Fernando Fuster-Fabra's Blog

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

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OBAMA’S RETURN TO EUROPE: WHAT IS IN STORE AFTER THE G-20 FLOP?

November 19, 2010
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Sad to say but true, President Obama is not only a questioned leader in the USA but also as a world leader before the eyes of some of his staunch allies, particularly in Europe.

This weekend’s NATO Summit in Lisbon will be the first encounter after the disheartening G-20 performance by the cast of developed & developing nations’ leaders meeting in Seoul. Said summit will be followed by yet another bilateral one between the USA & the EU which may not count with Obama’s presence.

The disheartening results of an ineffective meet such as the one held in Seoul, whereby developed democracies on both sides of the Atlantic succumbed to a subtle Chinese strategy of political abstraction, cannot but have cooled even further already estranged EU-US postures in the economic field. China had its ways at the Seoul summit and as of today has further aggravated economic tensions with the latest communiqué from its central bank by raising its reserve ratio 50 basis points. Furthermore, the Communist Asian superpower has set its protectionist mechanism to curtail foreign investment in Chinese real estate and enterprise as a precautionary measure to avoid speculation.

True to say, the EU’s stance at the G-20 meet wasn’t all that unanimous, with Germany applying pressure on the USA in a similar manner as China but with different tactics. I keep asking myself why both superpowers – the USA on one side and the EU as a whole bloc of 27 state & 500 M population on the opposite side – haven’t yet decided to sit down to draw out a single strategic route for the economic crisis resolution.

The opportunity was missed when the EU-US bilateral summit scheduled in Spain in May was cancelled due to Obama’s overloaded agenda on the home front. Since then, six months have elapsed and the crisis has not only grown in intensity but rather new doubts have been raised as to the best common ground solutions no one seems to venture into.

The NATO encounter will have Afghanistan at the top of the priority list. The US seems more worried about ensuring military backing from the EU partners than solving other issues on hand. Indeed, probably the new common adversary encased in Al Qaeda’s terrorism requires a collective effort in lieu of a defunct ‘cold war’ with the extinct USSR now converted into an ally represented by Russia. Nevertheless, even in this new ‘war against terrorism’, I see a lack of realism in the world leaders’ analysis.

¿Can we forget that China, the emerging superpower with UN veto rights, not only is not a full-pledged democracy but likewise is a traditional sly manipulator of world political tensions in such vital issues as Iran & Korea?

Resolving favourably the Afghanistan issue is yet light years away, if ever a satisfactory solution is feasible on medium term. Yet, NATO members are attending the issue as ‘top priority’ with the presence of a no less insignificant and worthless Karzai. Instead, these nations should be discussing not only a common defence with Russia against ‘international terrorism’ (not only Al Qaeda), which goes from fanatic movements bent on destabilising democracies but also implies ‘economic terrorists’ who are capable of sinking the world into further long-term crises whilst bolstering their unscrupulous enrichment schemes.

While the powerful in economy and the military meet in Lisbon, the Nobel Peace Awards Committee has cancelled this year’s ceremony because China has not allowed the 2010 awardee, Liu Xiaobo, nor any family member, to travel to Oslo; Haiti is plagued by cholera and the population has uprisen in revolt against the UN Blue Helmets; Indonesia suffers from volcano eruptions with death toll rising; the Sahara territory under Moroccan dominion is isolated from the world whilst possible abuses are being committed; More than 30,000 children die each day due to hunger, and malnutrition shortens the life expectations of many thousand more; There are over a billion hungry people in the world today according to FAO’s malnutrition report, with almost 2/3 in Asia (where China & India have the largest populations) and 1/3 in Africa & Latin America.

I could go on to cite numerous such situations, not to mention that poverty has increased even in developed countries (15 M in 2009) the world over.

I wonder how our leaders can meet time and again to discuss economic & military issues and get nothing resolved to the world’s citizenry’s satisfaction in what really counts.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

Observer of Human Behaviour


HAITI & THE WORLD’S FALSE PROMISES

October 25, 2010
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Scarcely nine months after Haiti suffered the earthquake disaster, it appears again in headlines the world over. This time is the outbreak of cholera that is brought to front page.

What really is concerning is the fact that the Haiti earthquake disaster harvested promises expressed in high-sounding phrases before the General Assembly and in other international forums. Today, when Haiti again is news, not only have the promises not been fulfilled but likewise world leaders and organisms have a rather indifferent reaction to the urgent sanitary needs of a stressed Haitian population still living in provisional tents since last January. Only Oxfam seems to have kept acting to bring comfort to the needy in the distressed island. The UN officials have not said a word about their role, which should be a leading one. Nor have the economic organisations linked to the UN seemed to seek the urgency of rebuilding homes and roads in the ruined Caribbean nation. Likewise, the USA and the EU have decelerated the flow of humanitarian aid after the first months of the disaster. Many nations seemed to have returned to their priorities and principal worries, the global economic crisis.

Where are those millions of Dollars & Euros in aid boisterously promised nine months ago? Has part of the aid received been deviated by corrupt officials in charge of the humanitarian actions? Have the countries delivered the sums promised by their respective leaders when the flashes and TC cameras registered their promises?

In any manner, world leaders have failed to fulfil their compromise with the disaster-stricken victims of Haiti. Aloofness and disdain of true world humanitarian affairs is part of the role that most leaders seem to prefer, as a shield from miserable reality. Only the economic crisis keeps them awake at night but snore whilst human beings die of hunger, disease or natural disasters.

Fernando Fuster-Fabra

Barcelona


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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