French Official Accuses U.S. of “Occupying” Haiti

Just a day after the Chavez claim, a French official is now accusing the United States of “occupying” Haiti and turning away relief supplies. French minister in charge of humanitarian relief Alain Joyandet made the allegation after having an argument with a U.S. commander over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.

“This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,” Joyandet said. Joyandet is a French politician who was previously appointed Minister of State for Cooperation and Francophony. He is a journalist by training.

Once again, the allegations of occupation are, in my view, utter nonsense. Troops are being sent in because gangs are taking over the streets of Haiti. There was already a serious gang problem in Haiti before the earthquake and now they are roaming the streets with machetes and chasing away relief workers.

There are probably some legitimate objections to the priority given flights. Some relief planes have been sent to nearby islands as controllers try to manage one of the largest relief operations in history.

Joyandet’s request to “clarify” the American role may also reflect a valid objection that we have simply taken over the airport without authority. However, the U.S. management makes a lot of sense. We have more experience and more resources — and time is of the essence. It seems to me that Joyandet is a bit put out, but no one else appears able or willing to manage this mess. The local government is in shambles and the prime minister has been accused of virtually disappearing from the island.

However, I am very concerned about accounts from various NGOs that we are turning away vital supplies. I also agree with Joyandet that there should be a clear understanding on the primary management of the effort.

Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has made similar claims against the U.S. for turning away supplies — tons of needed medicine and food.

For the full story, click here.

23 thoughts on “French Official Accuses U.S. of “Occupying” Haiti”

  1. mespo727272:

    You’re right. Neither of them have ever been right. About anything! Thankfully, we (the U.S.) are always right, even when we’re wrong. Like when the U.S. invaded Haiti in 1915, to protect the interests of National City Bank of New York, the principle U.S. investor in Haiti. The Haitians wanted to print their own money, you see. Can’t have that. We had National (City Bank of New York) interests to protect. So the Marines went in and stayed for 19 years. It was the right thing to do, fighting for democracy and all.

    Sorry for the snark but … it’s prudent to be suspicious of all military mobilizations. And this is one, too. Agreed?

  2. I think it would make much more sense to have the country occupied (temporarily managed) by an international organization than by any one country. Then each government (Venezuela, France, USA) can offer their contributions (money, medicine, food, guns) and the specialized organization can make the most of it. Nobody gets accused of taking over a country, and if the organization turns down a plane of supplies, it will be clear that it was in order to give priority to another, more urgent plane of supplies.

    Charles Rinehart, WW2 was over 50 years ago, you and I weren’t even born. Might be time to move on?

  3. My guess is that the French official was frustrated after not getting anywhere with the US commander and resorted to a little hyperbole. I think it is blown out of proportion here. Also, there obviously is a significant problem if relief supplies are being diverted to other islands. However, managing the airport right now must be a nightmare – I read somewhere that there are usually 3 flights a day there and now there are 200. Even if those numbers are off a bit, I am sure the situation is chaotic and not easy to manage.

  4. I wonder how much domestic pressure these various politicians are getting to magically extract missing nationals? On the Today show in the US we have the families of some missing students in hysterics about how President Obama MUST send hundreds (“five hundred, A THOUSAND!!!”) troops to the posh Hotel Montana. (That hotel has already received disproportionate attention from international rescue crews, who have apparently decided that other locations were now higher priorities.) I have a huge amount of sympathy for those parents of missing children, but all they care about in their statements is focusing on their situation.

    My suspicion is that governments around the world are facing this sort of “criticism” from the families of people missing in Haiti, and that US management of the situation provides a wonderful scape goat.

  5. First responders couldn’t care less about politics. They have one priority.: save lives.

  6. Bdaman13,

    You are good. Now you are officially the resident troll. I do wish Buddha were around to defend the honor of the Turley Blawg.

  7. Thanks mespo55373705 I should of known to google search that stat prior to my post.

  8. Tio:

    “Don’t be too awfully surprised when, ten years from now, everything said by those crazy conspiratorialists like Chavez and the French turns out to be true.”

    ****************

    The next time they’re right about Haiti will be the first time.

  9. foo,

    How is the studying going? How was last semester?

    I do agree that it should be re-built by local talent.

  10. Haiti has been under a de-facto U.S. occupation since the Bush administration orchestrated coup of 2004. Don’t be too awfully surprised when, ten years from now, everything said by those crazy conspiratorialists like Chavez and the French turns out to be true.

  11. Port-au-prince will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. If we’re smart, we’d hire and use as much local talent and materials as possible.

  12. Bdman:

    “I think this is becoming a trend. 4 earthquakes different locations all in one week.”

    *******************

    Sorry Chicken Little but the sky isn’t falling and the earth isn’t floating away. We have about 140 6.0+ earthquakes per year or around 2.5 to 3 per week. Some years more; some less. Deaths per year are relatively stable and the worst seismic years were in the early 1900’s.

    If you want the data, they are found at:

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/other/quake1.html

  13. The difficulty lies in the fact that this earthquake is not a disaster, it is a total disaster. There is no viable infrastucture left – roads are blocked by rubble, no running water, no delivery of food, etc. The UN peacekeeping mission, which usually would be in the lead, was devastated by the earthquake. There are 200,000 bodies out there rotting away. The government of Haiti, ineffectual in the best of times, is not able to mount any semblance of command and control.

    So who has the most available and the most experienced force large enough to help out? Not France, not Brazil, not the UN… you know the answer. In fact, there is still a problem in that the US military is not taking the lead – they have the horses and the expertise – rather the State Dept., which has very little experience in such horrible conditions, is supposed to organize this whole thing. I suppose that they would do better than Brownie, but GEN Honore would do a better job (and he speaks French.)

  14. Hmmmm. What has France done for the world lately. Nothing last time I checked. Didn’t they roll over and let the nazis walk right into their country in WW2? Do nothing, create nothing, and criticize. That’s so admirable.

  15. I think this is becoming a trend. 4 earthquakes different locations all in one week.

    Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Guatemala coast – USGS 18 Jan 2010 16:01:03 GMT
    Source: Reuters
    WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Guatemala’s Pacific coast near the border with El Salvador on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

    It said the quake, 64.2 miles (103.3 km) deep, was centered 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Guatemala City.

    Earthquake hits off Argentina coast; no damages

    A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Argentina on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but there were no reports of injuries or damages.

    The quake was centered about 220 miles (355 km) southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), USGS said. It struck at 8 a.m. local time (1200 GMT).

    No tsunami warnings were issued by the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center or the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

    “The quake was not felt in Ushuaia and there are no victims or damages,” Hector Varela, an Argentine civil defense official told the Telam state-run news agency.

    (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Americas Desk and Kevin Gray, Editing by Sandra Maler)

    (CNN) — A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday off the Cayman Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

    The 6.2-mile deep quake hit at 9:23 a.m. ET, 40 miles from George Town, Cayman Islands, the USGS reported. George Town, the capital, is on the western shore of Grand Cayman Island.

    There were no immediate reports of injuries in the three-island chain in the Caribbean.

  16. We are not occupiers, we are liberators.

    ORLANDO, Fla. — The American Red Cross says a plan to bring 45,000 evacuees from Haiti to Florida, and 4,000 of those to Orange County, is not set in stone. The Red Cross clarified Friday who could be involved in a plan to move people out of Haiti.

    http://www.wftv.com/news/22242754/detail.html

  17. Perhaps we should turn control over to the French or the Brazilians (who are also upset as they are/were leading the UN troops), and we go build another airport. Lets see how well they do when they actually have responsibility given to them.

    Neither of those countries put in resources anywhere close to what we do for military lift and command and control.

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