Morales deplores US 'occupation' of Haiti

Carlos Valdez, Associated Press

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- President Evo Morales said Wednesday that Bolivia would seek U.N. condemnation of what he called the U.S. military occupation of earthquake-stricken Haiti.

"The United States cannot use a natural disaster to militarily occupy Haiti," he told reporters at the presidential palace.

"Haiti doesn't need more blood," Morales added, implying that the militarized U.S. humanitarian mission could lead to bloodshed.

His criticism echoed that of fellow leftist, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who said Sunday that "it appears the gringos are militarily occupying Haiti."

Washington has dispatched some 11,500 troops to the poor Caribbean nation since the Jan. 12 quake and says the number could reach 16,000 by the weekend.

It says their primary mission is to speed distribution of aid, in part by providing security at distribution points and escorting aid convoys.

When asked Wednesday about the possibility of the U.N. General Assembly condemning the U.S., assembly spokesman Jean Viktor Nkolo pointed to previous U.N. statements expressing gratitude for U.S. help in Haiti.

The United Nations will soon sign an agreement with the U.S. stipulating the U.N. as the lead organization for security in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, acting U.N. special envoy to Haiti, said Tuesday.

The U.N. also resolved to add 3,500 international military and police peacekeepers to the 8,100-strong contingent already in Haiti, which includes Bolivians.


Associated Press Writer Edith Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

1 comment:

Brian said...

President Morales is right to condemn the U.S. troop presence.But unfortunately Bolivian troops are equally part of the occupation of Haiti. They have been part of MINUSTAH, the UN Peacekeeping force sent to replace U.S. troops and consolidate Haiti's coup d'etat in 2004.

Although Bolivian troops have not, to my knowledge, been involved in the worst abuses, MINUSTAH has regularly engaged in arrests of political dissidents and deadly attacks on protesters and poor neighborhoods. Bolivia should pull out of MINUSTAH immediately.