Brazil Will Stay in Haiti to Prevent a New Rwanda Massacre

Brazil has no timetable to withdraw its troops under United Nations flag from Haiti said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva underlining he did not want a repeat of the Rwanda killings and chaos.

President Lula currently on an official visit to Algiers said he was satisfied with this week’s elections in Haiti but "if the future government considers us necessary, we will continue to contribute".

Brazil commands the 9.000 strong United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, which was sent to the Caribbean island following the ousting of president Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004 in the midst of rampant armed violence and rioting.

This week Haiti celebrated its first elections, (organized by United Nations) since Aristide, currently exiled in South Africa was forced to leave the impoverished Caribbean island by US and French marines.

"Haiti has given evidence of confidence and political maturity because voting was not compulsory yet the turnout was 80% of the Electoral roll," said Lula. "Finally they’ve realized that democracy is the only chance to live in peace and with opportunity".

Lula admitted that he had considered withdrawing Brazilian troops following the elections – and domestic demands – but "I changed my mind when I saw what happened in countries with political instability when UN troops left".

"Before knowing what really happened in Rwanda in 1994, and I saw a documentary on all the killings and massacre that went on when peace keeping forces withdrew, I think Brazil can still contribute," highlighted Lula da Silva.

However, he cautioned that the elected government will have to consolidate instruments to ensure law and order plus democratic stability in Haiti.

"The electoral process is but the first step. They will have to build sturdy and solid institutions so Haiti can live in democracy and law and order can be restored".

"If the new government requests us, if the new government needs it, we will contribute. But if the elected government says the moment to leave has come, we will leave; our task will have been completed".

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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