foreign aid

First aid, then poverty

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Aid organisations pose as the noble saviours of the needy. In fact they often reinforce and deepen exploitation

Bob Geldof was recently invited to Australia to talk about world poverty. His fee was £100,000 - and of course he flew first class. It was one small chapter in the story of an industry whose gross earnings put it fifth behind the world's largest economies - the aid industry.

The issue has dramatically entered the news again, with the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and the continuing drama of Darfur. It confronts you every day as the charming young "chuggers", with their umbrellas and yellow jackets, deliver their charity scripts with a smile.

Haiti - aid of recovery

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Haiti requires emergency aid, but not at gunpoint. It needs food and water, doctors, nurses and medical supplies, construction, machinery and technical help, all without conditions.

Real humanitarian aid would include:

•An end to occupation

•Aid without conditions

•Borders open to refugees

•Cancellation of all debt

•Funding of public and community associations

•Free elections

•Repayment of colonial "reparations", interest and penalty payments


Haiti coverage in this month's Socialist Review:

Haiti - the making of a catastrophe, by Mike Gonzalez

Haiti - the making of a catastrophe

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After the earthquake struck, the people of Haiti needed food, water and shelter - instead they got US troops and predatory corporations. Haiti's problems are not just a result of a natural disaster, Mike Gonzalez argues, but are rooted in the country's history of slavery and exploitation

The numbers are almost incomprehensible, the devastation and loss impossible to imagine. At least 100,000 people lie dead under the rubble, and 2 million are homeless and abandoned. The news footage of whirring helicopters and aircraft carriers outside the ruined ports created a mirage of action - but as the days passed nothing changed in the devastated slums of Port-au-Prince.

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