Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Humanitarian Role in Haiti; January 23-
DE RUEHBU #0060/01 0252007
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 252006Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0358
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000060
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 HA AR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S. HUMANITARIAN ROLE IN HAITI; JANUARY 23-
25, 2010; BUENOS AIRES
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; U.S. HUMANITARIAN ROLE IN HAITI;
01/23-25/10; BUENOS AIRES
1. Press coverage of U.S. relief efforts in Haiti was mostly
positive over the last three days, highlighting the humanitarian
nature of the U.S. role. Local media welcomed the U.S.-U.N.
agreement putting the U.N. in charge of security operations,
following concerns over the use of U.S. troops. State-owned Telam
wire service agency also reported positively on Assistant Secretary
Arturo Valenzuela's remarks that Brazil and the UN are responsible
for Haiti's security and that Washington will only play a
humanitarian role. While one op-ed stated that the U.S. is the
only country in a position to take charge of relief efforts, others
reported that Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez blamed the U.S. for
occupying Haiti, and opined that peace-keeping missions in the
country have been fruitless for the last 17 years. Clarin noted
that the U.S. "sealed its doors to illegal immigrants" from Haiti.
Facebook reaction generally praised U.S. relief efforts. End
PRESS WELCOMES U.S. HUMANITARIAN ROLE
2. Leading circulation Clarin's reporter on the ground, who has
been critical of the U.S. military deployment, on January 23
headlined "Haiti's ordinary life and future in the hands of the
U.S.," stating the U.S. had "no other alternative" but sending
troops as part of relief operations. The article noted an
improving situation in Haiti, highlighting an increased presence of
2. Clarin also welcomed the U.S.-UN agreement whereby the UN and
Brazil will take charge of security in Haiti, with the U.S.
focusing on humanitarian efforts. The agreement came as a result
of "tensions between American soldiers and officials of the
international organization over relief operations." State-owned
Telam wire service agency (01/22) also reported positively on
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo
Valenzuela's remarks that the U.S. would "only provide humanitarian
aid," while Brazil and the UN would be responsible for security
operations in Haiti.
HAITI, A TEST FOR HUMANITARIANISM
AND U.S. LEADERSHIP
4. Clarin ran three op-eds urging Washington to improve
cooperation with other countries and to see the Haiti crisis as an
opportunity to reestablish a positive regional leadership role.
January 25 Clarin carried two op-eds with differing views on the
U.S. leading role. While one dismissed the idea of U.S. occupation
and criticism from Venezuela and Nicaragua and stressed that the
U.S. is the only country in a position to take charge of the
Haitian crisis, the other warned about an eventual U.S.
protectorate, noting that Haiti epitomizes the test of humanitarian
5. A January 24 Clarin op-ed by Fabian Bosoer, political analyst,
termed the Haiti tragedy as President Obama's "9/11." He also
underscored that "the preservation of the U.S. international
leading role will largely depend on how the rescue of Haiti is
6. Rosendo Fraga, political analyst and head of Centro de Estudios
Nueva Mayoria think tank, opined in centrist Perfil that the
success of U.S. relief efforts in Haiti have allowed the U.S. to
"justify the reactivation of the Fourth Fleet, while rejecting
accusations from Venezuela and its allies that it was planning to
occupy the county." Fraga also highlights Secretary Clinton's
visit to Haiti to help coordinate relief efforts with the UN.
PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS SHOULD BE
REPLACED BY STATE-BUILDING MISSIONS
7. January 25 pro-government, left-of-center Pagina 12 echoed
critical remarks from Cuban former leader Fidel Castro that the
U.S. is "occupying Haiti." According to the article, Castro also
criticized the U.S. and UN for "failing to explain the movement of
(armed) forces." A January 23 Pagina 12 opinion piece criticized
peacekeeping missions, arguing that they have been fruitless during
the last 17 years. It says that for real reconstruction of the
country, assistance should be "state-building" oriented instead of
humanitarian. Furthermore, peacekeeping missions should be
replaced by civilian missions with a considerable reduction of the
current 8,000 troops while sending engineers, architects,
physicians, lawyers and public management professionals.
U.S. "SEALS ITS DOORS TO IMMIGRANTS"
8. January 24 Clarin noted that the U.S. has "sealed its doors to
illegal immigrants" coming from Haiti, who would be sent to tents
set up next to the Guantanamo prison in Cuba.
FACEBOOK FANS PRAISE U.S. RELIEF EFFORTS
9. Messages posted by Embassy Facebook fans praised U.S.
humanitarian assistance in Haiti. Messages generally highlighted
the key role the U.S. is playing in organizing the distribution of
food and supplies and medical services.
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