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Haitian airport shut for 3 Hrs so Hillary could land

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Witness to a nightmare                 SocialistWorker.org

January 18, 2010

Jesse Hagopian, a teacher in Seattle and contributor to SocialistWorker.org, was in Port-au-Prince with his 1-year-old son to visit his wife when the earthquake hit. His wife, an aid worker, works until the evening on most days, but by sheer luck, she came to the hotel where they were staying early on Tuesday–just minutes before the quake struck at 4:53 p.m. This spared Jesse and his family agonizing hours or days trying to find one another amid the chaos.

Within hours, the hotel where they were staying became known as a place where some medical help was available, because another hotel guest happened to be an emergency medical technician. Jesse got a crash course in treating severe injuries–broken bones, head wounds and more–as people desperate for help kept arriving.

Jesse spoke with Eric Ruder via telephone from Port-au-Prince on January 15 and 16 about the crisis unfolding around him. On Sunday, he and his family were able to travel from Haiti to the Dominican Republic……..

WHAT DO you think of the Obama administration’s response so far?

ON SATURDAY, Hillary Clinton flew into Haiti to oversee the relief effort–supposedly. But I think her trip to Haiti tells you all you need to know: They had to shut down the airport for three hours so she could land, which meant that no actual aid flights could come in.

And this happened at a really critical time, because we’re right at that point where every extra ounce of water matters. At this point, people who have been without water are facing imminent death. But they stopped the aid shipments so Clinton could give a canned speech from Haiti about how much the U.S. is doing to help.

And in any case, the U.S. government is sending more boots on the ground and more guns to help with “law and order.” But this isn’t what the Haitian people need. They need people with shovels, and people to give them water. And of course, “law and order” is threatened by the lack of aid. Emphasizing troops over aid creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that will lead to serious bloodshed….

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Update: see corroboration in comment

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2 Responses

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  1. For corroboration of this event see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6993152.ece

    “Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) complained that it had had five aircraft carrying medical supplies and doctors diverted to the Dominican Republic since Saturday, and that the earliest landing slot it could secure at Port-au-Prince for a relief aircraft supposed to leave today was January 26.

    MSF said that the US military, which is running Port-au-Prince’s airport, had skewed priorities and it declared: “Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying life-saving equipment and medical personnel.” Forty per cent of incoming flights since last Tuesday have been military.

    Alain Joyandet, the French Co-operation Minister, called on the UN to investigate America’s dominant role in the relief effort and protested: “This is about helping Haiti, not occupying it.”

    Aid officials in Haiti complained of the lack of co-ordination between the UN, the US and aid agencies and were enraged when the airport was closed on Saturday so that Mrs Clinton could visit. “I don’t really know who’s in charge,” said Benoît Leduc, MSF’s operations manager in the capital. “

    laudyms

    January 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm

  2. Good points!

    hungover

    January 25, 2010 at 2:13 am


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