French minister criticizes US aid role in Haiti
International News (Pakistani Newspaper), Monday, January 18,
PARIS: The United Nations must investigate and clarify the
dominant U.S. role in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, a French minister said
Monday, claiming that international aid efforts were about helping
Haiti, not ``occupying'' it.
U.S. forces last week turned back a
French aid plane carrying a field hospital from the damaged, congested
airport in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, prompting a complaint
from French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet. The plane landed safely
the following day.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
warned governments and aid groups not to squabble as they try to get
their aid into Haiti.
``People always want it to be their plane
... that lands,'' Kouchner said Monday. ``(But) what's important is the
fate of the Haitians.''
``This is about
helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,'' Joyandet, in Brussels
for an EU meeting on Haiti, said on French radio.
weekend incident, some 250 Americans were flown to New Jersey's McGuire
Air Force Base on three military planes from Haiti. U.S. forces
initially blocked French and Canadians nationals from boarding the
planes, but the cordon was lifted after protests from French and
The U.S. military controls the Port-au-Prince
airport where only one runway is functioning and has been effectively
running aid operations. However, the United Nations has stepped forward
to take the lead in the critical task of coordinating aid.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday the U.S. government had
no intention of taking power from Haitian officials. ``We are working to
back them up, but not to supplant them,'' she said.
he expects a U.N. decision on how governments should work together in
``The U.N. is working on it,'' Joyandet said, adding that
he hopes ``things will be clarified concerning the role of the United
Both nations have occupied Haiti in the past.
France occupied Haiti for more than 100 years, from 1697 to independence
in 1804 after the world's first successful slave uprising. More
recently, U.S. Marines occupied the country from 1915to 1934 to quiet
Chavez: US uses earthquake to occupy Haiti
Press TV, Mon, 18 Jan 2010 06:46:25 GMT
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of
taking advantage of the deadly earthquake in Haiti to occupy the
Chavez on Sunday scoffed Washington's move to
send thousands of American soldiers to Haiti, describing them as
"Marines armed as if they were going to war."
"There is not a
shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field
hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on
his weekly television show.
"They are occupying Haiti
undercover," he warned.
The Pentagon says it has deployed more
than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake.
This comes as US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took
control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday.
"On top of that, you don't see them in the streets. Are they picking
up bodies? ... Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I
haven't seen them. Where are they?" Chavez went on to ask.
Chavez's remarks echo those earlier made by Nicaraguan President Daniel
Ortega who on Saturday expressed "deep concern" over the US deployment
of troops in Haiti.
The US has been accused of interfering in
Haitian internal affairs in the past. The US military played a role in
the departure of the former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide before his
second term was over in early 2004. Aristide has described his departure
as a kidnapping.
Despite the sharp criticism, Chavez said he did
not mean to diminish the humanitarian effort made by the United States
and was only questioning the need for so many troops.
Venezuelan president promised his nation would send as much gasoline as
needed for transport and producing electricity in Haiti.
has sent several planes with doctors, aid and some soldiers to the
island state and a Russia-Venezuela mission is due to leave for the
stricken country on Monday.
Last week's 7.0 magnitude earthquake
in Haiti is estimated to have left some 200,000 people killed and more
than 1.5 million others homeless, with at least 70,000 bodies collected
from the rubbles so far.