Another UN moment. There is truly no end to it. Someone ought to set up one of those giant digital counters that tick off things like the growing population of the planet, only in this case, it could have the caption:
“Every 45 seconds, somewhere on earth, a UN official heaps praise on a tyrant.”
Not that I’m sure it’s every 45 seconds. It may be more frequent.
Here’s a recent sample, dateline Havana, July 5, in which we find Cuba’s Granma news agency, reporting that the head of the UN Environment Program, Achim Steiner, was in town and slathering praise all over the Castro government for its economic and energy policies. (People? What people? Political prisoners? What prisoners?).
Not that Steiner had an easy time finding things to praise. Here’s the Miami Herald account of his visit, in which we learn that to laud Castro’s policies, Steiner had to somehow dismiss Cuba’s wasteful gas flare reactors and heavy polluting diesel generators. (The article didn’t mention this, but Steiner also had to ignore 38 years of Castro’s repressive, murderous, self-serving, communist rule — of which the horrendous energy shortages have been just one of many atrocious symptoms).
Achim Steiner, for those who don’t keep track of UN backroom connections, is the German environmentalist whom then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan tapped to head UNEP just three months after Steiner had served on a prize jury that picked Kofi Annan as the 2006 winner of the $500,000 Zayed environmental prize, handed out by the government of Dubai. Annan, after accepting the prize money, was finally embarrassed by press disclosures into saying he would give it up — but never acknowledged the conflict of interest. And Steiner is still on the job.