Haiti a litmus test for global cooperation: Castro

Haiti a litmus test for global cooperation: Castro

Veteran Cuban leader Fidel Castro said Haiti's devastating earthquake would be a test of international cooperation, as other leftist leaders lambasted a US "occupation" of the ravaged nation.

"Haiti can become an example of what humanity can do for itself," 83-year-old Castro, still Communist Party chief after leaving the presidency in 2006 during a health crisis, said in an article published. In a rare show of co-operation between Washington and Havana, Cuba earlier this week granted US military planes overflight rights, allowing aid to be brought from Miami more quickly.

"In Haiti we have been asked how long the spirit of cooperation can last before egoism, chauvinism, mixed motives and contempt for other countries prevails." Cuba has sent 10 tonnes of medicine to its Caribbean neighbour to the east, along with 450 medics, arriving at the airport in Port-au-Prince -- now controlled by its Cold War foe, the United States. Castro's tone was markedly more restrained than other leftist in Latin America, who balked at US-aid efforts. Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chavez yesterday accused the United States of using the tragedy of Haiti's earthquake to launch a military occupation of the country.

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