When a little girl named Marcelina is spitting up worms, it’s an image that you have trouble forgetting. Deworming children is a simple and straightforward task – a five-cent pill of albendazole usually does the trick – and yet in countries like Angola many kids are missed. They suffer anemia and, in extreme cases, an intestinal blockage that may require surgery.
My column today notes that these kinds of intestinal parasites are enabled by another kind of parasite – corrupt officials. Angola is pretty much a world capital of corruption, but it’s also enabled by global companies, including oil companies. And American oil companies are resisting transparency requirements in ways that would benefit parasitic government officials.