Protest in the time of cholera: Disease and the metaphors of health and politics

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4 Scopus citations


In the wake of the January 2010 earthquake, UN troops leaking fecal waste into the Artibonite River introduced cholera to Haiti. Soon after, Haitians began demonstrating against the UN presence in the nation, using cholera and its implications as the crux of their accusations. The UN responded by painting protesters as a disruptive minority interfering with the political health of the nation, also using metaphors of disease to justify their actions. This article channels social movement theories to complicate media discourses surrounding protests. I argue that the cholera outbreak provided symbols and a discourse for engaging in a larger political struggle between the Haitian public and UN troops. While interrogating the use of disease metaphors by protesters and the media, this article reveals underlying assumptions about the geographies of health, simultaneously offering a more insightful reading into cultural and political reactions to the outbreak in Haiti.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalCanadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholera
  • Disease metaphors
  • Haiti
  • Mission des nations unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti (MINUSTAH)
  • Protest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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