Viewing cable 05VILNIUS950

05VILNIUS9502005-09-12 04:17:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. Summary: Lithuanian print media is actively covering 
hurricane "Katrina", echoing official U.S. statements in 
news reports and reprinting information provided by both 
international and national news services in all Lithuanian 
daily newspapers.  Recent attention has shifted to 
Lithuania's possible role in helping the victims and the 
difficulties in delivering those resources.  Opinion pieces 
by individual journalists and additional information 
linking the tragedy to Lithuanian affairs are reviewed 
below. End Summary. 
¶2. The independent daily "Kauno diena" (circ. 36,000) on 
9/3 published an article by Dainoras Lukas entitled "From 
The Drowning City Calls For Help Also In Lithuanian".  It 
cites the response of Lithuanian Ambassador to the United 
States Vygaudas Usackas to inquiries about the situation of 
Lithuanian nationals presently residing in the effected 
region. The Embassy had received a letter informing about a 
Lithuanian girl with the group of Russian students trapped 
in one of the submerged houses and handed it over to the 
Center for Crisis Management. Although there are 3500 
Lithuanians in Louisiana, Ambassador Usackas reassured the 
media that all were safe.  The article also mentions that 
the NBA team on which the famous Lithuanian basketball- 
player Arvydas Macijauskas plays - the New Orleans' 
"Hornets" - is considering resettlement.  While the general 
message is handled positively, examples of negative 
performance by the U.S. authorities and rescue workers in 
the flooded city are mentioned. 
¶3. In the 9/6 article "Lithuanian Rescue Workers Rushing To 
The Lair Of The Hurricane", "Vakaro zinios" (circ. 70,000), 
Nijole Stabingyte reported that the Fire and Rescue 
Department had a meeting to discuss what sort of aid could 
be provided to New Orleans.  The Department noted that the 
number of volunteers almost reached one hundred firemen but 
the decision but that a final decision would be made after 
consultations with the Embassy of the United States.  Both 
tabloids, "Vakaro zinios" and "Extra zinios", in most news 
summaries stressed the anarchy, violence and helplessness 
of the authorities that are ruining New Orleans. 
¶4. A more detailed report on the help offered by Lithuania 
was made by Roberta Traceviciute in the daily newspaper 
"Lietuvos zinios" (circ. 18,000) on 9/8 in the article 
entitled "Lithuanians Are Not Hurrying To Donate For 
Americans".  According to the journalist, the Lithuanian 
Red Cross had collected only 3000 Litas (~$1200), but 
contributions will be accepted until October.  Irena 
Bruziene of the Lithuanian Red Cross commented on the 
limited contributions: "There are different opinions.  Some 
say that USA is a rich country and therefore does not need 
aid."  However, she also added that it is everyone's duty 
to help the victims regardless of their economic position. 
Beyond individual donations, the Lithuanian government will 
send medicine valued at 35,000 Litas for the victims. 
¶5. Vytaute Smaizyte - news correspondent for the free daily 
paper "15 Minuciu" - on 9/8 in the article "The Breathing 
Of The Hurricane In The U.S. Is Felt By Lithuanians" 
maintained that the consequences of the disaster have 
affected the life of Lithuanians working in cruise ships in 
the Gulf of Mexico.  One Lithuanian citizen informed that 
there are 10 Lithuanians employed on cruise ships, all 
waiting with concern the arrival of evacuees from New 
Orleans.  According to this undisclosed interviewee, the 
crew is concerned about the use of the cruise ship as a 
shelter.  The article concluded that Lithuanians working in 
the area were shocked that such a well-off and powerful 
state as the U.S. was challenged in the face of the natural 
¶6. Stanislovas Kairys also drew a critical picture of U.S. 
authorities in the article "How Such Things Can Take Place 
In The United States?" published in the weekly newspaper on 
political issues "Atgimimas" on 9/9.  Although the article 
is based on excerpts of critical ideas expressed in many 
influential American and European papers ("The Washington 
Post", "The New York Times", "Los Angeles Times", "Daily 
Mail", Frankfurter Rundschau" etc.), the points borrowed 
enabled the author to support his own position which is 
that the disaster swept away the myth of American well- 
being by showing how current administration of G. W. Bush 
is continuously opposing any projects of active social 
policy or economic regulation and is therefore maintaining 
the division of American citizens into those which are 
"worthy" and those which are characterized as