The Great Haiti Humanitarian Aid Swindle

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ABSTRACT

Thirsting for sensational stories about hunger, suffering, and violence, the world’s most prestigious news agencies—the Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters, CNN, CBS, The Guardian—have for decades uncritically repeated anything NGOs, UN agencies, or pseudo-researchers claim about Haiti. No vetting of data. No critical review. In the wake of January 2010 Haiti earthquake these exaggerations and lies erupted on a scale greater than ever before: apocalyptic disaster, machete wielding gangs with faces hidden behind bandannas battling in the streets for loot, dust covered earthquake survivors resurrected from concrete tombs, two million orphans and lost children, sexual predators and slave traders prowling the rubble-strewn slums of Port-au-Prince hunting the children down, marauding bands of armed men beating and raping women and children at will, and sprawling refugee camps infested with every kind of human affliction. The avalanche of exaggerations and outright lies precipitated a tsunami of sympathy and donations, the latter of which mostly disappeared into the coffers of aid agencies, pockets of consultants, flimflam experts, and the Haitian elite. The Great Haiti Humanitarian Aid Swindle is the inside story of how some of the world’s most respected humanitarian aid agencies have deceived and manipulated the overseas public regarding what is really happening in Haiti. Sometimes they’ve done it knowingly, sometimes through self-delusion, but always with the goal of collecting money from sympathetic donors and always by ignoring or burying data that would contradict their fantastic claims. Their greatest ally has been the mainstream press.

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