U.S. Black Hawk helicopters swooped down on Haiti's wrecked presidential palace to deploy troops and supplies yesterday as a huge relief operation to help earthquake survivors gained momentum.
Their dramatic deployment to help speed up logjammed aid efforts brought crowds of quake survivors camped out in the park opposite the palace rushing to its iron railings to gawk and beg for handouts of food.
Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez, a fiery critic of what he calls U.S. “imperialism,” has accused Washington of “occupying” Haiti under the pretext of an aid operation. The U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed to temporarily add 2,000 U.N. troops and 1,500 police to the 9,000-member peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
More than 11,000 U.S. military personnel are on the ground, on ships offshore or en route, and Haitian President Rene Preval has said U.S. troops will help U.N. peacekeepers bring order to the capital's increasingly lawless streets.