Helen Epstein

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de mayo de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Congo Research Group, Center on International Cooperation/Mapgrafix

“Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money.”

—President Trump addressing African leaders during the UN General Assembly, September 2017.

Ahead of his first state visit to Africa in March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should rethink Washington’s longstanding support for some of Africa’s more tyrannical regimes, particularly those of Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whose security forces continue to prey on their vast, mineral-rich neighbor Congo.

Ahead of his first state visit to Africa in March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should rethink Washington’s longstanding support for some of Africa’s more tyrannical regimes, particularly those of Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whose security forces continue to prey on their vast, mineral-rich neighbor Congo.…  Seguir leyendo »

On September 1, after Kenya’s Supreme Court became the first in Africa to nullify a flawed presidential election, Kenyans danced in the streets and some revelers pledged to convert to Seventh Day Adventism, the religion of Kenya’s somber chief justice, David Maraga. Then the mood darkened. President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose dubious victory had been overturned, told supporters that the judges were “crooks” and threatened to “fix” them. Chief Justice Maraga revealed that he and his bench colleagues had received numerous threats; when nearly $5 million mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he instructed the bank to return it at once.

A rerun was scheduled for October 26.…  Seguir leyendo »

On August 8, millions of Kenyans formed long, orderly lines outside polling stations across the country to vote in presidential and local elections. Kenya is notorious for corruption, and virtually all prior elections had been marred by rigging. This time, however, the US and Kenya’s other donors had invested $24 million in an electronic vote-tallying system designed to prevent interference. When Kenya’s electoral commission announced on August 11 that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won another five-year term with over 54 percent of the vote, observer teams from the African Union, the European Union, and the highly respected US-based Carter Center, led by former Secretary of State John Kerry, commended the electoral process and said they’d seen no evidence of significant fraud.…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s become fashionable lately to disparage democracy. From the failure of “nation building” attempts in Iraq and Afghanistan to Islamist violence in Egypt, Libya, and other Arab Spring countries, to the rise of Donald Trump, some now see government of the people as a liability in a violent and polarized world. In a recent New York magazine essay on the subject, Andrew Sullivan endorses Plato’s claim that tyranny all too often results from the anarchic nature of democracy itself, rather than from its perversion by anti-democratic forces.

Readers who find such arguments appealing might want to consider moving to impoverished, corruption-ridden Uganda, ruled by President Yoweri Museveni for thirty years through a combination of bribery, blackmail, and brute force.…  Seguir leyendo »

In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt told Americans that, by arming Britain against the Nazis, we’d serve as an “arsenal for democracy.” But during the cold war, the opposite was often true, and apparently still is. According to two recent studies, the United States provides aid and sells weapons far more often to autocratic regimes than to democracies; even China partners with democracies more than America does. This pattern is particularly clear in sub-Saharan Africa. For a brief period after the cold war, America used foreign aid and other measures to pressure many countries to democratize; some, like Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, now hold more or less credible elections.…  Seguir leyendo »

A specter is haunting Africa — the specter of impunity. Many countries the United States considers allies are in the grip of corrupt, repressive tyrants; others are mired in endless conflict. As Washington prepares to host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, American policy makers must acknowledge their contributions to this dismal situation. By lavishing billions of dollars in military and development aid on African states while failing to promote justice, democracy and the rule of law, American policies have fostered a culture of abuse and rebellion. This must change before the continent is so steeped in blood that there’s no way back.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Op-Ed page asked experts on women’s health to suggest simple measures to improve the wellbeing of mothers around the world.

1) A BIRTH PILL. An inexpensive medicine could save lives.
By Amy Grossman

2) A DOSE OF CARE. Counseling should be an important part of food aid programs.
By Helen Epstein

3) AN EDUCATION. Make going to school affordable.
By Esther Duflo

4) A SAFER LABOR. Provide clinics with the basics to preform Caesarean deliveries.
By L. Lewis Wall

5) A CUSTOM DRUG. Research to better medicate mothers-to-be.
By Ruth Faden, Anne Drapkin Lyerly and Maggie Little

Even as the United States Agency for International Development sends hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food to developing countries, a strange but important nutritional problem is being overlooked: The children of women who suffer from severe stress and poverty sometimes seem to give up and refuse to eat. Studies suggest that this stems from maternal detachment — the breakdown of emotional connection between traumatized mothers and their children.

It isn’t a new phenomenon. In the 1920s, Dr. Josephine Baker of the New York State Department of Health observed something similar among a group of severely malnourished babies in the chronic ward of the New York Foundling Hospital.…  Seguir leyendo »