has flirted with China in what was dubbed ‘G-2 formula’, the EU has been incapable of having a solid single stance towards international economic policies in the successive summits. Furthermore, the White House is cautious about withdrawing public expenditure hastily meanwhile recovery is hardly convincing. On the contrary, German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has whipped other EU leaders with French President Sarkozy’s consent towards drastic public debt cutbacks in the 27-member club. This opposed views will make it difficult to come to a common ground in the truly indispensible actions G-20 leaders must take without further delay.

Canada’s Prime Minister and summit host, Stephen Harper, is precisely against the only common point between US and European leaders – the levy on bank operations. His posture will probably be used by other leaders from emerging economies to delay any actions that may endanger their respective growth rates. However, this very growth may well be the cause of economic overheating in Brazil, China and India that could put any recovery in serious trouble. Harper, who boasts of Canada´s economy y banking solvency seems to forget that he heads a nations that has steadily lost relevance in worlds affairs and whose banks are too conservative to be a reference as institutions for the New Millennium.

Moreover, China may have apparently made a concession to the USA with regards the Yuan but it would prove naive to consider such tactical move as a definite trend towards Chinese permanent cooperation in all economic and political international issues. On the contrary, this move may well be countered by a rather steadfast stand against any of the US–EU proposal at the Toronto summit.

In a similar manner, Brazil’s outgoing President, Lula Da Silva, in an effort to impress Brazilian electors and assure his proposed successor’s victory will probably play a hard-line strategy against US proposals.

I feel that world leaders continue being incapable to think big https://fernandofusterfabra.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/world-leaders-uncapable-to-think-big/ nor are they creative enough to view the crisis issue from another angle. It is evident that the G-20 meet must start off by recognising the main cause of this sneaky situation. No solutions will ever be effective if free-trade and globalisation isn’t governed by global financial & investment regulations agreed by world leaders and implemented under strict authorized international supervisors. The care-free ways of liberal monetary flows has been unleashed for three decades to produce the existing crisis that may well pervade another decade or so.

Is any world leader brave enough to put the warning bell leash on the market’s unscrupulous misdoings?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, BEYOND START II

April 11, 2010
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Finally, tedious negotiations have brought forth a new disarmament agreement between the two nuclear super powers. The Obama Administration has learned that White House timetables do not necessarily tally with those of other world leaders with their own negotiating strategies.

In a similar manner as the domestic healthcare issue, the historic signing of the new START bilateral agreement in the appropriate scenario of Prague is no guarantee that said goodwill expressed by both U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvédev will lead to a nuclear non-proliferation as per the NPT  of 1968. Whereas Russia’s Duma will surely ratify the agreement, the U.S. Senate may still present objections to such arms reduction to show the Republican hawkish stance on American military supremacy.

True to say, all American Presidents from the end of the Cold War onwards have signed some sort of arms agreement with the defunct U.S.S.R. and then with Russia. The weakest link may have been during the previous Bush Administrations, where world conflicts elevated tension between these super powers.

However, one must not forget that, neither India nor Pakistan, known to possess nuclear armament, are signees of the NPT. Israel not only has remained adamant to accept said treaty but has so far refused to admit its nuclear potential. In a similar situation but in the process of turning into a nuclear power is Iran. Curiously, these four countries are close to or in the midst of the Middle East hotspot. Besides, one must take into account that both Pakistan and India have borders with another nuclear power, China. Furthermore, China is a firm supporter of yet another potential nuclear developer (North Korea) based in the Far East.

How well will the United States of America and Russia be able to handle the growing nuclear risks in these tension-loaded Middle East & Far East regions?

Under the disguise of uranium enrichment for energetic purposes, any of these states may well be in fact producing nuclear weapons. Such are IAEA suspicions on Iran and North Korea upon their refusal to undergo U.N. supervision.

A meeting called by President Obama in Washington D.C. on April 12-13 where 40 world leaders are expected to discuss the risks of nuclear power in the hands of international terrorism has failed to persuade Israel’s Netanyahu to join in said caucus although it will count with the presence of China’s President Hu Jintao.

The shadow cast by Netanyahu’s absence may not be fully enlightened by the assistance by China’s Hu.

Both Obama and Medvédev are aware that China has yet to fully agree on sanctions to be imposed on Iran by the U.N. Security Council presided by Japan during this current month. China has carefully weighed its decision based on its growing trade relations with Iran, present-day tensed bilateral economic exchange with the United States and the renewed START agreement between Americans and Russians.

