Bill Clinton says U.N. Peacekeeper Introduced Cholera to Haiti

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Friday, 09 March 2012 00:48

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MIREBALAIS, Haiti (defend.ht) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that a U.N. peacekeeper was responsible for bringing the cholera strain to Haiti but may not have known that he was doing so.

"I don't know that the person who introduced cholera in Haiti, the U.N. peacekeeper, or soldier from South Asia, was aware that he was carrying the virus," Clinton told reporters at a hospital. "It was the proximate cause of cholera. That is, he was carrying the cholera strain. It came from his waste stream into the waterways of Haiti, into the bodies of Haitians."

According to the Associated Press, Clinton said that what "really caused" the cholera outbreak was Haiti's lack of proper sanitation.

"Unless we know that he knew or that they knew, the people that sent him, that he was carrying that virus and therefore that he could cause the amount of death and misery and sickness, I think it's better to focus on fixing it," Clinton said.

Clinton made the remarks while touring a new hospital in the Central Plateau of Haiti in his role as U.N. special envoy to Haiti.

Cholera has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened more than 526,000 others since it was introduced to Haiti in October 2010. The disease hadn't been seen in Caribbean country before that.