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Focus on Haiti: Washington's Militarized Takeover - Page 2

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Focus on Haiti: Washington's Militarized Takeover
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So far, Venezuela alone has sent fuel, 616 metric tons of food, and 116 metric tons of equipment, including water purification systems, electrical generators and heavy equipment for moving rubble, Chavez saying:

"The Venezuelan people (will do more and) will donate all the fuel the Haitian people need. We are coordinating with the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, who put the terminal of the refinery of his country at our service."

Chavez later announced that another five ships loaded with food and medical supplies left for Haiti on January 19 with Venezuelan soldiers on board to "protect the safety of everyone, but not to militarily occupy (the country) as the US intends to do."

Venezuela and other ALBA nations (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) pledged generous aid, additional shiploads already sent carrying thousands of tons of food and other supplies.

America's Response - Occupation, Not Aid

In a show of strength, US paratroupers took control of the Presidential Palace, symbol of the nation's sovereignty, wanting it for a command center, and angering one Haitian to say:

"I haven't seen the Americans in the streets giving out water and food, but now they come to the palace."

From another:

"It's an occupation. The palace is our power, our face, our pride," now taken, occupied, a deep humiliation  while critical needs go begging.

Besides control, security is top priority, never mind how calm, resilient, compassionate, and committed able Haitians are to help, asking no more than for vital supplies to survive at a time they can't provide them on their own. Yet Keen claims:

"incidents of violence (are) imped(ing) our ability to support the (Haitian) government and answer the challenges that this country faces as they're suffering a tragedy of epic proportions," one America exacerbates along with repressive MINUSTAH forces, to be reinforced with thousands of additional troops.

In separate incidents, they fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd close to the Port-au-Prince airport, and Hatian police did as well against civilians in the city center. Another report said police were shooting Haitians and letting them bleed to death in the street.

"We don't need military aid. What we need is food and shelter," shouted one man at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his one-day visit with officials and UN forces, not to assess the tragedy and direct massive aid to address it.

Arriving on January 17, he left the same day, an appalling display of arrogance and indifference. During a photo-op near a tent city, he was heckled by angry crowds demanding help from the international community. Instead he said:

"Coordination will improve as we are better organized. Deliveries are now being made in a more effective and efficient manner."

In fact, they're being obstructed and prevented from landing, and much getting in is stacked at the airport, not delivered or delayed. The result is death,  devastation, and human suffering everywhere while  Ban, Hillary Clinton and husband Bill come for photo-ops and shameless comments like the former president saying:

"There was an extraordinary amount of time devoted to try and dig through those buildings to try to find living and dead."

If fact, no heavy equipment was delivered. UN and US troops didn't help, and Haitians had to use small implements and their bare hands to rescue a bare handful of people on their own while perhaps hundreds of thousands perished.

At the same time, desperation grows, arousing one woman to say:

"I have been here every day. I heard they gave away some food but there was a riot....we have been on this spot since the day of the earthquake and we have not seen anyone give away anything but water," and not enough.

Another man shouted:

"Have we been abandoned? Where is the food?"

Head of mission of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Michelle Chouinard, described their enormous challenges:

-- limited supplies of everything;

-- extreme crush injuries, partial amputations and open fractures;

-- people in severe pain with festering wounds;

-- a young man, typical of others, with a traumatic crush injury; he was young and strong, but his leg was dead and had to come off;

-- gangrenous limbs removed to save lives;

-- after surgeries, patients can't go home; they have none and need care - to prevent infections, change dressings and control pain;

-- many amputees and the paralyzed need lifelong care, but from where, by whom, and the numbers are so great it's impossible to help everyone;

-- thousands of children have been orphaned;

-- shocked, traumatized people are everywhere;

-- the number of people needing surgery is overwhelming; teams work under makeshift conditions around the clock with inadequate supplies running out as well as enough fuel for refrigerating medicines; and

-- people are dying and will die without essential treatment, and for the seriously ill, survival depends on leaving Haiti for what's not available internally - but Washington is blocking Haitian citizens from leaving, even parents whose children are US citizens; they can go, not their parents.

Two million or more are homeless, living on streets or, if lucky, in tents. Partners in Health, (with 25 years experience providing healthcare to Haitians), estimates 20,000 are dying daily from lack of surgery and essential treatment. The human tragedy is incalculable. Tens of thousands of bodies get dumped in mass graves like garbage.

MSF's Dr. Greg Elder fears:

"The next health risk could include outbreaks of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, and other diseases among hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor or nonexistent sanitation."

On January 20, even The New York Times reported that:

"....people (are) writhing in pain (in squatter camps around the capital), their injuries bound up by relatives but not yet seen by a doctor eight days after the quake struck. On top of that, the many bodies still in the wreckage increase the risk of diseases spreading, especially, experts say, if there is rain."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Port-au-Prince General Hospital is besieged by over 1,000 patients needing surgery. "....thousands of injured, some grievously, wait outside virtually any hospital or clinic, pleading for treatment."

BBC correspondents said aid arriving by sea is taken to the airport, "where it is piling up and not being distributed to those who need it." As a result, most Haitians are getting little or nothing. An estimated two hundred thousand or more have died. Many more will perish for lack of help.



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