Haitian rescueing stopped prematurely

This video is called Amazing Rescue – Australian News Crew Saves Little Girl in Haiti Rubble.

The Haitian government together with United Nations authorities announced the official end to efforts to rescue people trapped in the rubble from the January 12 earthquake, even as survivors were still being pulled out alive: here.

Fox News is staying silent after bloggers and commentators criticized the news network for a January 13 report on its Web site that stated Cuba was “absent” from global aid efforts in Haiti: here.

2 thoughts on “Haitian rescueing stopped prematurely


    By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
    International League of Peoples’ Struggle
    24 January 2010

    On 12 January 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake shook the Caribbean nation
    of Haiti, its epicenter hitting west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The
    quake and its numerous aftershocks have wrought death and injury to a
    huge number of people and catastrophic damage to their homes and other
    vital infrastructures.

    Current estimates put the death toll to at least 110,000, with some
    estimates saying that up to 200,000 have been killed. About 75,000 have
    already been buried in mass graves but tens of thousands still remain
    buried in collapsed buildings in the capital. Health facilities are
    overwhelmed by more than 250,000 wounded, with shortages of medical
    personnel and supplies hampering efforts to treat them. Estimates
    indicate that more than 2 million people have been rendered homeless,
    billions of dollars worth of public and private infrastructure have been

    The people of Haiti are undergoing incalculably great suffering. We, the
    International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) convey our deepest
    sympathies to the Haitian people for their loss and express our most
    heartfelt recognition of their plight.. We join the people of the world
    in lending our wholehearted support to help ease their suffering and
    call on our member-organizations and allies to extend immediate rescue
    and relief support to the victims in Haiti.

    In the face of the devastation, the people of Haiti have had to rely on
    themselves and have shown heroism in helping each other as they go
    through the rubble, digging with their hands and puny tools to pull out
    what they can of the victims, both survivors and dead. With hardly any
    government or international aid support effectively reaching them on the
    ground despite the speed of information and hype of international
    disaster response, the people have had to rely on themselves for getting
    much needed water and emergency supplies.

    We salute the Haitian people for helping each other. We also praise the
    various private organizations and institutions who have been able to
    extend whatever help on an international scale. At the same time, we
    direct our strongest denunciation against the US government for
    deploying military forces in Haiti instead of the personnel of US
    civilian agencies that are trained and equipped for rescue and relief aid.

    The US government’s first prolonged reaction to the earthquake was to
    send in the US Marines and the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. This is
    the notorious force unit that had invaded Vietnam, the neighboring
    Dominican Republic in 1965, Grenada in 1984, Haiti in 1994 and
    Afghanistan. Under the preposterous pretext of providing security to the
    devastated nation, the US landed and deployed armed soldiers instead of
    civil rescue personnel and equipment, water and food.

    The US military took control of the airport and blocked private relief
    organizations in order to make way for the flights carried soldiers and
    military cargo in the crucial first week after the earthquake.
    Professional rescue teams from many countries were compelled to stay in
    neighboring Dominican Republic or elsewhere, because they were not given
    landing slots.

    A French plane, carrying a fully-equipped field hospital, was prevented
    from landing by the US military. The aircraft of the UN World Food
    Programme was also blocked from landing food, medicine and water for
    three days, because the US gave priority to flights ferrying US troops
    and equipment and evacuating Americans and other westerners. On 18
    January, a US military spokesperson admitted that they have distributed
    a measly 15,000 liters of water and 14,000 meal packs. And they had done
    so chiefly through air drops, prompting the people to complain, “We are
    not animals!”.

    More than ever, the earthquake disaster in Haiti exposes the social
    vulnerability and devastation caused by two centuries of colonial
    slavery, debt bondage and modern imperialism. The capability of the
    people of Haiti to surmount the dire results of such a natural disaster
    has been undermined and debilitated by man-made disasters, inflicted by
    foreign debt, US military interventions and occupation, and US-imposed
    “free market” policies.

    Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere where 80% of the
    population live in poverty. At its peak in 2008, the country’s total
    foreign debt was at US$1.4 billion, about 40% of its GNP. It has been
    spending more in debt service than on medical services to the people.
    Worse still, about 80% of the debt was incurred during the corrupt
    dictatorship of Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier. Ruling under the
    strings of the US government, the Duvaliers plundered and repressed
    Haiti, stashing millions of dollars in their private bank accounts abroad.

    Haiti is currently occupied by UN troops and controlled by a puppet
    government installed after the US military kidnapped
    democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Decades
    of “structural adjustment” programs, under the International Monetary
    Fund and the World Bank, have robbed the nation of the capacity to
    provide social services, produce enough food from the land and develop
    national industries. Since the late 1970s, these US-dictated programs
    have ejected tens of thousands of small farmers from the land and driven
    them to the overcrowded urban slums. A nation previously self-sufficient
    in grains and sugar is now importing rice and sugar, chiefly from the US.

