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France, Venezuela, Nicaragua Accuse the US of Occupying Haiti


French minister criticizes US aid role in Haiti

 International News (Pakistani Newspaper), Monday, January 18, 2010  

  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.

In another 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 Canadian officials.

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.

U.S. 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.

Joyandet said he expects a U.N. decision on how governments should work together in Haiti.

``The U.N. is working on it,'' Joyandet said, adding that he hopes ``things will be clarified concerning the role of the United States.''

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 political turmoil.

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 Caribbean country.

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.

The Venezuelan president promised his nation would send as much gasoline as needed for transport and producing electricity in Haiti.

Caracas 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.


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