Cuba is Missing… From US Reports on the International Response to Haiti’s Earthquake

By Dave Lindorff
January 15, 2010 –

HaitiThere 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 in.”

As for the rest of the US media, they have simply ignored Cuba’s role and actions.

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 focussed 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.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-area journalist. Author of “Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains”, his latest book is “The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office”. His work is available at


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11 thoughts on “Cuba is Missing… From US Reports on the International Response to Haiti’s Earthquake”

  1. ‘Worst human disaster’
    DIRECTOR General of the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Ramesh Lutchmedial, a father of four, was given refuge at the United States Embassy, Port-au-Prince, in the traumatic hours after the devastating earthquake which rocked Haiti on Tuesday.

    Saved by change of travel plans
    An abrupt decision to change his travel plans is the reason Ramesh Lutchmedial survived Haiti’s devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday.

    TT help for Haiti
    Local corporate and public support for victims of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which killed thousands and destroyed homes and public buildings in Haiti continues to pour in as islanders struggle to come to terms with the devastation which took place on Tuesday.

    …T&T rushes to send help
    OCM stations to broadcast 4-hr radiothon

    ‘Culture’ in big Haiti fund drive
    The local cultural fraternity is coming to the aid of the people of Haiti, offering proceeds from various Carnival events to assist the earthquake-hit country.

    Warner: $6.3M not enough
    Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner has expressed dissatisfaction with the relief amount pledged by the Trinidad and Tobago government to Haiti which is in ruins after a devastating earthquake on Tuesday.

    Engineer: TT buildings not quake ready
    BECAUSE of a lack of a uniformly enforced building codes, buildings in Trinidad and Tobago may be at risk of sustaining serious damage and collapse, structural engineer Mark Francois warned yesterday in the wake of the earthquake which struck Haiti on Tuesday.

    T&T 22 years overdue: Not a major quake in decades

    PM: We too must prepare

    Media asked to play its role
    Following the devastating earthquake on Tuesday in Haiti, a Caricom member state, the Association of the Caribbean States’ (ACS) secretary general, Luis Fernando Andrade Falla, has called on the media to play a major role in the networking of such an emergency.

  2. Has anyone besides me noticed that the white people are being rescued and flown out, while the African people are roaming the streets endlessly. Could the Caribben nations send people to rescue African people please? We are hearing that no more rescue planes can land, but planes are taking off with injured foreigners again. The value of Human Life.

  3. Patrick Cockburn: America is failing Haiti – again
    The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity.

    Scrambling to Get Out of Haiti

    Relief trickles in, but not enough

    US takes control of Haiti airport

    Shortages become acute as bodies pile up in Haiti

    Haiti Says 200, 000 May Be Dead, Tensions Rise

    Looters roam Port-au-Prince as earthquake death toll estimate climbs

    Enormity of Haiti quake disaster clear from the sky

    Haiti mass graves receive unclaimed, unidentified bodies

  4. Kind of remind you or Rwanda eh , Ms. L? Remember back then in 94,when Arkansas slick Willie aka ‘America first Black President,’ Bill Clinton was in charge , and a white French Canadian General named was doing everything feasible to save the lives of only his precious European cousins , while Hutus were making mince meat of desperate Tutsis in plain sight . You might recalled how he procrastinated , waddled his hands up his butt, by passing the buck like Pontius Pilate as he awaited directives from comatose P5 States, led by Uncle Sam shivering in fear of another Black Hark Down Somalian like meltdown.
    Don’t you hate it when people abrogate their responsibilities , while hiding conveniently behind stupid bureaucratic jargon ,and pathetic excuses. Imagine if you wish if this tragedy had taken place near the wailing wall in an mentionable country the size of New Jersey ,with the 3rd largest Army in the world, which evolved at poor Yankee taxpaying citizens expense.
    Let’s see ,there was a Marshall plan to rebuild devastated Europe , Operation bomb Milakovic Yugoslavia to stop inter ethnic Serbian/ Muslim killings , and mammoth efforts to halt 500 years of Catholic Irish and Protestant English savagery . What do folks of the African Diaspora have to do to get some love , eh Ms L?.
    Oh yes ,yuppieeee! President Obama , has requested George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to spear head aid efforts in Haiti.
    It could not get more comical , as the agent of change get his grove on, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton strategize and speculate about her 2012 election chances , and his once loquacious VP Biden decides which retirement home he should settle in when he wakes up from his slumber . Now mind you , this was the same Bill Clinton that followed papa Bush and denounce drowning Haitian boat people,and concluded that 800,000 Rwandans massacred in one month did not constitute genocide , and so necessary global interventions like Jews once needed while subjected to Nazis concentration camps barbarism. Now wait a ‘cotton picking minute!,’ the last time I checked ,pseudo Christian G.W Bush according to Kanye West ,could care less about kinky hair Katrina New Orleans residence stranded in dirty water, broken levees, and disappearing local security officials .What’s the message here folks?
    Perhaps it’s time these fancy Caribbean leaders that are always pontificating about expansion ,and unity, to finally put their collective heads together and develop a comprehensive and long lasting disaster strategy, eh? I won’t hold my breath too long for that , however.
    Tell ‘dem’ for me ,that what ain’t reach them, ain’t pass dem, as a wise lady used to say.

    1. WOW WOW WOW, and to think that I was advised to stick to the “mouvelang social comedic politics”, but what is this, I guess it’s the historical facts that would create a better world. Good luck people, we are in good hands.

