News Release

Perspectives on Africa and AIDS

Initiating what the Clinton administration calls “the month of Africa,” Vice President Al Gore spoke about AIDS in Africa at the UN Security Council on Monday. The following analysts are available for interviews on U.S. policy toward Africa and on AIDS drugs:

DEBORAH TOLER
A policy analyst with the Institute for Public Accuracy, Toler is working on a book on myths and realities about the causes of poverty and hunger in Africa. She said: “As horrendous as the AIDS epidemic is in Africa, the neo-liberal economic policies of the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization are resulting in the deaths of far more people from entirely preventable and curable diseases like measles and malaria and from the continent’s wars. It is no accident that the rise in death rates from wars and from diseases correlates with the rise in poverty on the continent, since these policies have been forced on African countries.”
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CAROL THOMPSON
Professor of political science at Northern Arizona University, Thompson specializes in international trade and food security in southern Africa. “In Seattle, the Africa group of the WTO had a resolution to demand the removal of patenting over life forms, but the Europeans and the U.S. refused to even put it on the agenda. The administration’s Africa trade bill approaches trade in the standard neo-liberal way, which gives advantage to rich corporations. The African economies have been open for 300 years, with slavery and exploitation of mineral and agricultural commodities. The end result is the total marginalization of trade, capital and human resource development of the African continent.”
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JAMES LOVE
Director of the Ralph Nader-founded Consumer Project on Technology, Love said: “After pressure from activists, there have been some welcomed changes in the administration policy on HIV/AIDS drugs to South Africa, however the government continues to put pressure on many poor countries to raise prices for pharmaceutical drugs.” Love will be with a group, including ACT UP activists, meeting with top administration officials on these issues Wednesday afternoon.
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CHRIS KIMMENEZ
A member of ACT UP Philadelphia, Kimmenez said: “Monday’s speech by Gore was mainly a campaign ploy. What he’s proposing only amounts to about $4.35 per person with HIV. He should stop backing the drug companies and allow countries to take control of their own medical crisis through compulsory licensing (making of generic versions of essential medications) and parallel importing (buying drugs from other countries at cheaper prices).”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167