The people of Haiti have suffered a natural disaster.The US has used this disaster to lauch a military occupation to tighten its grip on Hiati after deposing its democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This has caused the needless deaths of many earthquake survivors ,due to NGO medical supplies being denied access by the US military! What we are seeing is a re-enactment of the hurricane Katrina disaster, where troops where deployed when doctors and rescue workers where needed.
THE RESPONSE OF ANY DICTATOR TO ANY CRISIS??
Send in the clowns,I mean the marines. Just what you need when a disaster has happens ,a person thats been trained to kill and blow things up!!! Why not send in the NGO’s with the proven track record of effectiveness and bringing people trained in healing and constructing useful things!!
President Obama’s response to the tragedy in Haiti has been robust in military deployment and puny in what the Haitians need most: food; first responders and their specialized equipment; doctors and medical facilities and equipment; and engineers, heavy equipment, and heavy movers.
WHERE IS THE CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN? ITS SEEMS WE HAVE REPLACED THE FOOL WITH THE JOKER.OBAMA IN HAITI IS JUST AS USELESS AS BUSH IN NEW ORLEANS. SEND IN THE TROOPS ….TRUELY INSPIRATIONAL! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE TROOPS GO IN?……..PEOPLE START DYING!
Aid flights that have been turned away from Haiti by the American military include flights from:
CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, Médecins Sans Frontieres, Brazil, France, Italy, and even the U.S. Red Cross
Médecins Sans Frontieres writes, with video at the link:
Six Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo planes loaded with vital medical material like antibiotics have been redirected to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This will delay MSF staff’s ability to treat patients who urgently need it.
Port-au-Prince, January 19, 2010 – A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night despite repeated assurances of its ability to land there. This 12-ton cargo was part of the contents of an earlier plane carrying a total of 40 tons of supplies that was blocked from landing on Sunday morning. Since January 14, MSF has had five planes diverted from the original destination of Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. These planes carried a total of 85 tons of medical and relief supplies.
“We have had five patients in Martissant health center die for lack of the medical supplies that this plane was carrying,” said Loris de Filippi, emergency coordinator for the MSF’s Choscal Hospital in Cite Soleil. “I have never seen anything like this. Any time I leave the operating theater I see lots of people desperately asking to be taken for surgery. Today, there are 12 people who need lifesaving amputations at Choscal Hospital. We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations. We are running against time here.”
“It is like working in a war situation,” said Rosa Crestani, MSF medical coordinator for Choscal Hospital. “We don’t have any more morphine to manage pain for our patients. We cannot accept that planes carrying lifesaving medical supplies and equipment continue to be turned away while our patients die. Priority must be given to medical supplies entering the country.”
People who might have lived are already dead and more are in danger. Those who are lucky enough to get surgery may have no morphine to relieve their pain.
While writing this I just saw a clip on Rachel Maddow’s show of US Lt. Gen. Keane being asked about quake survivors camped within 200 yards of the airport who say they have received no aid so far. The General started talking about bringing in troops from lots of countries and ITN reporter Bill Neely had the presence to say they need aid, not troops.
APPARENTLY THERE IS NO VIOLENCE OR UNREST ,SO WHY BRING 12,000 TROOPS AND NOT HELP NGO AID GROUPS?
AMY GOODMAN: There are now, I think it was announced, 12,000 US soldiers. The Venezuelan President Chavez called it an occupation now. What would you say?
DR. EVAN LYON: I think it has real potential to be an occupation. If there are 12,000 soldiers here, it is an occupation. I’ve not known of any violence at the hands of the American military. We’ve also just barely had the beginning of collaboration with them, literally within the last thirty minutes. General Keane, their operations person, finally showed up here after some time. And the military is helping us secure the grounds. But of course this is an occupation. It’s not a—this is a disaster area. Warm bodies help, but military is potentially very destructive in this environment.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you need? What would be constructive?