  5. I think Neal, that you may be wrong about that “French Canadian General”. Memos from his correspondence show that he did everything to help that he possibly could, but one cannot start a massive evacuation project of the indigenous people of a place. Where does one send them? He had to wait on a UN response, and African lives are always rated more cheaply than enyone else except the Dalits, The Australian Aborigines and First Americans- all for the same reason.He resigned after that disaster. His life was shattered by his inability to help more. The UN dropped the ball, just like the Nigerian and American intelligence services dropped the ball when Alhaji Umaru Mutallab went to them to state concerns that his son, Umar Farouk, had become radicalized, and had severed all ties with his family. A report out of Nigeria states that the Nigerian authorities thought he wanted them to track down and bring home a son who was off partying somewhere.Apparently the Americans thought the same. A businessman owning a four million pound home in London, and a palace in Nigeria, wants some two bit cops to find his son and bring him home from partying somewhere in the Middle East? They were really not listening to the father at all, and as a result, a plane almost exploded killing many over American soil.Now, we wring our hands, and I run the risk of my naked old body being exposed on “total body scanners”!

    If siesmologists from UWI monitoring quake activity in the Caribbean had predicted the Haitian earthquake, people would have asked “Who dem? What do they know?” If anyone had noticed the animals running to the hills, people would have thought someone was chasing them to eat them,dogs and all.

    You see, our western/universal eyes are so tinged with colorism and bias that we discount valid information from sources that are African looking.
    When I write, people repond powerfully to my written word(see for today, Jan.17, but if I was saying the same thing on TV people would be turned off by “grannie’s” white hair and dark brown skin. Thus, if I had a message to save the world, I would let my nephew the doctor speak for me, the MD behind his name would grant some authority, or I would let my other nephews, speak as a group for me. Gathered in one place, they are fifteen powerful looking African-originated men. The world is trained both consciously and unconsciously to listen to certain types. In slavery times and after, in TnT, when an African, other than those who got free land, wanted to buy property, he always used a white front man to speak for him. You tink it easy? That must be why Obama sends the Clintons and a Bush to lead the Haitian relief effort for America.For Bush(43), it is atonement for his sins,(Forcefully removing the HAitian electd president,Jean Bertrand Aristide) and a chance to put the Katrina disaster right.

    Meanwhile, my little piece at today, urges giving through UNICEF.Their website has a designation for Haitian relief. They feed the world’s needy children. I wrote a piece about manpower needs, but that may not get out in time.
    In the propagandizing of Hitian Relief Effort, Cuba and Venezuela among the first responders, were left out of the American press reports. Just so you know that you need many sources to get at the truth. Governmental aid agencies play “My dick is bigger than your dick” even while people are dying!Men !

  6. Thank you for publishing this article by Dave Lindorff. I was beginning to feel very alone with my observations. A few days ago, CNN had me shaking my head in disbelief as they spun their tale of American saviours rushing in to fill the dark void. Until their “compassionate” invasion it appeared (at least according to their reports) that all Haiti’s medical needs were being met by the one visibly overwhelmed Jamaican doctor and an indefatigable Haitian medicine man who they claimed was trying to mend a broken arm with vigorous massages.
    “And what about the Cuban doctors – all three hundred of them already working in Haiti!!!” I shouted at the television. “And don’t ignore the fact that Cuba has already sent more!”
    Disgusting, self-serving propaganda!!

  7. CNN must be reading’s pages. They posted today, at least I got it today, a video of a Cuban run hospital in Haiti that they said was “Very well run”. Apparently it is the only one helping the Haitian poor. Spain is collaborating in this effort. Cuba has always been a friend to its Caribbean neighbours.Maybe they should adopt HAiti.

  8. Obama is probably the most centrist president we have had in the last 10 administrations. You need to look at what he is doing and not the way it is spun on TV. The crime here is that Americans have become so hypnotized by the box in our living rooms that we no longer think about the actions of our leaders. Obama is just as plugged into the Military Industrial Complex as Bush was. Obama is continuing almost all of the Bush era policies (except for Nukes and Gays in the Military). He is even expanding Afghanistan and now opening up more oil drilling of all things. Americans need to get informed rather than hypnotized.

  9. Surprise , surprise , though comical to hear that some folks naively believed that he and his adoring Ivey League educated wife was going to use the White house for HipHop parties , basketball clinics and God forbid Hollywood orgies like the Clintons. Thats the way unfortunately the Washingtonian game is played jeremy, and has nothing to do with lower echelon folks fixated to their boob-tubes. Democrats must run as centrist ,and hopefully by the end of their second term if they survive might be able to throw a bone to their liberal friends. Republicans might run as moderates , all caring , then when in power ensure that their power base gets all it’s desires. Using that as a yardstick , GW was not the failed ,bumbling idiot of a President that many misguided felt he was.
    If FDR took America to WW2,Truman drop the Atomic Bomb, JFK & LBJ Escalated the Vietnam wars,Jimmy Carter help push proxy wars as he finance Islamist Ben and company in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Bill Clinton invaded Yugoslavia to save ethnic Europeans cousins , then fell asleep while 800,000 Africans got slaughtered , what are you expecting from the first kinky head Democratic ,President of your country that went to Harvard / Columbia and had a white grandfather that served in WW2?
    Ahh , the insidious impact of ‘The Power Elite!
    Ain’t it interesting that the character that coined your ‘Military Industrial Complex,’ phrase was a WW2 leader of the pack himself, and beneficiary of the system that he pretended to condemn just before giving up power in the White House?
    But as usual , I digress- Obama is a supreme centrist, according to Jeremy. I wonder if we have any centrists in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country?

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