    It is utterly absurd and perverse for the US to invoke security as
    pretext for landing its military forces on a country which has long been
    laid prostrate by imperialist plunder and which just been devastated by
    the earthquake. Natural disasters have become one of the major pretexts
    for US military intervention and occupation in various parts of the
    world. It is the dastardly policy of the US government all over the
    world to militarize its every pretense at aid and relief assistance, to
    gain extraterritorial rights and to make propaganda for the acceptance
    of its military forces.

    The ILPS calls on its member-organizations, its allies and the people of
    the world to extend their solidarity and support for the people of
    Haiti. Emergency support and relief activities by non-military
    organizations must be given full play, to help ease the suffering of
    those most affected. Long-term rehabilitation of Haiti must eventually
    be mapped out together with the Haitian people, in conjunction with
    respect for their national sovereignty and self-government.

    The ILPS reiterates its call for the withdrawal of all US and other
    foreign military forces. We call on the American people to demand an end
    to US military occupation and intervention in Haiti and help reverse the
    course of US-Haiti relations. We can best help Haiti recover from the
    devastation of the 12 January earthquake by supporting the Haitian
    people’s struggle for national self-determination against foreign
    military occupation and economic plunder.###


  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jan/20/haiti-water-us-occupation

    Haiti needs water, not occupation

    “The US has never wanted Haitian self-rule, and its focus on ‘security concerns’ has hampered the earthquake aid response.”

    o Mark Weisbrot
    o guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 January 2010 23.00 GMT

    On Monday, six days after the earthquake in Haiti, the US Southern Command finally began to drop bottled water and food from an air force C-17. US defence secretary Robert Gates had previously rejected such a method because of “security concerns”.

    If people do not get clean water, there could be epidemics of water-borne diseases that could greatly increase the death toll. But the US is now sending 10,000 troops and seems to be prioritising “security” over much more urgent, life-and-death needs. This in addition to the increase of 3,500 UN troops scheduled to arrive.

    On Sunday morning the world-renowned humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders complained that a plane carrying its portable hospital unit was re-routed by the US military through the Dominican Republic. This would cost a crucial 48 hours and an unknown number of lives.

    On Sunday, Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for the UN’s World Food Programme, said: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti . . . But most flights are for the US military.”

    Yet Lieutenant General PK Keen, deputy commander of the US Southern Command, reports that there is less violence in Haiti now than there was before the earthquake hit. Dr Evan Lyon, of Partners in Health, a medical aid group famous for its heroic efforts in Haiti, referred to “misinformation and rumours . . . and racism” concerning security issues.

    We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.

    To understand the US government’s obsession with “security concerns,” we must look at the recent history of Washington’s involvement there.

    Long before the earthquake, Haiti’s plight has been comparable to that of many homeless people on city streets in the US: too poor and too black to have the same effective constitutional and legal rights as other citizens. In 2002, when a US-backed military coup temporarily toppled the elected government of Venezuela, most governments in the hemisphere responded quickly and helped force the return of democratic rule. But two years later, when Haiti’s democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by the US and flown to exile in Africa, the response was muted.

    Unlike the two centuries of looting and pillage of Haiti since its founding by a slave revolt in 1804, the brutal occupation by US marines from 1915 to 1934, the countless atrocities under dictatorships aided and abetted by Washington, the 2004 coup cannot be dismissed as “ancient history.” It was just six years ago, and it is directly relevant to what is happening there now.

    The US, together with Canada and France, conspired openly for four years to topple Haiti’s elected government, cutting off almost all international aid in order to destroy the economy and make the country ungovernable. They succeeded. For those who wonder why there are no Haitian government institutions to help with the earthquake relief efforts, this is a big reason. Or why there are 3 million people crowded into the area where the earthquake hit. US policy over the years also helped destroy Haitian agriculture, for example, by forcing the import of subsidised US rice and wiping out thousands of Haitian rice farmers.

    Aristide, the country’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown after just seven months in 1991, by military officers and death squads later discovered to be in the pay of the CIA. Now Aristide wants to return to his country, something that the majority of Haitians have demanded since his overthrow. But the US does not want him there. And the Rene Preval government, which is completely beholden to Washington, has decided that Aristide’s party — the largest in Haiti — will not be allowed to compete in the next elections (originally scheduled for next month).

    Washington’s fear of democracy in Haiti may explain why the US is now sending 10,000 troops and prioritising “security” over other needs.

    This military occupation by US troops will raise other concerns in the hemisphere, depending on how long they stay — just as the recent expansion of the US military presence in Colombia has been met with considerable discontent and distrust in the region. And non-governmental organisations have raised other issues about the proposed reconstruction: understandably they want Haiti’s remaining debt cancelled, and grants rather than loans (the IMF has proposed a $100m dollar loan). Reconstruction needs will be in the billions of dollars: will Washington encourage the establishment of a functioning government? Or will it prevent that, channelling aid through NGOs and taking over various functions itself, because it of its long-standing opposition to Haitian self-rule?

    But most urgently, there is a need for rapid delivery of water. The US air force has the capability to deliver enough water for everyone who needs it in Haiti, until ground supply chains can be established. The more water is available, the less likely there is to be fighting or rioting over this scarce resource. Food and medical supplies could also be supplied through air drops. These operations should be ramped up, immediately. There is no time to lose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.