Brazil’s Defense Minister Defends Brazilian Military Presence in Haiti

Brazil’s Vice President and Minister of Defense, José Alencar, rebutted criticism by members of Congress who are calling for a review of the decision to send Brazilian troops to Haiti as part of the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in that country.

The calls for a new look at the situation comes on the heels of the death of the Brazilian commander of MINUSTAH, general Urano Bacellar, last Saturday, January 7.

"We will remain in Haiti. We will continue to command MINUSTAH. That is what we want," said Alencar.

At the beginning of its 2006 legislative session, Congress is scheduled to reexamine the Brazilian presence in Haiti. According to Alencar,

"If there is lucidity in Congress, they will understand that this is an important moment in the effort by Brazil to play a significant role in international affairs."

Meanwhile, the commander of the Brazilian Army, general Francisco Albuquerque, declared that the Haiti mission was a risk, but went on to say that "The Army is a risky profession. And in spite of the risks this is the time for Brazil to fulfill its commitment. We have participated in many other peace missions – 34 all together – and we intend to do our duty now as we have done in the past."

General Albuquerque is scheduled to travel to the UN this weekend to work out the details of the transfer of the command of MINUSTAH to another Brazilian general.

The UN has asked Brasilia to submit two names to substitute general Urano Bacellar, the former commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

On Monday, January 9, the Brazilian government nominated general José Elito Carvalho de Siqueira, a three-star general who commands Brazil’s 6th Military Region in Salvador, Bahia, to be Bacellar’s substitute.

"Our idea was to submit a single name, but the UN has requested a second. So we are going to send in another name," Defense Minister José Alencar.

According to general Francisco Albuquerque, the Brazilian Army commander, the problem in Haiti is not just military. "It is social and economic, as well," he declared.

Agência Brasil

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    Who is Brazils presence in Haiti Dangero
    On July 6th, 2005, the Baazilian-led UN force killed at least two dozen civilians, and wounded several dozen more, during an assault on Cite Soleil, one of many such “operations” to hunt down Haiti’s “bandits” or “chimeres.” There are strong reasons to suspect that Bacellar may have killed himself because of the immense pressure that he was from wealthy elites to stage similar operations in Cite Soleil. Under the leadership of the interim commander, a School of the Americas graduate, a participant in the 1973 coup against Allende, and an accused murderer, it is expected that thse “operations” in Cite Soleil will proceed.

    Who’s lives are at risk with Brazil’s continued role in the illegal occupation of Haiti and the accompanying propping up of a murderous coup regime.

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