On the other hand, Israel and its hawkish Prime Minister are a pain in the neck for the Obama Administration still pending a definite solution plan. Tensed relations have existed ever since Netanyahu took over with a challenging attitude towards White House demands to sit down at a negotiations table with the Palestinian Authority. Far from towing the line, Israel has permanently provoked American emissaries (Biden & Mitchell), refusing to bend down to Obama’s petition for moderation.

Will START II have meant pressing the reset button to minimise all nuclear endeavours in armament or, on the contrary, be the commencement of further underground attempts by potential and/or existing nuclear states bent on having a say on nuclear policies in the international scene?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.


HEALTHCARE, A MILESTONE IN U.S. HISTORY THAT DIVIDES AMERICANS

March 23, 2010
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President Obama has won the first round of a battle where several Presidents before him succumbed. In his scarce year in office, not only has he already made History by being the first Afro-American President that also won the Nobel Peace award in record time but also the instigator of a social change in American public health.

The internal war waged by anti-healthcare factions were not only directed towards the proposed new public health measure but went so far as to directly attack the President with all types of tactics. In fact, even prior to the East Room signing ceremony today, 12 states had already announced their intention of filing law suits questioning the constitutionality of the new law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The most powerful nation in the world is a paradigm of how prosperity & progress can blind a population into the real values of quality of living. For such an economic and military power such as the USA, it is unconceivable that almost half of its population reject social policies that enhance their healthcare program. Having lived in that country for some time, I for one experienced that imperative necessity of having an appropriate private medical insurance coverage, just in case. Such situation is unthinkable even in the less powerful nations of the European Union.

Furthermore, have closely followed the public debates and strong opposition campaigns of vested interest lobbies, one cannot but be surprised that public opinion was intentionally misled by supposed risks of U.S. bankruptcy due to the then proposed measure, now enacted into law. Important media and affected insurance companies dumped the citizenry with false facts about the long term costs of putting the law into effect from now till 2014, when in truth; the U.S. medical burden today is way off costs in other developed countries round the world.

In spite of the historic signing today, this law will have a bumpy test run before it can slowly be put into effect. Its repercussions are yet to be felt in this year’s congressional elections and the sponsors of the so-called anti-Obama tea-parties will prolong their misdoings in a last-ditch attempt to stall the desired effects of said new law.

President Obama deserves a round of applause for his strategic steering of the vessel to safe port but his Administration must realise that once more the ship must sail out and face new thunderstorms of that archaic Establishment that has had its ways and whims in Washington D.C. for too long a time.

Is this the moment towards a real change in the outdated American way of life?

The President’s remaining mandate will be the testing ground of who is to have the final say before the next presidential elections in November, 2012.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


OBAMA SPEAKS TO THE NATION

January 28, 2010
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U.S. President Obama is one speaker worth listening to even it means staying up late. He has command of language and an impressive presence in public, that very image that made him popular and landed him in the White House.

Last night Barack Obama returned to his campaign speech ways and challenged Congress leaders to back up measures he proposes to create new jobs and resolve economic problems of the average American. He knew that he had the audience nationwide and that his words would sink in deep to make it clear that he means business.

However, the President avoided putting pressure on ticklish issues such as the healthcare bill and only mentioned it in the passing. Likewise, for the first time in his 12 months in office, he blamed the Bush Administration for the economic crisis and two wars inherited. A wink to the Republicans on budget and tax cuts didn’t harvest the expected applauses but Obama didn’t deter from his intention to speak more to the gallery than to the congressmen and senators in the hall.

Surely enough, public opinion surveys showed an improved image. What I wonder is how much easier will the Obama Administration have it to pass bills in the Senate. In a congressional partial election year, politicians from both parties will be cautious not to provoke voters in their constituencies. I feel that the first bill to be sacrificed will probably be the healthcare bill, at least as to the extent of coverage and planned expenditure.

No matter how well Barack Obama may speak to the nation, Washington lobbies end up having most of their ways at the end of the day. The President assures he isn’t quitting but neither are the lobbyists.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


DAVOS, A STANDING ECONOMIC VIP ARMY

January 27, 2010
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I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
Thomas Jefferson

With Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild” as theme of this 40th session and French President Nicholas Sarkozy delivering the opening address, the Davos Forum sets off to straighten some of the mistakes committed by the very economic frontrunners of globalisation that triggered off this and other economic crises in the last two decades.