DR. EVAN LYON: What we need right now is electricity, water, nurses, surgeons and materials. We have on site right now—we have seven operating rooms up and running. We need about fifteen or twenty within the next twenty-four hours. We have materials to keep the operating rooms going for maybe another twelve hours. Once that runs out, then we’re stuck.
AMY GOODMAN: Soldiers haven’t brought you supplies?
DR. EVAN LYON: Not yet.
… JUST AS WELL THERE IS NO UNREST AS THE US ARMY DOES NOT SEEM TO BE ON THE STREETS EITHER?!?! SO WHAT ARE THEY DOING THERE?
DR. EVAN LYON: This question of security and the rumors of security and the racism behind the idea of security has been our major block to getting aid in. The US military has promised us for several days to bring in—to bring in machinery, but they’ve been listening to this idea that things are insecure, and so we don’t have supplies.
I’m living here in the neighborhood with a friend. I’m staying with some of my Haitian doctor colleagues. We’ve been circulating on the roads to 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning, moving patients, moving supplies, trying to get our work done. There is no security. The UN is not out. The US is not out. The Haitian police are not able to be out. But there’s also no insecurity. I don’t know if you guys were out late last night, but you can hear a pin drop in this city. It’s a peaceful place. There is no war. There is no crisis except the suffering that’s ongoing.
The concern for militarization, the concern for occupation is very real… But the first that listeners need to understand is that there is no insecurity here. There has not been, and I expect there will not be. [h/t b real]
The obvious question is why the US might be interested in occupying Haiti. Cynthia McKinney fills us in on that as well:
OIL !!!!!! WHY ELSE BUILD THE WORLD’S 5TH LARGEST US EMBASSY ON HAITI? … JUST LIKE THE ONE IN IRAQ!!!
Ms. Laurent reminds us of Haiti’s offshore oil and other mineral riches and recent revival of an old idea to use Haiti and an oil refinery to be built there as a transshipment terminal for U.S. supertankers. Ms. Laurent, also known as Ezili Danto of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), writes:
“There is evidence that the United States found oil in Haiti decades ago and due to the geopolitical circumstances and big business interests of that era made the decision to keep Haitian oil in reserve for when Middle Eastern oil had dried up. This is detailed by Dr. Georges Michel in an article dated March 27, 2004 outlining the history of oil explorations and oil reserves in Haiti and in the research of Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin.
“The U.S. plans to use Haiti’s deep water ports either for oil refineries or to develop oil tank farm sites.”
“There is also good evidence that these very same big US oil companies and their inter-related monopolies of engineering and defense contractors made plans, decades ago, to use Haiti’s deep water ports either for oil refineries or to develop oil tank farm sites or depots where crude oil could be stored and later transferred to small tankers to serve U.S. and Caribbean ports. This is detailed in a paperabout the Dunn Plantation at Fort Liberte in Haiti.
“Ezili’s HLLN underlines these two papers on Haiti’s oil resources and the works of Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin in order to provide a view one will not find in the mainstream media nor anywhere else as to the economic and strategic reasons the US has constructed its fifth largest embassy in the world – fifth only besides the US embassy in China, Iraq, Iran and Germany – in tiny Haiti, post the 2004 Haiti Bush regime change.”
US INTERFERENCE IN HIATI HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A WHILE ..IT HAS NOT BENEFITTED THE HAITIANS
McKinney also writes:
For those of us who have been following events in Haiti before the tragic earthquake, it is worth noting that several items have caused deep concern:
1. the continued exile of Haiti’s democratically-elected and well-loved, yet twice-removed former priest, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide;
2. the unexplained continued occupation of the country by United Nations troops who have killed innocent Haitians and are hardly there for “security” (I’ve personally seen them on the roads that only lead to Haiti’s sparsely-populated areas teeming with beautiful beaches);
3. U.S. construction of its fifth-largest embassy in the world in Port-au-Prince, Haiti;
4. mining and port licenses and contracts, including the privatization of Haiti’s deep water ports, because certain off-shore oil and transshipment arrangements would not be possible inside the U.S. for environmental and other considerations; and
5. extensive foreign NGO presence in Haiti that could be rendered unnecessary if, instead, appropriate U.S. and other government policy allowed the Haitian people some modicum of political and economic self-determination.
