Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An expose of "aid" to Haiti

I don't know what effect foreign "aid" has had in Haiti in the wake of the recent earthquake, but we are entitled to be highly skeptical in light of the revelations contained in a book that appeared not long before the disaster (on January 22, 2010 to be precise) -- Timothy T. Schwartz, Travesty in Haiti. The subtitle reads: "A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking." And on the back cover we find this summary description: "An anthropologist's personal story of working with foreign aid agencies and discovering that fraud, greed, corruption, apathy, and political agendas permeate the industry." The book is published by the author: no publishing house would touch it.

Timothy Schwartz went to live in a poor fishing hamlet in Haiti to gather material for his Ph.D. thesis, which he hoped would land him a good job with an aid agency. He was also hired to conduct a survey for CARE International. But when he applied for a position with this agency he just couldn't keep his mouth shut about the unwelcome realities he had discovered (though he had resolved to do so). He didn't get the job. Apparently he now works in tourism.

The most important single fact that the author proves beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt is that increases in the flow of food aid have led to INCREASES in malnutrition. This is because most of the food is stolen and enters the market, thereby depressing prices and ruining local farmers. Moreover, the aid agencies know very well that this is the result of their "humanitarian" efforts. Their real function is to dump American and EU food surpluses and expand export markets for American and EU agriculture.

Another striking revelation is an "orphanage" for children who are not only not orphans but whose parents are quite capable of providing for them -- basically an elite boarding school masquerading as an institution for poor orphans in order to defraud naive American donors who are actually poorer than these children's parents!

By turns horrifying and entertaining, this book is a very good read and will even teach you something about Haiti.

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