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Cablegate: Tfha01: Gbrv Continues Disinformation Regarding U.S. Aid To

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RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS CARACAS 000087

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID MOPS PREL PREF KPKO OAS HA VE
SUBJECT: TFHA01: GBRV Continues Disinformation Regarding U.S. Aid To
Haiti

REF: 10 CARACAS 65; 10 CARACAS 51; 10 CARACAS 57

1. (SBU) Summary: During his January 24 television and
radio broadcast, President Hugo Chavez claimed the "Yankees" aboard
the hospital ship, USNS Comfort, were not treating patients
because, "they will not work in the rubble, they will not go into
the poor neighborhoods." Chavez also promoted an ALBA foreign
ministers' meeting to coordinate aid to Haiti during his show.
State run broadcaster VTV broadcast the charge by the Italian
Civil Defense Chief that the United States was confusing military
intervention with humanitarian aid. It also showed a video of
CITGO preparing to send 120 tons of supplies from Miami. Media
reported that a tanker belonging to the state oil company PDVSA
that was carrying fuel for Haiti made port in the Dominican
Republic on January 22. End Summary.

USNS COMFORT

2. (SBU) During the January 24 "Alo Presidente" program,
President Hugo Chavez called the arrival of the USNS COMFORT
"cover" for the U.S. takeover of Haiti and demanded to visit the
hospital ship. "I want to see, because you won't let TeleSur
aboard," referring to the Venezuelan-sponsored regional news
outlet for South America. Chavez accused the COMFORT of having
few patients because the U.S. relief workers "won't work in the
rubble." Chavez lauded Venezuelan/Cuban medical teams for their
fearlessness in the wreckage and criticized the "gringos" for
sitting at anchor in air conditioned comfort and waiting for
patients to come for them. "How will patients get there?" asked
Chavez, "show us the boat."

ALBA TO THE RESCUE

3. (SBU) Chavez boasted about the Cuban/Venezuelan
vaccination program and challenged President Obama to "send
vaccines boy, send vaccines." U.S. servicemen were again
characterized as invaders by Chavez when the Venezuelan leader
suggested that instead of hand grenades and machine guns they
should carry vaccines. Chavez also touted a meeting of ALBA
foreign ministers and their relief plan to treat post-disaster
epidemics, plant crops, rebuild schools and repair infrastructure
for Haiti. He stressed that ALBA would protect Haitian culture
from "the take over by gringo troops," and that "old and new
empires" would have to get their "claws" out of Haiti.

STATE TELEVISION AIMS LOW

4. State run broadcaster VTV and its official website carried
an Italian television interview with Guido Bertolase, head of
Italian Civil Defense, under the headline, Italy: U.S. Aid to Haiti
Ineffective. Although the story includes the quote, "Americans
tend to confuse military intervention with humanitarian aid,"
Bertolase actually calls aid efforts commendable, but was generally
critical of the lack of coordination of all participating agencies.
VTV prominently reported that on January 22, CITGO employees, in
conjunction with the Simon Bolivar Foundation, had sent the first
phase of a 120 ton shipment of tents, cots, blankets and radios to
Port Au Prince from Miami. In fact, as of January 21, the GBRV had
not even requested a landing time in Haiti.

5. (SBU) On January 25, VTV reported that the ALBA
representatives approved a relief plan for Haiti that included the
creation of a humanitarian fund for the island, but no dollar
amount was indicated. Three Haitian power plants are to be
provided fuel through PetroCaribe and the Alba Alimentos initiative
is to help restore food production and distribution channels,
although no budget or details were provided.
CAULFIELD

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