Severe Corruption in Haiti

Published January 21, 2011

Wow. Everybody should read this investigative piece Abe Sauer wrote on profiteering in Haiti for the Website, The Awl. In it, Sauer presents evidence that pretty thoroughly makes the case that, “Haiti has become one of the greatest money laundering operations in history, an island engine turning public funds into private profits. What's more, U.S. taxpayer dollars are, against Presidential directive, being funneled from the United States Agency for International Development to Billy Graham's charities for use in Christian proselytizing—all while building Sarah Palin's 2012 campaign army.”

This is exactly the kind of thing thinking-people feared when President Bush made it legal for U.S. tax dollars to go to faith-based charity organizations. The idea, technically, was that aid programs providing food, clothing and medical treatment, etc. would be kept separate from proselytizing and conversion efforts. This, of course, has not been the case.

Equally disturbing is that Sauer’s piece describes how the giant agricultural corporation Monsanto is basically turning Haiti into one big corn farm that will be reliant on Monsanto seed products forever—by donating bio-engineered hybrid seeds that can’t naturally reproduce.

He also tells how the U.N. is basically using its Haitian-relief peacekeeping effort to subsidize the militaries of developing countries—other than Haiti. And that, as the U.S. pays for almost a third of this effort, “Haiti exists as another way for America to underwrite the expenses of our military allies.”

There’s lots more, all seemingly well-researched and reported. And, sigh, all very depressing. I’m not an anarchist. I’d like to trust government as a concept. Moreover, I support the U.N., as a democratic institution that should be able to put a check on the power of individual nations. (I suppose it’s the best we can do.) I also believe that lots of good does actually get done by large-scale charity efforts around the world. But, man, stuff like this sure makes it look like we humans will always find a way to corrupt even the most well-intentioned efforts—and that those of us in the greatest need will always get screwed-over the worst. 

Written by Dave Bry

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