Protecting the institution at the expense of civil rights

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: July 17, 2004: Director Vasquez speaks out: July 3, 2004: Headlines: Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Speaking Out: Dayton Daily News: Director Vasquez says Dayton Daily News portrayal of Peace Corps doesn't jibe with facts : Protecting the institution at the expense of civil rights

By daniel ( - on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit Post

All persons working in the executive and general counsel's office and IG did not protect safety when it was really needed and actually I feel some are negligent. When you know a certain population is being denied rights and Peace Corps using psychobureaucratic nonsense like during the days of the Soviet Union (we don't agree with you so, you are mentally ill) then the institution is hurt at its core. You folks continue to blame rape victims, safety related cases, wrongful separations related to health and safety on the volunteer. At least you Susan weren't afraid to use your name.

Remember, after service you got a job, got upward mobility and have moved on in your career. Many of the 2,800 victims of violence have not been given that chance Susan. You should feel greatful.

Susan Wrote:


I spoke with you on many ocassions while I worked at the Peace Corps from 99-01.

Many people can say they spoke with me and it only proves to the judge I requested reinstatement and an interview with the Director consistently over the fifteen years. They have had a chance everyday since to remedy the wrong. They choose to go to go court. No problem, we will continously see the Peace Corps in court for hurting families and volunteers rights. The Ombudsman's office won't be our avenue either. The Peace Corps lied and covered up victims of violence and the DDN had to take them to court for that information. How much more are they covering up? What have they done for these people who served? Can you ansewer that question Susan?

I don't think you speak for the Peace Corps community and I don't really think they really care about other volunteers. If they did something would have been done already. Instead, the Director types, former staff, blame volunteers for joining the Peace Corps and placing themselves in the situations the Peace Corps places them to uphold the institution. When you uphold the institution for terror mongerers, anti-Peace Corps and anti-folks who threatened volunteers at their site, when you protect the rapist and when you back up a doctor or nurse who regularly misdiagnoses people just for the institution, you violate volunteer rights and help the perpetrators.

Your situation was obviously very painful and unfortunate. I'm sure the entire RPCV community would support me in telling you no one wished ill events on you or your family, and we're all sorry for your pain.

Susan wrote: We are a community of caring people who support one another and the goals and mission of the agency.

I don't agree. and most of the separated volunteers who feel they were wrongfully separated due to safety, health or administrative abitrary and capricious actions would disagree with you. If volunteers really cared then attrition rates would be between 5% to 10 percent. not forty five. 30% avg is not true and we will never believe those numbers produced by Peace Corps.

Susan: I've seen the Peace Corps evolve through the Clinton and Bush years.

I have too from serving seven months in the Clinton White House. I watched them choose Chuck Baquet and Carol Bellamy. Many Volunteers fell under their watch. Watch is what they did too.

Publicly Protested the Clinton tactics and cut ties with those people who supported his type of Peace Corps. Tsongas would have been a better President and Baquet who worked in Ethiopia would have never been director under Tsongas(Ethiopian Volunteer)and he knows it.

Then Baquet continued his nonesense with his staffers through your friend Lloyd Pierson who lost a few more volunteers as they did nothing,should continue on....

Susan Wrote: Volunteer safety is a non-partisan issue we all support.

The Victims of the 1990's and into present would disagree with you both.

The infrastructure is there for volunteer safety.

Where are the two volunteer serving together to make peace corps a safer and more quality program?

Susan Wrote: The annual average of Peace Corps deaths is way below the average of deaths in any urban city in the U.S. Vehicular accidents comprise the majority of these deaths.

This is what you listened to from other staffers and has been the wrote Peace Corps inside staffer's line since these increases in violence toward volunteers started. This is real rubbish. Who started to tell you these things young lady, consider your source, really consider your source.

The Comparison is apples to Oranges. We were selected to serve our government and the world in a unique fashion. This also down plays the lives and contributions made by volunteers who have been victims of violence.

Susan Wrote: As for attacks, such as robberies and rapes, this occurs, and it's quite common.

If it is so common then work to eradicate it. It increases when no attention is put on it or you blame the victim for serving in Peace Corps.

