Mente y corazón: el tifón Yolanda/Hayan y el uso de la asistencia humanitaria en desastres para fines estratégicos más amplios / Hearts and Minds: Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan and the Use of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief to Further Strategic Ends

Seiji Yamada

Resumen


La asistencia humanitaria para desastres debiera, como su nombre lo indica, tener como eje motivos humanitarios y el bienestar de los otros. El uso de dicha ayuda para fines políticos o estratégicos ditorsiona su propósito e introduce la sombra de la suspicacia y la desconfianza. Tras el paso del tifón Yolanda/Haiyan el ejército de los EEUU ofreció asistencia a las regiones afectadas en Filipinas. En los meses subsecuentes la firma del Acuerdo de Cooperación en Defensa Ampliado o ACDA permitió a los EEUU el acceso a bases militares en Filipinas. En el contexto del enfrentamiento territorial en el Mar del Sur de China es claro que la presencia militar estadounidense en Filipinas está orientada a rodear a China en una guerra futura. Al asumir Rodrigo Duarte la presidencia Filipinas comenzó a seguir una política exterior más independiente. Su intención anunciada de derogar el ACDA ha desenmascarado el uso de la asistencia humanitaria para fines estratégicos, la aplicación de esta táctica por parte de los EEUU para obtener ventajas estratégicas es clara para el resto del mundo. Es hora de abandonar esta farsa.
Tanto la campaña de pacificación aplicada por los EEUU durante su invasión a Vietnam como su campaña para ganar el apoyo popular tras la invasión a Irak de 2003 fueron referidos como acciones para ganar "mentes y corazones", con el tiempo el uso de la expresión se ha vuelto peyorativo al referirse al uso discrecional del poder militar para influenciar a la opinión pública en otros países.
En noviembre de 2013, tras el paso del tifón Yolanda/Haiyan el ejército estadounidense aplicó un programa de asistencia humanitaria en Filipinas. Aunque la capacidad logística de los militares está fuera de duda, el uso del ejército para responder a desastres presenta el riesgo de apartarse de los principios de "humanismo, neutralidad, imparcialidad e independencia."1 El que la intervención humanitaria de los EEUU estaba al menos parcialmente diseñada para mejorar la opinión del ejército estadounidense entre los filipinos se hizo evidente algunos meses después del paso del tifón. En abril de 2014 el ACDA, que permite el acceso de tropas de los EEUU a las instalaciones militares filipinas, su acantonamiento e instalación de armamento fue firmado durante una visita de Obama al presidente Aquino. Por otra parte, el gobierno de Filipinas fue incapaz de responder a las necesidades del pueblo y la administración de Aquino se limitó a delegar su responsabilidad a las capacidades de su previo colonizador. Con base en sus propias inquietudes respecto a la construcción de islas artificiales en el área máritima en disputa por parte de China, el gobierno encontró una justificación conveniente para la firma del acuerdo ampliado de defensa con los EEUU.





Abstract

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) should, as the term itself implies, be driven by humanitarian concern for the welfare of others. To use HADR for political or strategic ends distorts its purpose and introduces the potential for suspicion and distrust. In the aftermath of the November 2013 Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, the U.S. military extended HADR to the affected regions of the Philippines. In the ensuing months, the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) allowed the U.S. military access to bases in the Philippines. Facing off against China’s presence in the South China Sea, U.S. military presence in the Philippines is clearly intended to encircle China in a future war. With the ascendancy of Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency, the Philippines has begun to follow a more independent foreign policy. His stated intent to reverse EDCA has laid bare the use of HADR for strategic ends. The use of HADR by the U.S. as a ploy to gain strategic advantage is clear to the rest of the world. It is time to abandon the deception.

Both the pacification campaign conducted by the U.S. government during its invasion of Vietnam and the campaign to gain the support of the populace after the 2003 invasion of Iraq were often referred to as winning “hearts and minds.” These days, “hearts and minds” is used pejoratively, to signify the heavy-handed use of military power to influence public opinion in foreign countries.

In November 2013, in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, humanitarian aid and disaster response (HADR) were delivered to the Philippines by the U.S. military. While the logistical capabilities of military assets is undeniable, the use of military assets for disaster response represents a risk of departure from accepted humanitarian principles of “humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.”1 That the U.S. response was intended, at least to some extent, to buoy public opinion of the U.S. among Filipinos became evident within six months of the typhoon. In April 2014, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), allowing the U.S. military access to facilities in the Philippines, stationing of troops, and prepositioning of weaponry was signed during a visit by President Obama to President Aquino. For its part, the government of the Philippines failed to adequately respond to the needs of its people, and the Aquino administration relied on the lifting capacities of its former colonizer. With its own concerns about the building of island bases by China in the South China Sea, the Aquino administration found the post-typhoon U.S. military assistance a convenient justification for inviting an enhanced U.S. military presence on Philippines soil.

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