THE MILITARIZATION OF US DISASTER AND AID RELIEF (or kick a man when he’s down)
And from a Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It is understandable that many African Americans are making comparisons between the militarized character of the U.S. intervention in Haiti’s earthquake disaster and the federal government’s largely military response to the Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, four and a half years ago. It is quite reasonable to conclude that the U.S. government is more concerned about law and order issues than in attending to the immediate needs of desperate disaster victims – especially when the victims are Black. History tells us that U.S. governments regard masses of Black people, first, as potential threats to security, and only second as fellow human beings deserving of assistance. Nevertheless, the heavy-handed militarization of U.S. disaster aid to Haiti should be seen in a larger context. As a matter of established American policy, the military has been assigned prime responsibility for U.S. foreign disaster relief, worldwide.
…US AID FOR AFRICA …AFRICOM ……..THE US AFRIKA CORP…..STILL HOMELESS AND UNWANTED!!!!!
It’s not just disaster relief that has been militarized. The U.S. military command in Africa, AFRICOM, has assumed responsibility for much of the day-to-day duties once performed by the State Department and other civilian agencies. More often than not, the uniformed military is the dispenser of a wide range of U.S. foreign aid in Africa, as part of a general militarization of U.S. relations with the rest of the planet.
AFRICOM Created in February of 2007, launched in October of 2008 and headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany because it couldn’t find a home base in Africa to protect U.S. interest abroad, this entity has been “charged with supporting U.S. military partners in Africa.”
Still NO African country want this “AFRICON” based within their borders. For very good reasons when we see what been going on at the Hiati US Embassy . HQ for coups , covert operations, false flags and training death squads that cover the whole Central and South American area. Expect more false flag operations in Africa to give an excuse and create the climate for a AFRICOM base in Africa,…preferably in a place with lots of oil and natural resourses. Maybe Somalia or Nigeria.
… the fifth largest U.S. embassy in the world sits in Haiti, one of the planet’s most economically unimportant nations. What purpose could it possibly serve, other than as a U.S. military and and dirty tricks base for the U.S. Southern Command – which now decides what gets in and out of Haiti. For all practical purposes, the U.S. Southern Command is the occupying power in Haiti. What we are observing is imperialism in action, under cover of disaster.
SO WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THAT AID MONEY (disasters can be big business)
Haiti government gets 1 cent of U.S. aid dollar
Another 33 cents is going to the U.S. military for security and search efforts
Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this:
42 cents for disaster assistance,(private companies)
33 cents for U.S. military aid, (military budget)
nine cents for food (Gov.selling state surplus),
nine cents to transport the food,(private companies)
five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts,(bribes?)
just under one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.
USAID THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC WEAPON
In August 2007, one of the biggest and best-known American charity organizations, CARE, announced that it was turning down $45 million a year in food aid from the United States government. CARE claims that the way US aid is structured causes rather than reduces hunger in the countries where it is received. The US budgets $2 billion a year for food aid, which buys US crops to feed populations facing starvation amidst crisis or enduring chronic hunger.
CARE’s 2006 report, “White Paper on Food Aid Policy,” points out that the current food aid program is motivated by profit rather than altruism. The policy, which dictates that donated money be used to purchase food in the home country, results in a program driven by “the export and surplus disposal objectives of the exporting country” and not the needs of people in hunger.
The US policy implements the practice of monetization, a food aid policy in which the US government buys surplus food from American agribusinesses and ships it via US shipping lines
A policy that puts local farmers out of commission and undermines agriculture in developing countries becomes part of a process by which those countries lose the means to develop—and thus grow more dependent on the stronger and more dominant nations. These countries become more vulnerable in every sphere, not only economically but politically as well. The result is likely to be more hunger and less sovereignty as countries are tied ever more tightly to the world market.
