Emails from Tim Schwartz (PhD) in Haiti
Comment on Cassell's article in The Straight:, January 23, 2010

I just got back form walking around Cite Militar, Cite Simon, and other parts of Cite Soley--which, fortunately, since they are getting zero aid, are not as destroyed as other parts of the city. And I hung out at the old airport talking to people who were standing in a 400 meter line waiting for food (when they got to the end of the line they were given a liter of oil and a little radio--that in itself would be enough to cause Americans to riot). I have literally touched every part of the destroyed downtown. I am white, blan... and I am on foot and motorcycle and am still trying to figure out what the security issue is. Everyone I meet is as pleasant as they always are, and less demanding than usual, something perplexing in itself. Exactly what is it that the military and aid agencies are supposed to be afraid of? The escaped prisoners? That in itself is absurd. Why would escaped prisoners try to start firefights when there are 10,000 heavily armed foreign soldiers two miles away? When I mention that the Americans and aid agencies are afraid for their security I am met with universal disbelief. For those who want the solutions, the Haitians I spoke with, all of them, said why don't they just pass the stuff out to each tent.... The problem is not the Haitians, its that the aid agencies are distributing in only a few places, drawing literally tens of thousands of people into single lines or crowds.




Another comment from January 23


Just got back from Cite Simon, Cite Militar and a bunch of other places…

It is simply mindboggling how they are portraying the people who live there.  The other night, and this is only one example, I was sitting in a meeting in a German NGOs headquarters—by chance as I was using their internet and suddenly found myself surrounded by NGO directors. One of them announced, “Cite Soley is now totally under the control of the gangs.”

Just where the hell did that come from and what the does it mean?

Fortunately, as I said yesterday, the damage there, in both areas is definitively less severe than other places.  And good thing because no one has been there to help. Only water trucks.

They will need tarps.

And oh, they also said they need doctors, vaccines, food, schools, infrastructure, latrines, security, scholarships, job opportunities.... and someone also mentioned visas.




From a letter to a newspaper editor, January 20


I was at Champs de Mars today (downtown core), talking to people about thievery... and about the aid.

Two things stand out: as to the lawlessness reported in the press, people confirmed is not what it seems. Looting yes; fighting, attacking people, gangs battles, no. No one is afraid for their security.

They say that at Champs de Mars in front of the Palace (downtown core), one of the major refugee encampments if not the largest, that no relief has arrived. It is all being delivered on other side of town by the embassy. More on that later.


Timothy T. Schwartz, Ph.D, is the author of TRAVESTY in Haiti : A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking .