Selective Amnesia Katrina vs Myanmar
WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush made a rare appeal to Myanmar's military rulers on Tuesday to accept U.S. relief officials and added $3 million in aid to help victims of a cyclone that devastated the Southeast Asian nation.
"Our message is to the military rulers. Let the United States come and help you, help the people," Bush said, addressing a military government he has long tried to isolate. "We want to do a lot more." Laura Bush urges Myanmar to accept US disaster team In a rare appearance in the White House press briefing room, Laura Bush said, "If we can get some sort of team in there to assess what the other needs are, then I feel very assured that the United States government will follow with a bigger (aid response)." But in a sign of the mistrust between the two countries, she added, "I'm worried that they won't even accept U.S. aid."
"In 2005, the United Nations recognized the responsibility to protect" doctrine when governments could not or would not protect their citizens, even if this meant intervention that violated national sovereignty. But it has been rarely applied. In Washington on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Myanmar's military rulers to open up their country to international aid, and appealed to China, Japan, Indonesia and India to help make that case. "It is not a matter of politics. This is a humanitarian crisis," she told reporters.
Laura Bush’s Katrina Amnesia: Slams Burmese Govt. For Ignoring ‘Warnings’ Of Impending Natural Disaster»
In an “unusual foray into foreign policy” yesterday, First Lady Laura Bush admonished the Burmese government for its “inept” response to the recent cyclone that killed over 20,000 people. The First Lady heaped particularly harsh criticisms on the Burmese government for not adequately warning residents about the incoming storm:
It’s troubling many of the Burmese people learned of this impending disaster only when foreign outlets such as Radio Free Asia and Voice of America sounded the alarm. Although they were aware of the threat, Burma’s state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm’s path.
In fact, equally harsh criticism could be leveled at President Bush. As Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, Bush was on vacation, and the White House ignored warnings about the dangers ahead: 2001: FEMA ranked a major hurricane strike on New Orleans as “among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.” Two days before landfall: Federal officials told the White House “that the city’s levees might be overtopped or breached.” Bush later famously said “nobody could have predicted” the breaches. Hours before landfall: Federal officials warned the White House that flooding “could leave the New Orleans metro area submerged for weeks or months.”
Laura Bush added, “I hope that the military will realize they have to accept aid from everybody they can possibly accept it from.” The White House, however, turned down aid from other countries offering to help after Katrina:
Turned down foreign aid: After Katrina, the administration rejected many “allies’ offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars,” the Washington Post reported. The most common responses: “sent letter of thanks” and “will keep offer on hand.”
“The response to the cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta’s failure to meet itspeople’s basic needs,” she concluded. Yet the Bush administration has also turned its back on the hurricane survivors:
Undermined workers: President Bush issued an order in 2005 suspending application of the Bacon-Davis Act, allowing contractors to pay less than prevailing wages in Katrina-damaged areas.
Toxic trailers: FEMA “suppressed warnings” about levels of formaldehyde in FEMA-provided trailers to Katrina refugees.
Laura Bush’s Katrina amnesia went unchallenged by the press corps, who instead proceeded to ask about daughter Jenna’s upcoming wedding.
USA refuses Humanitarian aid for the Victims of Hurricaine Katrina
Cuba offers the USA 1,586 Doctors for Katrina Relief Effort
It has been over a week since the offer was made and the US not responded. Jesus Satorre, a cardiologist, said, "We are anxiously waiting, every moment, for a positive response.... It would be marvelous to be elbow-to-elbow with the American doctors."
If the US refuses the help from its tiny rival, it will be subject to claims of choosing politics over US citizen's and resident's lives. Castro routinely turns down US aid for relief while the US embargo remains in effect.
Gulfstream International, a charter airline, has offered to fly the doctors for free to Florida. Tens of thousands of Cuban Doctors work throughout the world in developing nations including Venezuela and Haiti.
By Hernando Calvo Ospina
http://mondediplo. com/2006/ 08/11cuba
When Hurricane Katrina ripped through the southern United States in August 2005, the authorities were overwhelmed and the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, appealed to the international community for emergency medical aid. The Cuban government immediately offered assistance to New Orleans and to the states of Mississippi and Alabama, also affected by the storm, and promised that within 48 hours 1,600 doctors, trained to deal with such catastrophes, would arrive with all the necessary equipment plus 36 tonnes of medical supplies. This offer, and another made directly to President George Bush, went unanswered. In the catastrophe at least 1,800 people, most of them poor, died for lack of aid
In October 2005, the Kashmir region of Pakistan experienced one of the most violent earthquakes in its history, with terrible consequences in the poorest and most isolated areas to the north. On 15 October an advance party of 200 emergency doctors arrived from Cuba with several tonnes of equipment. A few days later, Havana sent the necessary materials to erect and equip 30 field hospitals in mountain areas, most of which had never been previously visited by a doctor. Local people learned of Cuba’s existence for the first time.
To avoid causing offence in this predominantly Muslim country, the women on the Cuban team, who represented 44% of some 3,000 medical staff sent to Pakistan in the next six months, dressed appropriately and wore headscarves. Good will was quickly established; many Pakistanis even allowed their wives and daughters to be treated by male doctors.
By the end of April 2006, shortly before their departure, the Cubans had treated 1.5 million patients, mostly women, and performed 13,000 surgical operations. Only a few severely injured patients had to be flown to Havana. Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, an important ally of the US and friend of Bush, officially thanked the Cuban authorities and acknowledged that this small nation in the Caribbean had sent more disaster aid than any other country.