US Col. Gregory Kane addressed reporters at the increasingly militarized Haitian airport today to dismiss reports that the United States is in the process of occupying Haiti.
“That’s ludicrous,” insisted Col. Kane, “this is humanitarian relief.” Yet several aid groups have complained that the growing US military presence is actually blocking aid flights into the country and French Minister for International Co-operation Alain Joyandet chided the US over the weekend for acting like an occupying force.
Though domestic media coverage of the military operation has been glowing, with reports of Haitians greeting the Americans as liberators, there is growing international disquiet over President Obama’s pledge for a ‘swift and aggressive’ campaign in the nation. The blocked aid flights have only cemented opposition to the US military taking charge of a humanitarian disaster.
Today the military poured into the ruins of Haiti’s presidential palace, establishing it as an additional base of operations for an American force soon to approach 10,000 strong. For the time being the Haitians are hopeful this will mean a speedy distribution of aid, but if medical aid flights continue to be diverted away from the ruined nation, that hope will likely turn to cynicism.