FRENCH PRESS REVIEW (Wednesday, 20th January 2010): Several papers in France this morning lead with the US deployment of troops in the Haitian capital.
Le Figaro’s front page shows an American military helicopter landing in the compound of the destroyed Presidential Palace in central Port-au-Prince. France Soir calls it the American Armada. Inside, the paper says “some are asking questions about the American deployment in Haiti – are the Americans there simply to ensure that aid is distributed?”
“It’s as if this country - devastated by an earthquake one week ago - is now under American control.”
Nonetheless, who other than the American army could oversee this emergency effort? 200 planes are landing every day at Port-au-Prince airport under American supervision where normally just 13 planes land there daily.
A local paper, La République des Pyrénées, has a story about a family in the region who were planning to adopt two Haitian children who perished in the earthquake. Many other French families are in the same situation.
The paper’ editorial says when comes to activism over Haiti, the American president is well ahead of Sarkozy who has made activism during crises one of his hallmarks.
Obama has made several speeches on Haiti, sent 10,000 soldiers to the country, an aircraft carrier with 19 helicopters onboard and he has freed up $100m in emergency aid for the country.
While it’s true that Sarkozy was the first to suggest an international conference for aid for Haiti (to take place in Canada), France has been largely reduced to stamping its feet because it doesn’t have the means or the proximity of the US when it comes to coming to helping Haiti.
Other stories in today’s French papers:
One year after his inauguration, this left-leaning French daily speaks about why Obama still brings hope
Dominique de Villepin has visited a French suburb in a style more akin to a Presidential candidate than a man awaiting the verdict of the Clearstream trial. That verdict is due in nine days time. The case pitted Nicolas Sarkozy against Villepin who was accused by the French President of knowing about a smear campaign against him but failing to act.