Brazil Surrounds Haiti’s National Palace with Tanks and Hands Out Food

Brazilian military gives out food in Haiti In a show of power, Brazil’s Armed Forces held on Friday their biggest relief operation ever for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. They distributed 10 tons of food and 22,000 liters (5.800 gallons) of water to about 5,000 families. Among the items given away there were milk, tuna and ham.

The message was clear: despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians believe they are in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti.

The local chosen for the food giveaway was very symbolic since the Brazilian military set up their operation at the National Palace, the same location where a few days earlier US Black Hawk helicopters had landed stirring condemnation from some quarters that it was invading Haiti.

Brazilian soldiers, 220 of them, parked 30 vehicles, 20 of them tanks, around the National Palace, seat of the now almost non-existent Haitian government. In what was left of the palace’s façade, Brazil spread two of its own flags next to the Haitian one. One of them was knocked down by wind when two US helicopters landed on the site during the food distribution.

Brazilian general Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto, commander of the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH), attended the operation handing down food and water to victims himself. He also talked on the occasion:

“It’s good to highlight that in the control of this chaotic situation, there is a Brazilian presence, the command of the forces belongs to a Brazilian official, since 2004.”

It was a  clear message to the U.S. “I, General Floriano Peixoto, am the commander. My role is great articulation. Here is a Brazilian, a head of MINUSTAH. The security part is the responsibility of a Brazilian general. We must not lose the opportunity to show this to Brazil. We have the largest contingent of troops,” he said, adding: “The US participation is temporary.”

The Brazilian general made it clear that the Brazilian operation was a way for the country to “mark position” on who is in charge of security in Port au Prince. Floriano Peixoto commands about 9,000 troops from several countries. Brazil has the largest contingent, with 1266 soldiers.

Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, said that the United States respects the sovereignty of Haiti and that the criticism of his country’s role in caring for victims of the earthquake are simply wrong. He praised the work of the blue berets led by Brazil and added that the US forces are working in close cooperation with MINUSTAH.

In an attempt to minimize criticism to the lack of cooperation between countries in the relief work in Haiti, the Brazilian military and Americans are planning a joint effort this Saturday to hand out food and water to earthquake’s victims. The operation this time will be held in Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most populous slum.


  • Show Comments (9)

  • dnbaiacu

    I wish NANCY were here….
    [quote]The message was clear: despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians believe they are in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti[/quote]

    So she can blah blah…

    Just as predicted .. This will be a United Nations showcase!
    Demons know what to capitalize on. 🙁

    [quote] And I saw another wild beast ascending out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb, but it began speaking as a dragon. 12 And it exercises all the authority of the first wild beast in its sight. And it makes the earth and those who dwell in it worship the first wild beast, whose death-stroke got healed. 13 And it performs great signs, so that it should even make fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the sight of mankind.
    14 And it misleads those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs that were granted it to perform in the sight of the wild beast, while it tells those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the wild beast that had the sword-stroke and yet revived. 15 And there was granted it to give breath to the image of the wild beast, so that the image of the wild beast should both speak and cause to be killed all those who would not in any way worship the image of the wild beast.
    Revelation 13:11-15[/quote]

  • Jay Glenn

    10 Tons vs 200 tons
    In the [b]first five days[/b] after Katrina, My company and employees flew [b]200 tons[/b] of medicine, Nurses, Doctors and food.

    A private Company and workers.

    Not a Country!


  • RDean

    Well, let’s see… Brazil apparently thought it needed tanks to pass out emergency food supplies. The United States sent a hospital ship with almost 1,000 beds and a medical staff of over 500, to say nothing of all the latest medical equipment. I wonder which act is going to have the greatest meaning in the long run?

  • Captain America

    Sounds typical
    This article points out some already obvious things. 1. The Brazil government is more concerned with SHOWING it’s citizens and the world it’s power and position in Haiti than they are with actually doing anything. They seem to be more concerned with how things look than what is actually happening. Brazil was there leading MINUSTAH even before this tragedy happened, yet accomplished little or nothing up to this point. 2. They still don’t seem to be able or willing to get the job done. The Haitian survivors have many obstacles yet which keep them from reaching the STAGE Brazil has set up at the Presidential Palace. The hunger, thirst, and injuries are in the streets and the houses, not at the palace. If they want to relieve the sufering, they need to go out in the streets and find those who are suffering, as the Americans are doing, not set up a camp on the palace grounds and expect the survivors to come and find them.

