Posted by Brian at 1:16 PM
Another sign US influence is waning
Brazil decided to tell the US to go sit and spin even though there was $40 million on the table.
In early May, Brazil declared its defiance of American diktats abroad. The country's national AIDS commissioner, HIV doctor Pedro Chequer, turned down $40 million in US assistance for its fight against AIDS rather than sign a statement condemning prostitution. "For us it was an ethical issue," Chequer told The Nation. "We have to reach every segment of society, with no discrimination. Besides, no country is supposed to decide what another country must do."
Brazil balked with good reason--their current strategy seems to be working despite the fact that prostitution is legal, a development that must have the "sex is dirty" crowd scratching their heads.
The reason this is a major issue isn't so much because of Brazil--they self-fund 90% of their program according to the Nation article, and have decided to find a way to fill the gap themselves--it's because of the smaller countries, particularly in SE Asia, and even more importantly, NGOs that have precious little other options for funding, that are being forced into these situations. On an especially hypocritical note, I'd like to point out that one of the US Congressmen pushing hardest on this is Henry Hyde (R-Philanderer), he of the Clinton impeachment team who was outed as having broken up a marriage other than his own and of having an illegitimate child.
Look, I don't like prostitution, but I think it ought to be decriminalized. I've never gone to one, and never will, and the people who argue that a woman ought to be able to sell her body if she chooses are being more than a touch naive about the amount of choice most prostitutes have in the matter. All that aside, prostitution is very much a reality, and in a very cold, pragmatic way, it's a world health issue, especially in the poorer parts of the world, and for self-styled moralists in the US Congress (one of the most immoral places on earth in my view) to act as if their political wedge issues are more important than literally millions of lives is despicable.