Cuba is Missing-From US Reports On The International Response to The Earthquake In Haiti

Photo taken of Port-au-Prince during a joint Red Cross Red Crescent aerial assessment mission. The devastating destruction that was caused by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti’s capital on January 12, is clearly visible. Photo/Echo International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

There are only three 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.

Another 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. A third was NPR, which mentioned the 30 doctors and also that Cuba had opened its airspace to overflights by US planes bound for Haiti.

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 aid efforts.

In fact, left completely unmentioned is the reality that Cuba already had over 340 doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel posted to Haiti to help with the day-to-day health needs of this poorest nation in the Americas, and that those medical professionals 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.

The corporate media obligingly and uncritically covers the US aid effort. Meanwhile, with the exception of such alternative outlets as Democracy Now! and the magazine Cuba News, Cuba’s contribution is ignored, misreported, or barely mentioned.

An unapologetically Communist nation coming to the aid of a neighbor in need is simply not a story that the American corporate media want to tell.

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist. He is author of Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Common Courage Press, 2003) and The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at

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4 Responses for “Cuba is Missing-From US Reports On The International Response to The Earthquake In Haiti”

  1. Andrew says:

    “An unapologetically Communist nation coming to the aid of a neighbor in need is simply not a story that the American corporate media want to tell.”

    That is so true and equally unfortunate. The help is getting to Haiti, which is the important part. But, if the report doesn’t reach a widespread audience, then people will continue to think wrongly of Cuba.

  2. Which, we might add, is being classified as a “terrorist” nation by the Obama administration’s Transportation Security Agency (TSA), meaning its nationals, and anyone flying to or from Cuba, gets treated to extra baggage checks, body scans, pat-downs and groping. This even though no Cubans are blowing up planes or attacking Americans–or anyone else for that matter.

    If anything, Cuba has been the target of American sponsored terror over the years, not the other way around.

    Dave Lindorff

  3. Eneida Pugh says:

    Today I discovered your site and appreciate your direct approach to news. The following is a quote from the Democracy Now Jan 14 stated by Juan Gonzales:

    “But while the United States is assessing the situation, there have all been reports that a China airplane, from halfway around the world in China, landed yesterday with supplies and equipment to help the people of Haiti. The Cuban foreign minister announced that Cuba has 400 people already in Haiti that have been working on a—medical people working on a mission. They’ve already set up two field hospitals and, just yesterday alone, treated 800 people. And Venezuela, President Chavez, sent a plane that landed last night with firefighters and medical personnel and other equipment. So these other countries are moving faster than we are here in the United States, even though we have these enormous resources. ”
    I am incensed that our corporate media talking heads are so ego driven that even a nod of the head toward the contributions of the above mentioned countries is not given. Even Cooper Anderson during his last night’s programs continuously commented on the USÅ’s concentration on security/organization vs saving lives. His mantra was that lives were being lost, people would die, etc. etc. Over and over he narrowed his comment to this reality. Eneida Pugh

  4. SlowWalker says:

    I’d say the US military’s medics and other personnel were doing a good job, as well. From medical help, to distributing food and water, to helping maintain law-and-order ….yes, the US is helping, contrary to biased reports to the contrary.

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