Much of this has to do with the nature of living overseas in a poor and developing country.

What has to do with living in a developing country? So this is what we should expect, come on Susan.

No matter the extent of training and support each and every volunteer receives, this will never go away.

There will always be problems, but it how you handle them as staffers and volunteers that will make the real difference. When people blame volunteers you help the robber, the rapist and perpetrator.

The infrastructure for volunteer safety and security is in place, however.

Wait a minute, no it is not in place, families are calling my home asking me if sending a volunteer out alone to a family who doesn't like americans or Peace Corps is safe. What do you say to that? Contact Peace Corps so they can blame you and either psycho vac you or make you early terminate through there "adjustment" tactics. Two Volunteers is prevention from my perspective.

Susan Wrote: It is largely up to each volunteer to follow their training and lead safe lifestyles in their communities.

It is up to Peace Corps to ensure safe housing and supervise properly.

Susan Wrote: There will be unfortunate events on occasion where a country director wasn't sensitive to the needs of a volunteer.

Then where are the corrections Susan? The Directors get promoted and rewarded for stepping on other volunteers both by Peace Corps and in the non-governmental world. The Country Director's make stuff up half the time to fire people. Where is the volunteer's rights?

Susan wrote: Mistakes happen.

Mistakes can be corrected easily. and you know it.

Susan wrote: However, to try to destroy an entire institution that means so much to this country and the rest of the world is not the right approch to addressing these problems when they occur.

Don't try Soap box anybody with that kind of fear mongering. To destroy human dignity and rights is another matter. To put people at risk for the sake of the sacred cow is an insult to our individual rights from every town and city we come from in the states. What is huring the entire institution are the staffer's who can't accept responsibility for lieing about other's experiences and at the expense of their service.

I am glad you had a chance to make money in the Director's office.


My best to you,


By Isaiah 1:16-17 ( - on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit Post

An apology is a very good start. But unless regret is genuine, it will not result in a change of action. The apology from 'Susan' is coupled with the same tired rhetoric vilifying volunteers and dodging responsibility for administrative competence. This deeply ingrained culture of hostility towards the volunteer is Peace Corpsí greatest obstacle to resolving safety issues. With Peace Corps, the sum of the parts is less than the whole.

By daniel ( - on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 8:56 am: Edit Post

Thank you Isaiah,

You are right on. There are alot more situations of safety that are and were not handled correctly.

You are right, they will continue to point there fingers as to not look at themselves when these situations are and were occuring. They think by serving the the institution as a staffer puts them above "doing the right thing in terms of policy and hanlding individual cases." The institution is brought down by see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil.

The fact remains thousands of families have been damaged by bad programming, bad policy, bad follow through, horrible after service health care,and especially through the decisions of callous and abitrary staffers. These staffers ought to be held accountable. These staffers ought to be audited to see who was in charge or who fired volunteers and do a GAO report on them. We ought to have a GAO report the Doctors Peace Corps hires and how many people they wrongfully fired.

Any institution is only as good as its people and its actions. When the world changes, the organization must change with it and Peace Corps is not changing with the circumstances of the world. The immediate safety matters being implemented are "half baked" and not geared toward the volunteer but staff (bulk) and Staff (Tenure)not the real safety of the volunteer on the ground.

However, they won't change and the blaming will continue. We can't change that either. Volunteers who served without an incident see the world through "Rose colored glasses" and ask us see the same experience they had no matter what the circumstances. They want us to overlook death and violence to volunteers.

They continue to ask us "to take one for the team", when the only team they see begans in "I". To be wrongfully separated, be blamed for a rape, be blamed for joining and serving in Peace Corps. Don't forget it was "our fault", for our circumstances in Peace Corps.

When you continue to "screw" families and lie to families, the institution is brought down.

The Staffers should be honest with the institution and stop wrongfully terminating Good serving volunteers just because they had an incident or were placed in a bad situation.

The Peace Corps needs to aologize and compensate these people and families they have disserved.

The Peace Corps family does not care what they have done. If they did this discussion would not be happening. Don't patronize and add insult to injury.


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