    From what I gather from this story, this operation is more of a photo op than a true rescue and aid mission.

  • Forrest Allen Brown

    knocked over the brazilian flag whooooo
    Should not have put it in the LZ brazil on out side USA on the inside .
    and 3 airports open now thanks to the US navy and the russian company carring down portable air trafic control towers from florida, not to mention the 45.000 meals air droped to troops on the grond along with 12.000 gallons of water

    again the eye is on haiti not brazil japan UN china , usa or the thousands of people there helping . there will be no money paied out to any one who helps out just a good will towards mankind in need no race , VIP or reliogn is given prefrence ove the other they all died at the same way and time and they will all live the same way for a long time .

    So stop with the we we we we and IIIIII it is not about you its about time and lives

    just a though how many people from haiti has brazil take to brazil ???

  • anonymous

    The message was clear: despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians believe they are in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti.

    Ha-ha! Yeah and they might believe in Santa Claus or Boto, but it doesn’t make it real.

    You make it sound like the Brazilian force was dashing around asserting it’s authority, when in fact the Haitian government is the final arbiter. They approved of a strategy of the UN and the US working together cooperatively. How silly the talk that the US is there on an occupying military mission: the Haitian government invited them. You make no acknowledgment of the generous effort on the part of Americans and the US government to simply just help Haitians. trashy silly article.

  • Miq

    agent provacateur
    The so-called message may have been clear, but the reality is equally obvious – no one, certainly not the Haitians, let alone the Americans or anyone else, really care about the Brazilian presence. It’s about as notable as any carioca would notice a cop on the street corner – nearly invisible. If brasil wants to be a leader of nations it could start by acting like one, and a good start would be to end the juvenile military posturing – one Hugo Chavez on the continent is enough. By the way, 1266 soldiers stationed a four hour flight from Fortaleza doesn’t exactly scare anyone, either.

    Final thought – 10 tons of food, 5800 gallons of water, 5000 families, that’s about a sanduiche and a tall glass of water per person. Thanks. Way to make things happen, 10 days into this disaster.

  • anonymous

    It’s not a soccer match between the US and Brazil.
    This sounds like a silly article to me. Bill Clinton the special envoy to Haiti reported that the US was cooperating with the UN (mostly Brazilian troops?) to do the job in Haiti. He acknowledged the strength of the UN troops who have been in Haiti for so long, since they have certain knowledge and experience on the streets of Haiti. The author makes it sound like the UN troops are acting independently and trying to compete with the US. How silly! It’s not a soccer match that Brazil has to win. It’s a cooperative mission. And more important than displaying flags or soldiers, the focus should be on what the US or Brazil is doing there to help people. What a silly transparent attempt to try to stir some kind of competition between the US and Brazil there. Take your insecurity complex somewhere else, and put your energy in to fundraising for the victims of this tragedy.

  • Ric

    Interesting story. Check out Politics Daily, Haiti Shapes Up As a Long-Term Military Mission, by David Woods.

    2177 personnel there now and expected to reach 20,000 personnel. 1400 planes on the waiting list for the big airport. 63 choppers, 6 C-130s and 6 C17s, dozens more expected.

    Key term in the above Brazzil article is “UN”.

    Most comments on Wood’s article seem to be negative. So why would the USA do this? Nothing there to drill for, mine, or get rich on. Haiti was once the richest country in the Americas, now the poorest.

    I can only conclude two things. One, Americans are the most likely people in the world to come to the aid in disasters. Two, someone must have decided that in the long term, it’s more propitious to rebuild Haiti now on site, than the burden of potentially millions of new, penniless and largely undereducated people many of whom have a propensity to violent crime as demonstrated by Haitians currently living in the USA on a statistical basis. Haiti has over seven million people.

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