Are the economic think tanks that have controlled the destiny of Mankind since the Allied victory in World War II now thinking of “rethinking” globalisation? I must say that it’s too late to think anew the very same thoughts that have prevailed since the global crisis burst wide open the financial and construction bubbles generated by no other than the leading financial institutions in the developed world. Wall Street and The City entities, brokers & intermediaries were up front making fortunes on the basis of foreign exchange, CDS’s and hedge funds whilst sinking further in the rut underdeveloped economies in Asia, Latin America & Africa.

Many have been the summits of world leaders with no results. One is the forum for the wealthy for their “rethought vision of world economics”. I doubt that it is because the wealthy and powerful wish to “redesign” the distribution of wealth, much less to “rebuild” Haiti with their earnings in 2009.

I suspect that Davos is another luxurious VIP summit to talk at leisure how to go about new ways of earning more and caring less for the needy.

Moreover, Davos has put the Obama Administration on dead centre of the bulls-eye of its contained fury. Never has a U.S. President been so belligerent with banking institutions. True to say too, never before has the U.S. Administration had to shell out such sums to refloat banks that didn’t manage their profits properly and paid enormous bonuses to incompetent managers.

At the end of the Bush Administration, French President Sarkozy spoke at the Washington G-20 Summit of the “re-foundation of capitalism”. All 2009 passed and no action in such sense was taken. On the contrary, the “old ways of the all-power bankers” have resurrected from a low profile to come back with more force. More large bonuses and back to conventional banking the world over with only the unemployed and poor sank in stress and misery.

What will Davos apport as conclusions this time? Will it be new forecasts of dangers up ahead? We have already had 40 sessions of such silly chatter. It’s time for action and it won’t be these economic bigots who will offer the right path towards worldwide economic stability.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


THE HAITI TRAGEDY & POVERTY: WORLD POWERS MUST ACT NOW

January 20, 2010
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New tremors in Haiti today whilst dead still litter the streets, wounded are treated in open-air installations and humanitarian relief is slowly distributed in a trickle, proves that last week’s earthquake tragedy is but the tip of the true disaster in such forsaken paradise in the Caribbean.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the American continents and one of the poorest in the world, has been plagued since its independence from France in 1804 by political instability that provoked the United States to occupy the territory from 1915 to 1934. Further U.S. military and financial support in 1954 to François Duvalier (Papa Doc) imposed upon the island a pretended dynasty with his son, Jean-Claude (Nené Doc), succeeding him in 1971. A national uprising overthrew him in 1981 but still Haiti continued to live in misery in one coup after another that brought corrupt leaders into power.

In a country where poverty is circumvented only with the funds from foreign aid and numerous NGOs operating humanitarian missions, it is understandable that the eradication of poverty has not been a priority for its successive governments. Lax government controls on the use of aid funds for development, health & educational projects have permitted the deviation of huge sums into private bank accounts of Haitian government officials.

The participation of the United Nations has not been limited to humanitarian support through its agencies but likewise had involved Blue Helmets stationed in the territory. However, it must be said that the U.N. role in Haiti has always gone along stream that of the United States and the U.N. Blue Helmet detachment was in lieu of American soldiers that were no more.

With last week’s earthquake, President Obama again compromised U.S. military forces for Haiti. The European Union headed by the Spanish Government which occupied this semester’s rotating presidency likewise acted resolutely with not too much ado and contributed towards a quick solution.

However, a new dilemma has arisen. Not taking seriously anti-American comments by Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, the postures of French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva on U.S. troops on Haitian soil seemed out of place at a point  and time when humanitarian action was the only true concern.

Which brings me to question the handling of this situation:- Have we reached a point where the United Nations has lost authority and effectiveness to handle world crisis or major disasters?

Is protagonist role all world leaders think of or want when such situations arise or should these think first of the human tragedy?

The silent but effective actions undertaken from Spain and Spanish coordination of  the EU aids must be applauded. The quick reaction from the White House must be praised too.

It is not time for lead roles or being on front page headlines. It is time to seriously think why the developed countries have not resolved yet the poverty and misery that only ends in more misery in tragedies such as the Haitian earthquakes these days.

It is time to meditate whether the organization whose creation and charter were mean to face up to the challenges of a world in peace has failed in its objectives during this past six decades.

World leaders must decide whether the time has come to think more of justice and minimum quality of life for any human being with a new social & political order that the United Nations has been unable to provide.

Has the time arrived for a change in world governance?

Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid


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