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Brazilian Commander of UN Troops in Haiti Replaced After Fight with US

General Floriano Peixoto The Brazilian general who commands the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission in Haiti, the MINUSTAH, has indisposed himself with the US forces after the United States sent troops and help to Haitians following the earthquake that left over 270,000 deaths. He will be replaced soon by another Brazilian.

The United Nations force in Haiti has over 12,000 soldiers from around the world, about 1,500 being from Brazil. 

The post of Force Commander currently held by General Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto is renewed every year and Floriano Peixoto could have been maintained in place if it weren’t for his behavior after the earthquake. Peixoto has been in the post since April 2009.

In 2008, Brazilian General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz was kept by the US for one more year after his initial mission ended.

The general’s image was hurt soon after the United States sent more than 12,000 men to help support the earthquake victims. Asked if he was subordinating the blue berets to the U.S. Army he said he was the one in command.

Brazil’s Armed Forces, 11 days after the quake held their relief operation distributing 10 tons of food and 22,000 liters (5.800 gallons) of water to about 5,000 families. Among the items given away there were milk, tuna and ham.

Their message seemed to be that despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians were in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti.

The local chosen for the food giveaway was very symbolic since the Brazilian military set up their operation at the National Palace, the same location where a few days earlier US Black Hawk helicopters had landed stirring condemnation from some quarters that it was invading Haiti.

Brazilian soldiers, 220 of them, parked 30 vehicles, 20 of them tanks, around the National Palace and raised two Brazilian flags. General Floriano Peixoto attended the operation handing down food and water to victims himself. He also talked on the occasion:

“It’s good to highlight that in the control of this chaotic situation, there is a Brazilian presence, the command of the forces belongs to a Brazilian official, since 2004.”

It was a  clear message to the US: “I, General Floriano Peixoto, am the commander. My role is great articulation. Here is a Brazilian, a head of MINUSTAH. The security part is the responsibility of a Brazilian general. We must not lose the opportunity to show this to Brazil. We have the largest contingent of troops,” he said, adding: “The US participation is temporary.”

The new commander will be another Brazilian, General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz, who is now the chief of the  5th Armored Cavalry Brigade of Ponta Grossa, Paraná state.

Since MINUSTAH was established in 2004 after a civil war to overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, all military commanders of MINUSTAH have been Brazilians, but the UN is free to choose a commander from any other country.

Paul Cruz has already experience in Haiti, having commanded the Brazilian troops in that country in 2008. He was an instructor at the US Military Academy at West Point. The fact that speaks fluent English seems to have been a factor in him being chosen.

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  • Show Comments (14)

  • buzzkill

    relief pilot
    I am impressed by all of the amazing politic acumen; while all of you debate the current chapter in the 300+ year tragedy of Haiti many of us were flying doctors, nurses and medical supplies into Haiti. The flight crews barely dabbled their toes in this mess – the real heroes are the missionaries who have been there for decades and the medical professionals who worked 18-hours days doing countless meatball surgeries by flashlight while swatting mosquitoes. The U.N. mission in Haiti is unfortunately ineffectual, expensive, hugely arrogant and completely irrelevant. It will take several generations of international assistance to rid Haiti of the voodoo, gangs and cultural disabilities that vex them so. In the meantime, do something useful – find a good Christian missionary organization with a multi-year presence in Haiti and support them with your dollars as I do. No one else in Haiti delivers as much bang for the buck.

  • Lloyd Cata

    Pierre F. Lherisson
    [b]The US troop are in Haiti to prevent the return of Aristide and liquidate his partisans. This is a big mistake. Aristide will return to Haiti regardless of the foreign forces of oppression.[/b]

    Why this is not evident, even to the smallest minds, I am puzzled. Democracy in Haiti cannot be fulfilled until Aristide returns and is either freely elected or rejected by the people instead of the US/French stooges that are no better than the Duvaliers. So there will not be democracy in Haiti, and between the US, France, and the UN, Haiti will remain an example of the worst oppression in the Western Hemisphere…until the Haitian people stand up to the US guns and are willing to die for ‘freedom’ again!

    Is the generous outpouring of aid and sympathy for Haiti during such a catastrophic tragedy just an excuse to continue the corruption, abuse, murder of Haitians? I have said here, many times, that Haiti is a ‘failed state’, not that the Haitian people don’t need a state that is representative of the people.

    Why has “Washington”, in collusion with Paris prevented this, and what scheme is there from them next to prevent a free and democratic Haiti.

    I expect a more ‘progressive’ role from Brazil, since it has involved itself in this situation, in its own interest to be seen a regional superpower. Of course, I am not hopeful considering the soap-opera of Brazil’s involvement in the Honduran coup.

  • Pierre F. Lherisson

    The US troop are in Haiti to prevent the return of Aristide and liquidate his partisans. This is a big mistake. Aristide will return to Haiti regardless of the foreign forces of oppression.

  • Sir Reginald

    Please Stop writing!
    I confess the title sounded remotely interesting and I, transitioning from a self indulging moment to another stopped by to read this.
    The author and the 5 year old ape minded commenteurs. managed to waste 15 minutes of my free time previoulsy assigned to boredom!
    to author: Please find another occupation! oYour article sucks poorly written, empty and biased.
    Americans: please come down, and deflate, your misplaced putrid scented egoes hurt my brain!
    All others, please refine the research skills before writing a public comment, most of this blabbler doesn’t even make sense, sounds like stuff you’d hear during a hunting trip somewhere deep in West Virginia, or small talk with the clerk at Cabella’s.
    😉
    So there, you wasted my time I wasted yours.

