Nicaragua's Ortega raises specter of US occupation in Haiti
As paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the airport in Port-au-Prince, spearheading a force of 10,000 US troops deployed to Haiti, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega raised fears about a new Yankee occupation of the Caribbean nation. "What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me," Ortega said Jan. 17. "It seems that the bases [in Latin America] are not sufficient." He added: "There is no logic that US troops [have] landed in Haiti. Haiti seeks humanitarian aid, not troops. It would be madness we all began to send troops to Haiti." Nicaragua has sent 31 military doctors to Haiti, along with shipments of humanitarian aid. (Press TV, Iran, Jan. 17)
The Haitian police and UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have meanwhile imposed a 6 PM curfew in Port-au-Prince. Under the order, no vehicles are allowed, except police and military vehicles or those escorted by the police.
According to preliminary figures, at least 70,000 people, including 40 UN officials, are said to have died in the disaster, and officials warn the death toll could rise to 200,000. Half of the city was destroyed and 3 million people left homeless in the wake of the earthquake. Survivors now face a lack of food and drinking water, with a growing threat from diseases and lawlessness. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has arrived in Haiti to oversee the situation, called it "one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades." (VOV News, Vietnam, Jan. 17)
See our last post on Haiti.