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By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 -- Speeches on Haiti filled the Security Council all Wednesday morning. As simply two examples, Colombia Permanent Representative Nestor Osorio spoke of cholera; US Ambassador Susan Rice spoke of accountability for sexual violence (but apparently not of or for cholera).

  When it was over, Council president Gert Rosenthal gave a summary at the stakeout and offered to take questions. Inner City Press asked him of polls showing that half or more of people in Port of Prince do not want the MINUSTAH mission to stay. Inner City Press asked, what explained this?

  Rosenthal said that cases of sexual abuse, "two or three," were not helpful; he said that many in Haiti believe, rightly or wrongly, that the UN brought cholera into the country. (He added that the government indicates it wants MINUSTAH to stay.)

  Moments later, the head of MINUSTAH Mariano Fernandez followed and gave a short summary, starting in French. Inner City Press asked him the same question as to the Council President, about cholera and sexual abuse, specifically if he thought Uruguay's charge of "private violence" made real the UN's stated "zero tolerance" policy.

  Fernandez replied that he would not question the tribunals of a troop contributing country -- this seems a dubious practice -- and that he wouldn't comment on cholera since it is a legal matter.

  Inner City Press tried to follow up, but was rebuffed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations spokesman, the same one who ran interference for DPKO head Herve Ladsous to not answer questions about why his mission in the Congo was helping recruit Mai Mai militia to fight the M23 mutineers.

Ladsous last week made another of his spokespeople whisper to boom microphone operation not to give the mic to Inner City Press, and then called for Press questions to be erased from the UN Webcast.  A fish, as they say, rots from the head

  After two soft questions in Spanish, and with no help from the DPKO spokesman who seems to be under orders to play by and even expand the Ladsous Rules, Inner City Press managed to ask Ferandez the follow up: hasn't the UN's Office of Legal Affairs' head Patricia O'Brien's non-response to the cholera claim gone on too long? How can the UN preach rule of law, but bury a claim like this?

Fernandez again declined to comment. Inner City Press asked if MINUSTAH's investigation of the shooting death of a UN Police officer from Rwanda had been completed. Ferandez said the investigation continues, called it an accident, but said he would need more facts. Then he left. Will there finally be answers on this shooting death, and much longer outstanding cholera claim, any time soon? Watch this site.

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