Wednesday 29 March 2017

Stars and gripes -- why America can't get a break

Members of the US air force patrol downtown Port-au-Prince yesterday. Critics charge the US with 'taking over' in Haiti, running airports and directing traffic
Members of the US air force patrol downtown Port-au-Prince yesterday. Critics charge the US with 'taking over' in Haiti, running airports and directing traffic
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

THE Americans running the aid effort for Haiti must feel like Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe closing the schools recently because of the snow. He was criticised for not doing so soon enough, and then when the weather forecasts turned out to be wrong he was criticised for closing them for too long. You just can't win.

The Americans, and the West generally, are constantly criticised for not doing enough for poorer parts of the world, and then when they do so robustly, after a disaster, they are accused of 'neo-colonial interference' and of 'taking over', as they have been in Haiti.

The anti-American lobby is always ready to come out on these occasions, especially when it comes to the Americas -- Uncle Sam's 'back yard'. But this is precisely why the US wants to get so involved. As President Barack Obama said explicitly, Haiti is in its immediate sphere, with a large immigrant population in the US itself.

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