Why is the US military blocking aid to Haiti?

Why indeed?

The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now an American military base and relief flights have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic. All flights stopped for three hours for the arrival of Hillary Clinton. Critically injured Haitians waited unaided as 800 American residents in Haiti were fed, watered and evacuated. Six days passed before the US Air Force dropped bottled water to people suffering thirst and dehydration.

The first TV reports played a critical role, giving the impression of widespread criminal mayhem. Matt Frei, the BBC reporter dispatched from Washington, seemed on the point of hyperventilation as he brayed about the “violence” and need for “security”. In spite of the demonstrable dignity of the earthquake victims, and evidence of citizens’ groups toiling unaided to rescue people, and even an American general’s assessment that the violence in Haiti was considerably less than before the earthquake, Frei claimed that “looting is the only industry” and “the dignity of Haiti’s past is long forgotten.” Thus, a history of unerring US violence and exploitation in Haiti was consigned to the victims. “There’s no doubt,” reported Frei in the aftermath of America’s bloody invasion of Iraq in 2003, “that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.”


Here the Haitian Prime Minister also expresses frustration with the US military:

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Bellerive expressed his frustration with security decisions made by the US military that are hindering the earthquake relief effort.

“Haitians don’t care about the security, they just want the water, food and medicine to get to them … they don’t feel that there is the need for so much security,” he said.


Pilger hints that it has everything to do with the US pursuit of dominance over Haiti and nations like it that drives this:

When I was last in Haiti, I watched very young girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines at the Port-au-Prince Superior Baseball Plant. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. I produced a camera and was thrown out. Haiti is where America makes the equipment for its hallowed national game, for next to nothing. Haiti is where Walt Disney contractors make Mickey Mouse pjamas, for next to nothing. The US controls Haiti’s sugar, bauxite and sisal. Rice-growing was replaced by imported American rice, driving people into the cities and towns and jerry-built housing. Years after year, Haiti was invaded by US marines, infamous for atrocities that have been their specialty from the Philippines to Afghanistan.

Just give the people what they need.


1 Response to “Why is the US military blocking aid to Haiti?”

  1. 1 Doug Bayless January 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Thank you for this blog post.

    I love the generosity of the people of my country (the US) but I’m increasingly concerned as I see the Federal military tied so inextricably to charitable efforts. Even if there are not actually sinister, mercantilist, ulterior motives (as often seems plausible) the net results are still unhelpful.

    US military security concerns, for instance, closed the airports to the LDS Church’s advance humanitarian contingent — adding over two days to their initial fast-start travel. I agree that it doesn’t seem wise, prudent, necessary, or helpful. Too often when you “bring in the big guns” you do more harm than good . . .

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