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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Us Relief Efforts in Haiti

VZCZCXYZ0011
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0034/01 0192257
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 192237Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0333
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000034

SIPDIS
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: US RELIEF EFFORTS IN HAITI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; US RELIEF EFFORTS IN HAITI

SUMMARY

-------

1. All major Argentine newspapers reportedly positively on U.S.
relief efforts in Haiti, echoing President Obama's comments that
they are "the most important in recent time." Media coverage of
U.S. troop deployments also was generally positive, focusing on the
humanitarian nature of the mission as well as the inevitable
security role. Criticism was attributed to other sources, such as
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

2. Most papers noted President Obama's inclusion of Argentina in
the countries he thanked for their cooperation with relief efforts.
TPS received very limited coverage in Argentina, although U.S.
concerns about a wave of immigration were mentioned in several
articles on the deteriorating situation in Haiti. A few articles
also expressed concerns about the effective distribution and
long-term impact of U.S. assistance. End summary.

POSITIVE PORTRAYAL OF U.S. RELIEF EFFORTS...

--------------------------------------------

3. All major newspapers echoed Obama's comments that the efforts
were "the most important in recent time." Most papers cited
comments by U.S. officials that U.S. assistance will be long-term,
citing Secretary Clinton's promise of aid "today, tomorrow, and in
the future." Coverage also praised cooperation efforts between
Obama and former Presidents Clinton and Bush in the creation of the
"Bush-Clinton" Haiti Relief Fund.

4. The media also picked up speeches from other Obama
Administration officials, highlighting U.S. calls for cooperation
with other countries in the region. Centrist "Critica" notes that
UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton would arrive in
Port-au-Prince January 19 to guarantee effective coordination of
the relief efforts.

... AS WELL AS TROOP DEPLOYMENT

-------------------------------

5. Argentine press was generally positively on U.S. troop
deployments to Haiti, stressing the humanitarian mission but noting
that, given the deteriorating security situation, their inevitable
security role. One article noted that Haitians are "pleased" with
the involvement of U.S. troops, who have helped secure supply
planes and patrolled the streets to prevent plundering. More than
20,000 marines will be deployed in the territory to provide order,
in their own style, over the chaos of insecurity and plundering,
centrist Critica reports.

6. The media also reported Southern Command General P. K. Keen
remarks, who detailed that 1,000 U.S. soldiers were already in
Haiti, and the U.S. Army was distributing water and food. Keen was
quoted saying that the U.S. Army would seek to provide a "safer
environment" for the humanitarian aid. The report, in center-right
newspaper "La Nacion," also says 3,500 soldiers will help the
Haitian police in security operations in a coordinated action.
Keen's comments to ABC news were also picked up by "The Buenos
Aires Herald," which again stressed the humanitarian nature of the
mission, while acknowledging that security would be a critical
component.

7. There have been conflicting press reports on the numbers of
U.S. troops sent to Haiti, ranging from 3,000 to 20,000. In an
article with the headline "Marines arrive in the U.S.," Critica
reports that the Haitian airport is "operated" by U.S. military
forces and that U.S. President Obama has authorized the use of
reservists to support the humanitarian mission in Haiti.

CRITICISMS MOSTLY ATTRIBUTED TO OTHERS

---------------------------------------

8. Argentine media quoted criticism from Venezuelan, French and
Nicaraguan officials accusing the U.S. of establishing a military
presence in Haiti. However, there were no opinion articles
supporting these claims. Left-leaning pro-government "Pagina 12,"
quoting President Hugo Chavez with the headline "Marines instead of
doctors," suggests a secret agenda of the U.S., with Chavez stating
that "3,000 armed Marines" had been deployed on the island "as if
they were going to war." "Pagina 12" also reported Nicaragua
President Ortega's accusation that the U.S. was attempting to
install U.S. troops in Haiti.

ARGENTINE HOSPITAL: POTENTIAL GOOD NEWS

STORY FOR U.S.-ARGENTINE RELATIONS?

-----------------------------------

9. A correspondent from "Clarin" sent to Haiti on special
assignment reported that the Argentine mobile hospital in
Port-au-Prince was the only operational hospital immediately
following the disaster. According to the correspondent, the
hospital, had been purchased from the U.S. and sent to Haiti before
the earthquake to provide medical care to the UN mission in Haiti.
(Note: OFDA and Southcom provided the hospital with a potable
water plant on January 17 to enable it to continue operations.
Embassy sent a press release announcing this assistance on January
18. End note.)

http://www.clarin.com/diario/2010/01/16/elmun do/i-02120924.htm

PRESIDENT OBAMA THANKS ARGENTINA

-----------------------------------

10. Several papers, including "Clarin" and "La Nacion," the two
largest dailies, noted that President Obama included Argentina
among the countries he thanked for helping the U.S. with relief
efforts. Perfil (centre-left opposition) highlighted Obama's
comments that the U.S. was working with Argentina, along with other
nations. State-run news agency Telam, in a report picked up by
Clarin, cited California Senator Sam Farr as saying that Obama and
Bill Clinton praised Argentina for being "the first country to
arrive in Haiti, even before the U.S."


http://www.clarin.com/diario/2010/01/16/elmun do/i-02120923.htm


http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1 222975


http://www.clarin.com/diario/2010/01/16/elmun do/i-02120923.htm

IMMIGRATION CONCERNS FLAGGED, BUT SCANT MENTION OF TPS

--------------------------------------------- ---------

11. Several articles reported on the possible deluge of Haitians

seeking entry to the United States. "La Nacion" reported hundreds
of Haitians waiting for visas at the U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince, while Clarin reported U.S. concerns about a "wave
of immigrants that are already knocking on the doors of the
northern country." Only an editorial picked up by La Nacion by
Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald on TPS, praising President
Obama's decision to grant temporary immigrants' status to over
100,000 undocumented Haitians living in the United States.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1 223590

SOME CONCERNS ABOUT AID DISTRIBUTION AND LONG-TERM RELIEF

--------------------------------------------- ------------

12. "La Nacion," while praising U.S. humanitarian efforts and
donations, noted that there is concern over whether those funds
will reach the victims of the catastrophe given the "organizational
chaos." Furthermore, "La Nacion" notes there are concerns over the
real use of the U.S. aid in Haiti, after millions of Americans
noticed that Haiti remains very poor in spite of the aid. "Pagina
12" reported criticisms over the U.S. management of the airport for
delays in transporting aid.

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our

classified website at:


http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

KELLY
KELLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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