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Haiti Relief Supplies Sit at Airport--Why?

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Message Grant Lawrence
A recent CNN report highlights the terrible problem regarding the lack of aid distribution in Haiti that has been going on since the quake. The supplies are just sitting at the airport in Port-au-Prince without distribution.

Now it is clear that with the large US military presence in Haiti those troops could be used to help distribute those supplies. The fact that the military is not being mobilized to distribute the aid points to the fact that their presence during this time of crisis is being used to protect the puppet governmental authorities of Haiti and to secure the power structure that runs the island.

Democracy Now reported recently that the 'Red Zones' or high security zones in Haiti were making it hard to distribute aid.

Relief worker Sasha Kramer from a group called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) reported recently on Democracy Now:

"What I've been witnessing here is that the aid actually arrived fairly quickly. So, very quickly, they had ships there with supplies, medical supplies, water. As I understand, there's thousands of tons of food that are available. But the problem that they're having is distribution of the aid.

And one of the issues with that is that large aid organizations working in Haiti, because it's an area that has a State Department warning, there's a lot of regions in Port-au-Prince that are considered red zones that they're not able to go into without very high security restrictions. So when the large aid groups circulate around Port-au-Prince, they're often in sealed vehicles with their windows up, and what this means is that they're not able to develop good relationships with community leaders. Often they don't speak Creole, as well, a lot of their international employees. So when a large disaster like this happens, and they need to be able to get into the neighborhoods to distribute the food, they are afraid to go in, because they don't have the connections they would need in order to keep them safe and distribute the food in an organized manner."

The large military presence in Haiti, which is going to increase, has created tension on the island as Haitians wonder what the US military is ultimately there for. There is also international criticism as aid flights are being diverted so that military aircraft can land on the island.

Reports on the ground in Haiti are that the large US military presence on the island is being used for security rather than aid.

This lack of an effective aid response seems eerily reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina here in the US when supplies and manpower were not mobilized to save lives in New Orleans.

What is even more amazing is that President Obama has tapped former President George W. Bush to help with the Haiti relief effort.

President Bush you may recall, did absolutely nothing for several weeks to help the Katrina victims in New Orleans. It appears the same style of 'Bush Katrina Rescue Effort' is being implemented in Haiti.

"I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash. One of the things that the president and I will do is to make sure your money is spent wisely, former President Bush said.

Well, the Haitian people can't eat and drink cash, but they can use the supplies that are sitting at the airport.

Clearly the United States needs to use the military buildup in Haiti for humanitarian distribution of the aid that sits at the airport. Unfortunately, President Obama is more concerned about protecting US interests in Haiti than with helping to rescue the Haitian people.

The irony and the symbolism of President Obama selecting former President George W. Bush to help in a supposed Haiti Relief Effort cannot go unnoticed. It points to the reality that the United States has implemented a Katrina Style Lack of Relief Effort in Haiti while choosing to use troops and resources to protect US interests in that country.

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