Cuba is missing … from US (& Canadian) reports on Haiti
Published on Friday, January 15, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Cuba is Missing… From US Reports on the International Response to Haiti’s
by Dave Lindorff
There are only two US media outlets that have reported on Cuba’s response to the
deadly 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti. One was Fox News, which claimed, wrongly,
that the Cubans were absent from the list of neighboring Caribbean countries
providing aid. The other was the Christian Science Monitor (a respected news
organization that recently shut down its print edition), which reported
correctly that Cuba had dispatched 30 doctors to the stricken nation.
The Christian Science Monitor, in a second article, quoted Laurence Korb, former
assistant secretary of defense and now based at the Center for American
Progress, as saying that the US, which is leading the relief efforts in Haiti,
should "consider tapping the expertise of neighboring Cuba", which he noted,
"has some of the best doctors in the world–we should see about flying them
As for the rest of the US media, they have simply ignored Cuba’s role and
In fact, left unmentioned is the reality that Cuba already had over 400 doctors
posted to Haiti to help with the day-to-day health needs of this poorest nation
in the Americas, and that those doctors were the first to respond to the
disaster, setting up a hospital right next to the main hospital in
Port-au-Prince which collapsed in the earthquake.
Far from "doing nothing" about the disaster as the right-wing propagandists
at Fox-TV were claiming, Cuba has been one of the most effective and critical
responders to the crisis, because it had set up a medical infrastructure before
the quake, which was able to mobilize quickly and start treating the victims.
The American emergency response, predictably, has focused primarily, at least
in terms of personnel and money, on sending the hugely costly and inefficient US
military — a fleet of aircraft and an aircraft carrier — a factor that should be
considered when examining that $100 million figure the Obama administration
claims is being allocated to emergency aid to Haiti. Considering that the cost
of operating an aircraft carrier, including crew, is roughly $2 million a day,
just sending a carrier to Port-au-Prince for two weeks accounts for a quarter of
the announced American aid effort, and while many of the military personnel sent
there will certainly be doing actual aid work, delivering supplies and guarding
supplies, many, given America’s long history of brutal military/colonial
control of Haiti, will inevitably be spending their time ensuring continued
survival and control of the parasitic pro-US political elite in Haiti.
Otherwise, the US has basically ignored the ongoing day-to-day human crisis in
Haiti, while Cuba has been doing the yeoman work of providing basic health care.
But that’s not a story that the American corporate media want to tell.
Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is author of
Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the
For-Profit Hospital Chains (BantamBooks,
1992), and his latest book The Case for
Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press,
2006). His work is available at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net.]