Mixed Feelings For Haitians as US Troops Ramp Up Operations

History of Occupation, Aggressive Tactics Have Many Haitians Concerned

Desperate though they are in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake, many in Haiti are expressing disquiet at the growing American military presence in the nation, ostensibly there for humanitarian purposes.

It’s an occupation. The palace is our power, our face, our pride,” as one Haitian was quoted by AFP. Some 50,000 homeless Haitians are camping in a square near the palace, which was taken over by American troops earlier today.

With food and medical aid still in short supply, thousands of US troops in full combat gear have arrived in the country, seizing the airport, presidential palace and the main hospital, part of President Obama’s ‘swift and aggressive’ campaign in the nation.

The US troops maintain they are there solely for humanitarian purposes, but with the long history of American meddling in Haiti, including a multi-decade occupation, has many skeptical, particularly with so many reporting the troops handing out orders, not aid.

For the most part though, Haitians are taking a wait and see attitude, hoping that the US presence is short term and that the aid will start pouring in soon. That patience is likely to be pretty thin, especially given the disastrous situation on the ground.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.