The European Union has also been critical of the US food aid program.The UN World Food Programme, the largest distributor of food aid in the world, has rejected the practice of monetization and does not allow its grain to be sold by NGOs.
THE OCCUPATION OF HAITI
FIRST CREATE THE CIVIL UNREST
When the Bush administration withheld aid to Haiti intended to fund water and sanitation projects designed to improve “the quality of life—particularly for women and children—and to reduc[e] incidence of disease and child mortality,” it did so in a country that according to Washington DC-based International Action, is where “water is the leading cause of infant mortality and illness in children . . . Haiti now has the highest infant mortality rate in the western hemisphere . . . [and] more than half of all deaths in Haiti were due to water-borne gastro-intestinal diseases.”
documents show that IDB and US Department of Treasury staff sought ways to tie the loans’ release to unrelated political conditions that US leaders wanted the Haitian government to comply with. This intervention was in direct violation of the IDB’s charter, which bars the Bank from basing decisions upon the political affairs of member states.
Despite the report released in June by the RFK Center which labeled the action as “one of the most egregious examples of malfeasance by the United States in recent years,” and the internal US Treasury Department documents released in August that prove the blocking of the loan was politically motivated, there was a virtual media blackout of the findings. The New York Times published a 487-word article (“Rights Groups Assail US for Withholding Aid to Haiti, Citing Political Motives,” June 24, 2008) covering the release of the report, but it never followed up. And despite admitting that the Bush administration was displeased with former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and that President Bush encouraged the coup that removed Aristide from office in 2004, the Times was either unable to, or refused to, recognize that the blocking of aid may have been a deliberate action to create a climate that would cause political and social unrest—conditions that could encourage parts of the Haitian population to acquiesce to an overthrow of their democratically-elected government. But this was something Jeffrey Sachs, former advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, recognized. In an article in the Los Angeles Times (“From His First Day in Office, Bush Was Ousting Aristide,” March 4, 2004) Sachs wrote, “US officials surely knew that the aid embargo would mean a balance-of-payments crisis, a rise in inflation and a collapse of living standards, all of which fed the rebellion.”
NEXT SUPPORT THE COUP TO REPLACE PRESIDENT ARISTIDE AND USE UNREST TO INCREASE THE MILITARY PRESENCE
The US government plans to expropriate and demolish the homes of hundreds of Haitians in the shantytown of Cité Soleil to expand the occupying UN force’s military base. The US government contractor DynCorp, a quasi-official arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, is responsible for the base expansion. The base will house the soldiers of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH). Cité Soleil is the most bullet-ridden battleground of the foreign military occupation, which began after US Special Forces kidnapped and exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. Citizens have since been victimized by recurring massacres at the hands of MINUSTAH.
DynCorp’s $5 million contracts include expansion of the principal base, the rebuilding of the Cité Soleil police station and two other militarized outposts, as well as training support and procurement of equipment.
According to Cité Soleil mayor Charles Joseph and a DynCorp foreman at the site, the State Department’s US Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funding for the base expansion—a very unorthodox use of development aid.
Lawyer Evel Fanfan, the president of the Association of University Graduates Motivatd For A Haiti With Rights (AUMOHD), says that about 155 buildings would be razed as the base expansion moves forward. As of March 2009, eighty homes have been demolished. Most of the buildings targeted are homes, but one is a church.
“They started working without saying a word to the people living there,” Fanfan said. “The authorities have not told them what is being done, if they will be relocated, how much they will be compensated or even if they will be compensated.”
Alarmed residents of the area formed the Committee for Houses Being Demolished (KODEL), which contacted AUMOHD. Fanfan put out a press release and KODEL held a press conference.
