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Cablegate: Tfha01: Colombia's Largest Humanitarian Effort Ever

VZCZCXRO8039
OO RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHRS
DE RUEHBO #0167/01 0362335
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 052335Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2644
INFO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 000167

SIPDIS
1TFK@STATE.GOV, WHA/CAR FOR V DE PIRRO AND IO/UNP FOR B NARANJO AND M GARUCKIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV ECON PREL MARR KPAO CO HA
SUBJECT: TFHA01: COLOMBIA'S LARGEST HUMANITARIAN EFFORT EVER

REF: BOGOTA 105

1. (SBU) Summary. Colombian assistance to Haiti is ongoing and is
the largest overseas humanitarian effort in the country's history.
The Ambassador and Government of Colombia (GOC) officials
highlighted Colombian assistance to Haiti at a public appearance
with a backdrop of Colombian and U.S. troops loading Colombian
humanitarian supplies onto a U.S. C-130 destined for Haiti. The
Colombian Vice Minister of Health expressed the GOC's willingness
to accept a small number of Haitian patients pending availability
of resources and the resolution of several logistical issues for
the patients and accompanying family members. Colombia offered to
increase its MINUSTAH officers in Haiti from 27 to 35 in response
to a U.N. request for additional MINUSTAH forces. President Uribe
announced plans to attend an UNASUR meeting to address regional
Haiti assistance efforts. Colombian National Police (CNP) General
Oscar Naranjo will travel soon to Haiti at the invitation of the
United Nations; the CNP offered to host 100 children of Haitian
police for one year. End Summary.

U.S. Transports Colombian-Donated Supplies to Haiti

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

2. (SBU) The Ambassador and GOC officials attended an event to send
off a U.S. C-130 destined for Haiti on February 4. The plane
contained six pallets of humanitarian supplies that will be
distributed in Haiti by U.S. forces from Guantanamo. The
Ambassador praised Colombian relief efforts in Haiti and
highlighted ongoing U.S.-Colombia cooperation. He also noted that
the same C-130 had earlier delivered U.S.-donated firefighting
equipment to Palanquero base, one of seven bases identified in the
Defense Cooperation Agreement. The U.S. donation will help combat
forest fires in many parts of Colombia (septel). The event
received extensive media coverage.

Embassy Explores Further USG-Colombia Cooperation

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

3. (SBU) Emboffs met with Vice Minister of Health Carlos Cuervo
Valencia and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on
February 5 to discuss possible transfer of Haitian patients to
Colombia for medical treatment. Cuervo expressed the GOC's
willingness to accept between five and ten Haitian patients pending
availability of resources and the resolution of several key
logistical concerns, including transportation of the patients to
Colombia, lodging, language, and consular issues for the patients
and accompanying family members. He also emphasized that the GOC
has yet to identify how hospitals will be reimbursed for providing
care, with private hospitals more likely to be able to shoulder the
burden. Cuervo agreed to reach out to various health institutions
and provide the Embassy a list of available hospitals, points of
contact, and other information next week.

4. (SBU) The GOC has been discussing other areas of possible
Colombian assistance with the Haitian Interior Minister. The
Colombian Ministry of Interior has drafted a proposal for
post-disaster reconstruction, including a rehabilitation center for
Haitian amputees, school construction, and technical assistance,
sharing its experience from a tragic earthquake in Colombia.
Colombia has committed eight additional MINUSTAH officers in
response to the U.N. request for additional MINUSTAH forces,
raising the Colombian MINUSTAH presence to 35 police. The GOC has
also offered to send 40 additional Armed Forces troops to Haiti.

5. (SBU) The Colombian Air Force had earlier considered
transporting three Haitian patients for treatment in Colombian
hospitals at the request of a Colombian doctor in Haiti. However,
it was determined the patients could be treated appropriately in
Haiti.

BOGOTA 00000167 002 OF 002


6. (U) Haitian exports to Colombia are traditionally not
significant - - approximately $204,000 worth of goods in 2008.
However, Post plans to inquire with GOC trade officials on the
viability of symbolically eliminating or reducing tariffs on
Haitian products entering Colombia.

UNASUR to Discuss Regional Cooperation

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

7. (SBU) Ecuador has reached out to UNASUR countries, organizing a
meeting on February 9 to address assistance to Haiti. President
Uribe plans to attend, but MFA officials told us an official agenda
is still pending.

CNP Offer to Host 100 Haitian Children

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

8. (U) The Colombian National Police (CNP)-- continuing a history
of close cooperation between the police forces of the two countries
-- has offered to host 100 children (aged 7-16) of Haitian police
officials to study at CNP schools in Colombia for one year. The
Haitian children would stay with Colombian host families in police
communities. The MFA reports that legal issues are still being
worked out, but the beneficiaries of the program would be children
of Haitian police with parental permission.

9. (U) The CNP also sent 160 tons of supplies to the Haitian police
as well as 20 police medical personnel to assist police and their
families. CNP General Oscar Naranjo announced that he will be
traveling to Haiti at the invitation of the United Nations within
the next few days.

Ongoing Colombian Aid

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

10. (U) According to the MFA's Office of International Cooperation,
Colombia currently has 111 personnel on the ground in Haiti,
including 20-30 doctors. Moreover, the Colombians have distributed
300 tons of food to 93,000 Haitians through the Colombian Red
Cross. Colombian search and rescue teams rescued three people from
the rubble and returned the remains of 198 Haitian victims to their
families.

11. (SBU) Colombia has sent a total of 2,937 tons of humanitarian
supplies via sea and air, a field medical detachment, police units,
search and rescue teams, and 440 personnel to Haiti. The Colombian
navy ship Cartagena continues to unload supplies in Haiti and will
remain in Port-au-Prince for the next 45 days providing medical
care for Haitians in its sick bays. A second ship, the
Buenaventura, left Colombia on February 4 with 930,204 pounds of
humanitarian supplies. It is scheduled to arrive in Haiti on
February 11.

12. (SBU) SOUTHCOM has officially accepted Colombian military
forces working in Haiti under its support structure to include the
Colombian military field medical detachment. The Colombian
military is looking for a bilingual liaison officer to facilitate
coordination with the U.S. military in Haiti.
BROWNFIELD

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