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Brazil Won’t Retreat from Haiti, Says Defense Minister

With the death of the Brazilian commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), general Urano Bacellar, the role of Brazil in that Caribbean nation is being reexamined.

According to Vice President and Minister of Defense, José Alencar, Brazil has to stay the course. "We cannot, in any way, even question our mission at this moment. We cannot retreat," declared Alencar.

His remarks come as Brasilia announces that it has already indicated a new commander for MINUSTAH, general José Elito Carvalho de Siqueira.

However, Camille Chalmers, a professor of economics at the State University of Haiti, and an official in the NGO, Platform for Alternative Sustainable Development, says that the Brazilian government should take advantage of the crisis caused by the tragic death of general Bacellar and study a transformation of its mission.

"It could become an active solidarity force," she says, adding that MINUSTAH, as a military mission, has been a total failure, unable to achieve any of its goals. She says workers in health and education should be brought in to substitute the soldiers.

"In Haiti the root of the problem is a grave social and economic crisis which must be resolved," she declared in a telephone interview. She concluded by saying that it was a scandal to be spending US$ 25 million per month on MINUSTAH in a nation as poor as Haiti.

Agência Brasil

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