“MINUSTAH soldiers came to our press conference and told us to get a lawyer to talk to the American Embassy because the American Embassy is responsible for the work,” said Pastor assistant, Eddy Michel.
“Legally, the Haitian government has not authorized anybody to do anything,” said Fanfan. “The Cité Soleil mayor, Charles Joseph, supposedly authorized the construction, but there is no paper, no decree, no order which authorizes it.”
On March 25, 2009 US Ambassador to Haiti, Janet Sanderson, was joined by the head of MINUSTAH, Hedi Annabi, in a ceremony to inaugurate the newly overhauled base, which will house thirty-two Haitian policemen, including a specialized anti-riot counter-insurgency unit, as well as a larger number of UN troops.
A March 31, 2008 a DynCorp press release explained. “Under the Haiti Stabilization Initiative task order, DynCorp International will provide training support for up to 444 Haitian National Police. The task order includes DynCorp International procurement of the Haitian police force’s basic and specialized non-lethal equipment, vehicles and communications equipment. The value of this work is $3 million. DynCorp International has also been tasked to refurbish the main police station in Cité Soleil. This station will function as the primary location for this new specialized unit. The refurbishment work will be more than $600,000.”
The fact that the Bush administration may have caused the deaths of thousands of Haitians by blocking aid for cynical and self-interested political purposes was not a story worthy of coverage by the US mainstream media. Neither was the Bush administration’s role in the violent coup that removed President Aristide, or the fact that selectively rewarding or withholding aid is used as a foreign policy tool in order to influence, destabilize and overthrow governments. But there are media outlets and organizations readers can turn to in order to follow developments like these as they happen. For more information on
Haiti and Latin America, see:
Haiti Liberté, September 4, 2008
Title: “UN Military Base Expanding: What is Washington up to in Cité Soleil?”
Author: Kim Ives
Upside Down World, June 25, 2008
Title: “Bush Administration Accused of Withholding ‘Lifesaving’ Aid to Haiti”
Author: Cyril Mychalejko
Upside Down World, August 4, 2008
Title: “RFK Center Releases Documents Outlining US Actions to Block Life-saving Funds to Haiti”
Authors: RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights
Student Researchers: Elizabeth Vortman, Leora Johnson, and Rob Hunter
Faculty Evaluators: Karen Grady, PhD and Sasha Von Meier, PhD
Sonoma State University
Update by Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights
RFK Center and Zamni Lasante’s investigation published in Upside Down World on August 26, 2008 provides new insight into the role of US officials in stalling loans destined to Haiti. The article contains an overview of documents released by the United States government, after a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) and Zanmi Lasante (ZL). This FOIA request sought to expose the actions of officials at the United States Treasury Department and the Inter American Development Bank to illegally block potentially life-saving social sector loans to Haiti. The public release of the documents marked the end of a years-long battle to expose the United States government’s role.
Despite the article and report, the people of Haiti continue to suffer due to actions taken by the United States, through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The community of Port-de-Paix, first scheduled to receive funds from these loans as early as 2001, still awaits the rehabilitation of its public water system. The delays in disbursement added a new set of obstacles to the existing hurdles faced by development projects in Haiti. The lasting impact of the US interference with the loans is felt most by the young children in Haiti, as they continue to survive without access to safe, sufficient and clean water. However, the release of the FOIA documents and report has created a constructive space for dialogue with the IDB. In the time since the report was released, the IDB in Port-au-Prince has finally and has worked hard to implement the water projects without further delay. While progress on the ground is slow, steps taken since the release of the report finally show signs that water will one day come to Port-de-Paix, and hopefully other parts of Haiti which have sought these resources since 2001.
For more information, see:
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights: http://www.rfkcenter.org/
Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante: http://www.pih.org/where/Haiti/Haiti.html
Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law School:
Or read the entire report at: http://www.rfkcenter.org/files/080730_Haiti RighttoWater_FINAL.pdf.