Saturday, January 23, 2010


That is what investigative journalist Greg Palast is calling the US government's response to the earthquakes in Haiti.

He says the US put security before helping people; that we had soldiers at the airport standing between starving, thirsty people and food and water. They were pointing their guns at these "threatening" people, guarding the supplies that could save their lives. He says U.S. troops also turned away rescue teams from Venezuela and from Doctors without Borders.

Palast says that the US could have been the first there with aid, due to the proximity of Guantanamo and Puerto Rico and Miami. Instead, we dragged our feet while the first help came from far-away Iceland and China.

He says the US has no emergency rescue team or plan, and that the same thing would happen if an earthquake hit Los Angeles.

Read his article, with historical context, here.

Hear the "This is Hell" interview with Palast here. It should be posted later today.

Click here to donate to FINCA - the only major microfinance organization still providing much-needed small loans to desperate Haitian women trying to rebuild their lives. Click here to make a donation to Doctors without Borders. Both organizations are squeaky-clean, according to this website (always check out the organization before making a donation!).


*I suspected that hackles would be raised by the old title, so I took it down. But Palast's research unveils a systemic problem that persists in spite of the recent regime change.


  1. Barrk NoBama3:23 PM

    Why does every limp wrist leftist expect the United States to bail out and be the main vein of 'help' for every stinking country in the world in times of distress?

    We are broke as a nation people.

  2. If you read the article, Dreyfuss, you'd know that the US was (is) part of the problem.

    And as far as I know, Louisiana was (is) part of the United States.

  3. one person's article does not make it true. "Obama's Katrina" is a little hyperbole, no?

    But despite a possible difference of opinion, glad somebody in the yoga-blog world has brought up Haiti...yes give!

  4. hi CK
    there are also articles about how the international community has decried about the US military and they have changed their hours of landing at the airport in order to allow the other countries to arrive with their aid. the effort of Puerto Ricans is not credited in the news at all, but they have been helping in their own right, collecting money and sending food. the Dominican Republic helps too, but they share a common border with Haiti and already do a lot.

    people may not know that the US has greatly reduced its military bases in PR, so it's not like aid is going to come from there from the military arm.

    this has nothing to do with Obama and it saddens me that anyone would label it his New Orleans. Haiti is after all a different country, not one belonging to the union of states. if the US is there helping it is out of the same sense of obligation that other countries feel in helping a fellow nation in need.


  5. Thank you for your comments.

    I changed the title so as not to offend.

    But the fact is that the problem persists despite the regime change.

  6. This article, in the Irish Independent newspaper, also compares the US response to the debacle in New Orleans (not the rhetoric, but the actual response).

    This is not a popular view, but I suspect we will see/hear more about this in the coming weeks.

    The fact is that the US is the biggest, richest country in this hemisphere, and has a greater obligation to help its neighbors.

  7. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Palast lost me when he said "Haiti is the right half of the island". huh?

    Secondly, given how poorly the U.S. handled Katrina, what makes one think it'd be able to handle Haiti (outside U.S. borders) any better?

    Thirdly, Obama has inherited a system which is flawed. Yes, there's been a regime change, but he's inherited the same bureaucracy that has been around for a long, long time. The change needed isn't just at the top- it's needed within the ranks.

  8. Anonymous11:24 PM

    Had this earthquake happened in Canada or France (ignore geographic fault line issues) how would the U.S.'s reaction differ?

    And as far as yoga goes, if we are all one, would it be true to say that the pain of the Haitians is my pain too?

    Is this their karma? I find that hard to understand. How does a yogi address this?

  9. community organizer on welfare2:48 PM