December 06, 2010
As MINUSTAH attempts to blackmail Haiti’s political parties, candidates, and wider population into accepting the soon-to-be-announced results of November 28’s deeply flawed elections, secret State Department communications recently revealed by Wikileaks reveal further waning support for the UN mission among participating countries – including Brazil.
We previously noted that Wikileaked documents suggest that Brazil’s leadership of MINUSTAH lacks domestic support and that Brazil maintains that position in order to prove its worth for a possible seat on the UN Security Council. Another document from January 2009, available here, goes further, suggesting that the Brazilian Army itself has “frustration with the lack of an exit strategy in Haiti.” And another newly released cable from a year ago states (Hat tip, again, to Ansel Herz):
Less obviously, Brazil remains uncomfortable in its leadership on MINUSTAH. To the constant refrain of ‘we cannot continue this indefinitely,’ Brazil has been increasingly insistent that international efforts to promote security must go hand in hand with commitments to economic and social development-a theme it will take to the UNSC in January.
The document also notes Brazil’s goal regarding the UNSC:
Brazil’s top foreign policy priority remains obtaining a seat on the UN Security Council and, as it takes its place in January as a non-permanent UNSC member for the tenth time, it is aware that its actions will be closely watched.
An “exit strategy” and “timetable” was also the subject of a recent column in Chilean newspaper La Nación by Raúl Sohr, who argues that it’s time for Chilean troops to get out of Haiti, along with the rest of the blue helmets (translation courtesy of David Holmes Morris; h/t to Ansel, of course):
In every military mission, offensive or humanitarian, it is necessary to have an exit strategy. It is essential to establish goals and a timetable for achieving them.
The Chile Battalion, consisting of 500 members of the army and the navy, has been in Haiti for more than six years.
There are no armed bands in the country that require a foreign force to prevent the ocurrence [sic.] of hostile acts. As a consequence, there is no objective reason for that battalion to stay there, at such a high cost.
On the contrary, part of what has been budgeted should go to increase medical and educational aid and other services through the non-governmental organizations that are already there.
Sohr’s commentary – part of a larger debate in the Chilean press was sparked by the “death of a Haitian citizen at the hands of a Chilean soldier” when MINUSTAH troops attacked demonstrators in Cap Haitien — follows recent comments by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, U.S. commentators, and of course large anti-MINUSTAH protests all suggesting that MINUSTAH should wrap it up.
Meanwhile, as the UN seems to be taking an increasingly more serious look at the problems with the elections, with Ban Ki-moon saying “that ‘irregularities’ in Haiti’s presidential election were worse than first reported,” the Mission is asking for over $850 million for next year, which as we noted earlier is over five times as much as the UN is asking for to fight the cholera epidemic. In fact, the request is almost as much as the total amount of aid pledges distributed by the top 30 donors. According to the most recent data from the UN Special Envoy, top donors have distributed $897 million in 2010.