On January 13, Rupert Murdoch's US network FoxNews claimed that while the US "was leading [the] international relief effort in Haiti", Cuba was "conspicuously absent from the roster of helping hands".
The opposite is the case. At the time the earthquake struck, Cuba already had 344 doctors and paramedics working in Haiti. Also, in the past 12 years 450 young Haitians have graduated as doctors from Cuban colleges, free of charge.
From January 13, more teams of Cuban health workers, accompanied by Haitian medical students studying in Cuba, began arriving in Haiti with medical supplies.
A January 12 Granma article said that, within a week of the earthquake: "Cuban doctors in the Haitian capital [had held] 13,418 consultancies, with 1,078 operations, more than 550 of them considered major surgery. The Cuban doctors have also assisted 38 births."
Venezuela has also being in the forefront of nations providing assistance. A January 20 Venezuelanalysis.com article said: "Venezuela was the first country to send aid after the disaster struck on January 12, with an advance team of doctors, search and rescue experts, as well as food, water, medical supplies and rescue equipment arriving in Port-au-Prince on the morning of January 13.
"However, Venezuela's foreign minister Nicholas Maduro said since then, aid shipments to Haiti were being diverted via the neighbouring Dominican Republic to avoid restrictions imposed by the US at Port-au-Prince airport …
"Venezuela, the largest oil exporter in South America, is also sending free fuel to the devastated country, with [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez pledging, 'The Venezuelan people will donate all the fuel the Haitian people need'".
The article said a tanker had left Venezuela for Haiti with 225,000 barrels (worth about US$18 million) of diesel fuel and gasoline.
"The Venezuela-Cuba initiated Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) fair trade bloc, which also includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, has also sent two ships carrying 4761 metric tons of food aid."
Chavez criticised the US for sending troops rather than aid on the January 18 edition of his televised show, Alo Presidente. "I read that 3000 soldiers are arriving, marines armed as if they were going to war. This is not a shortage of guns there, my God.
"Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that is what the United States should send … They are occupying Haiti in an undercover manner."