A joint communiqué from the Mercosur summit, which took place on Friday in Ouro Preto, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, declared that the economic block remains committed to achieving stability in Haiti where political unrest has raged since February when the president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, stepped down.
At the moment, a UN transition mission (Minustah) is in Haiti with troops from all the Mercosur founding countries, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as Chile, an associate member.
In the Mercosur document, the presidents declare: “…solidarity with the people of Haiti and a continuing commitment to helping achieve political stability, national reconciliation, the construction of democratic institutions and the social and economic development of Haiti. At the same time, we continue to participate in Minustah and the reconstruction of Haiti.”
The Mercosur presidents also called on the international community to provide the manpower needed to make Minustah effective.
The Mercosur leaders also called for more money and less red tape, pointing out that at a donor’s meeting in July over US$ 1 billion was promised for Haitian reconstruction.
Another Haitian problem that the Mercosur summit underlined is the general election scheduled for next year.
There are no reliable voter lists in Haiti and the UN estimates that half the population does not have any valid identification documents.
So the Mercosur communiqué calls on the UN and the Organization of American States to assist in preparing for the election.
Translator: Allen Bennett