Wednesday, January 13, 2010

State Department Rep Liberates Puerto Rico

From Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley's 1/13 briefing on aid to Haiti:

"A number of countries have come in and offered assistance. I don’t – this is perhaps a partial list, but gives you a sense of the growing international response. This would include Netherlands, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Guyana, Brazil, Canada, Belize, Nicaragua, Cuba, Morocco, the Dominican Republic."

And the first exchange Sec. Crowley had with a reporter following the briefing:

Reporter: I’ve got two things. One, you mentioned Puerto Rico?
Isn’t that part of the U.S.?
Yes, it is.
Do they operate their own search-and-rescue teams?
No, I just have – I have – you are quite right.
Right. Okay. And the other thing is that one of your colleagues, Denis McDonough, was on the one of the networks a little while ago and was talking about how they’re trying to get – how you’re trying to get volunteers, including Peace Corps volunteers, in there. And unless I’m really badly mistaken, and unless the Peace Corps website is completely wrong, the Peace Corps program in Haiti ended in 2005.

So in sum, the State Department is run by a bunch of people who either don't know the history of their own country, or are just so exhausted weaseling Aid Attacks* on Haiti that they can't be bothered to bring "facts" to press briefings.

But for a moment there, Puerto Ricans were allowed to shake off the protectionist US armed forces and run their own show, a new - albeit imaginary - power which apparently was used to extend a helping hand to their Haitian brethren.

While the US is still trying to figure out how many citizens it has living (maybe) in Haiti, Cuba, having stationed hundreds of medical personnel in Haiti over the past 20 years, is pretty much leading the triage efforts in Port au Prince.

So, Cuban generosity versus:

Reporter: Apparently, some medical groups say they aren’t able to go [to Haiti] without clearance from the State Department. Do you know anything about this or whether there’s a line of people for it?
I don’t know anything about that. ----
*A neo-colonial economic trap in which donor countries tie aid packages to needy countries on certain conditions like economic restructuring through privatization of state-held resources and industries. This practice serves to further mire the recipient countries in crippling debt and actually lowers the quality of living for most of the citizens of the recipient country though its GDP may rise. Neo-cons/libs love this shit.

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