  • R. T.

    The statement “..was kept by the US for one more year after his initial mission ended.” is INCORRECT. He was kept by the United Nations and not the US.

    Apparently, the author does not understand how a UN Force Commander is chosen and by what organization.

    If the author does not understand the basics then he/she probably does not understand what is not in black and white either.

  • Peyton Manning

    Propaganda About Aristide – Nah
    What kind of a mindless person are you, “Nah”?

    Haiti is a beach full of starving people. The US and other countries pour money to feed the criminals Where’s your logic in stating that the US/France/Canada “fianaced” a coup? For what gain?

    Aristide was allowing/helping the slaughter of Haitians. The US does not allow this in its backyard. WE took out Aristide, and then let the UN police the place, with Brazilians pretending to be in charge.

    You say “The Brazilians are slaves for the US.” That’s too stupid to even respond to. Please turn off your computer and go away you moron.

  • Capnamerca

    AP article
    Brazilian troops in armored personnel carriers controlled a tightly packed line of earthquake survivors waiting for food in the broiling sun by firing pepper spray and training their guns on the jostling, rowdy crowd. The line stretched between the partially collapsed National Palace and entirely destroyed Supreme Court.

    One soldier loaded a shotgun and returned their taunts by shouting back insults in Creole. Some were offended, others amused at hearing a Brazilian trooper insulting them in their own language.

    “They treat us like animals, they beat us but we are hungry people,” said Muller Bellegarde, 30.

    Several left without getting food, fearful of the pepper spray, the soldiers, and thugs who were grabbing food from receivers.

    Many said they appreciate the international response and under no circumstances want the Haitian government to handle aid deliveries, but suggested Haitian churches could provide more orderly and respectful venues for distributions, with Haitian communities organizing security.

    “The help is good but the way they’re doing it is bad. This is anarchy,” Thomas Louis, 40, trying to get rice and oil for his two babies, aged 2 and six months. “This is not aid. This is a way to put people down.”

  • Capnamerca

    Not quite
    [quote]Where I come from that sounds like he overstepped his authority, mandate, and common sense. Of course the entire chain of command was in no condition to advise such a lonely warrior in a remote post that he could tear up his old orders.

    Their message seemed to be that despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians were in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti. [/quote]

    I do not think this is why he was removed. I believe it had more to do with the conduct of the troops towards the quake victims. If you insist, I can find more reference to this.

  • hunh?

    I heard an interview with Bill Clinton where he praised the UN (Brazilian) troops and their work in Haiti. There need not be this competition, but some feel the need to foment some kind of nationalistic competition. All praise to the Brazilian soldiers who did a valiant effort to serving in this crisis. All praise to any other groups and nations involved helping Haiti as well.

  • mineiricano

    Bitchslap
    Learn your place Lula.

  • Nah

    Propaganda About Aristide and Haiti
    First of all, there was no civil war in Haiti. The US / France / Canada financed a coup against Aristide, and when he refused to leave, the US / France / Canada coup-knapped him in the middle of the night, at gun point, and shipped him to Africa.

    The Brazilians are slaves for the US.

  • Ederson

    Americans are always in a hurry, always trying to send the most aid to earthquake, flood, tusnami victims. They need to learn to slow down, relax, and live a little. Maybe the next time the general should get their attention by parking yet another tank around the palace, raising another flag, or inviting the American’s over for wine and cheese.

  • Lloyd Cata

    [b]Cap’n,
    First of all, that the author does not elaborate on what the misconduct was that got the commander ousted from his position.

    [i]”It’s good to highlight that in the control of this chaotic situation, there is a Brazilian presence, the command of the forces belongs to a Brazilian official, since 2004.”[/i][/b]

    Where I come from that sounds like he overstepped his authority, mandate, and common sense. Of course the entire chain of command was in no condition to advise such a lonely warrior in a remote post that he could tear up his old orders.:D

    [b]Their message seemed to be that despite being outnumbered by the Americans, Brazilians were in control of the UN’s peacekeeping and relief mission in Haiti.[/b]

    It would have been nice for the Sec. Gen of the UN to have advised the general that the UN would be bowing to the wishes of the American forces(remember the UN inspectors were forcibly removed from Iraq).

    I really have very little to comment on this anecdote to the tragedy in Haiti. Suffice it to say there is another chapter to this story that involves US covert operations in Haiti and the Caribbean. The overwhelming US force is not just coincidental. By taking charge of the National Palace, the general placed himself between the Americans and what may be the only proof of what was really going on in Haiti. A very dangerous and unfortunate circumstance.

    [b]Perhaps now, they will make Haiti a U.S. protectorate.[/b]

    Perhaps that would have been the correct thing 200 years ago, but the unholy Franco-American axis of the Empire had other things in mind. I have never been bashful about what I think in this forum, but in this case I can go no further without the proof of what is being uncovered in Haiti and what is being covered up.

    I’m sure the US military meant no disrespect to the Brazilian general, but he simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m sure an American invitation to join them in Columbia, at the 7 dirty sisters, will smooth the waters.

  • Capnamerca

    Too bad . . .
    First of all, that the author does not elaborate on what the misconduct was that got the commander ousted from his position. I doubt it was the show of responsibility at the food giveaway.

    Secondly, I imagine the leaders in Brazil and elsewhere will use this as another excuse to accuse the U.S. of trying to dominate politics and economics in Haiti, and of course the rest of Latin America. Perhaps now, they will make Haiti a U.S. protectorate.

    I can already read Mr. Cata’s response.

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