Democracy Now! April 26, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 26, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Campaign forces Cigna health insurance company to grant a bone marrow transplant; coup in Venezuela ; French ultra-nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen and the recent rash of anti-Jewish violence.

9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 A MASSIVE PRESSURE CAMPAIGN FORCES CIGNA HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY TO GRANT A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT TO A LEGAL AID ATTORNEY WHOSE LIFE HANGS IN THE BALANCE Democracy Now! reported on Wednesday that the head of the public defenders of the eastern district of the Legal Aid Society, Thomas Concannon, could die because his health insurance company, Cigna, had refused to pay for the operation he needed. Concannon was diagnosed with multiple myeloma two years ago. Multiple myeloma is extremely difficult to cure, but in recent years bone marrow transplants have proven increasingly effective in treating the disease. But Concannons insurance company, Cigna, refused to pay for the procedure. Cigna is one of the nation's largest private health insurers, worth more than $91 billion. In 2001, it brought in more than $19 billion in revenue. After Concannon described his case on Democracy Now!, hundreds of people called Cigna and the independent company reviewing his case to protest. As a result the company has reversed its decision, and Thomas Concannon has been granted a chance to live. But Concannon is the exception, not the rule. Some 43 million people in this country dont have any health insurance at all. That is up 38 million from ten years ago. Tape: Gail Silver, spokesperson for CIGNA health insurance company Lower third: CIGNA health insurance Tape: Thomas Concannon, head of the public defenders of the eastern district of the Legal Aid Society and multiple myeloma patient, speaking at a celebration party in New York yesterday Tape: Elisabeth Benjamin, supervising attorney in the health law unit of the Legal Aid Society, speaking at a celebration party in New York yesterday Guest: Stephanie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Founder of Physicians for a National Health Program 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 FROM THE COFFERS OF CONGRESS TO THE HANDS OF COUP LEADERS: THE MONEY TRAIL THAT TIES THE US TO THE RECENT COUP IN VENEZUELA The New York Times is reporting that Washington was even more deeply involved Venezuela's recent coup than originally acknowledged. In the past year, the United States channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to American and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo Chavez. One of these was the labor group that organized the protests against Chavez earlier this month. The protests fed directly into the coup. The money for these groups came from the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit agency created and financed by Congress. In the months before the coup, the NED bumped up its funding, quadrupling its donations to Venezuela to nearly $900,000. This money was distributed through four smaller non-profits, each with its own distinctive role in the dirty wars of the 1980s. One of these groups is the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the international arm of the AFL-CIO. For decades, this group worked closely with the CIA to spread instability throughout Latin America. It was known until recently as the American Institute of Free Labor and Democracy. Now, under a new name, it has passed more than $150,00 to Venezuela's main labor union - the same union that led the work stoppages and spurred the opposition to Chavez. The union's leader worked closely with coup president Pedro Carmona to undermine the Chavez government in the months before his ouster. We are going to follow the money trail that leads from the coffers of Congress to the hands of coups leaders. Guest: Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). COHA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research and information organization based in DC. Contact: 9:35-9:45 FROM THE COUP IN VENEZUELA TO THE COUP IN THE UNITED NATIONS: BUSH ADMINISTRATION OUSTS LEADERS OF THREE U.N. ORGANIZATIONS The US dismissed the head the international agency charged with ridding the world of chemical weapons earlier this week. The popular Brazilian iplomat Jose Bustani had just been re-elected to a 5 year term. He had tried to get Iraq to join the organization. Critics say hardliners in Washington feared Iraqs membership would undercut their plans to attack Iraq on the grounds that the country is keeping out international weapons inspectors. Days before, the Bush administration ousted the head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Robert Watson. Oil giant Exxon Mobil, who is a major contributor to the Bush campaign, had sent a memo to the White House requesting his removal. U.N. Human Rights Commission chief Mary Robinson has agreed to step down under U.S. pressure. GUEST: IAN WILLIAMS, author of The U.N. for Beginners 9:45-9:46 One Minute Music Break 9:46-9:58 HAS FASCISM RETURNED TO EUROPE? A LOOK AT THE RISE OF FRENCH ULTRA-NATIONALIST JEAN-MARIE LE PEN AND THE RECENT RASH OF ANTI-JEWISH VIOLENCE French universities closed their doors yesterday and declared a day without classes as more than 100,000 students marched through the streets to show their opposition to ultra-nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Le Pen surprised the nation last Sunday by coming in second in the first round of presidential elections, booting current Prime Minister Lionel Jospin from the running. Le Pen says that if elected, he will move to cut France's ties with the European Union, halt the flow of immigrants, and phase out income taxes. He opposes abortion, supports the death penalty and has been accused of being anti-Semitic. His victory has sent tens of thousands of protesters into the streets of France each day. It has also sent Europe reeling. The wave of anti-Le Pen protests spilled into Belgium on Wednesday as Le Pen arrived to deliver an address before the European Union. Inside, people booed during his speech and waived signs saying 'No'. Outside, activists wore ``Stop the Nazis'' stickers and held banners reading ``Together against hatred.'' The rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen has tapped into fears that a new fascism is taking hold of Europe. Already, extremist parties have scored upsets in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Belgium. Meanwhile, a wave of anti-Jewish violence has ripped through France. More than 300 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in the last three weeks. Increases in attacks have also been reported in Britain, Russia and Belgium. Guest: Martin Lee, author, The Beast Reawakens, on the rise of fascism. Lee has written for the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, LA Times and SF Chronicle. Guest: Theo Klein, honorary president, Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in French, Le Conseil Reprsentatif des Institutions Juives (CRIF) It is quite mainstream and functions much like the UJA in the United States. Lower Third: Representative Council of Jewish Institutions MUSIC 6- THE BELL - Stephan Smith 20: WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD - Victoria Williams & Vic Chestnut Sessions & Stages 40: FEAR NOT OF MAN - Mos Def Black on Both Sides (Rawkus Records CD) End: MIX UP, MIX UP - Bob Marley Confrontation (Island records CD) 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
April 26, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
April 26, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. April 26, 2002
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