Chile’s Peacekeeping and the Post-UN Intervention Scenario in Haiti

Publication Date01 October 2019
AuthorCarlos Solar
Date01 October 2019
Chile’s Peacekeeping
and the Post-UN
Scenario in Haiti
Carlos Solar1
The defence and foreign policy communities in the Global South should learn
from the lessons of security governance that followed the 13-year United
Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). To better inform the aca-
demic and policy debate, this article extrapolates ideas from the case study of
Chile, one of the ‘big four’ Latin American peacekeeping providers in Haiti, along
with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The article examines Chile’s finished com-
promise with the MINUSTAH in order to shed light on conflict intervention
strategies and its peace operations in Colombia and the Central African Republic.
It argues that military policies for peace intervention purposes should undergo
a critical reassessment in light of the state steering away from the past use of
long-term brute force. Today’s changing security environment favours a set of
different human security policies that have become more prevalent for peace-
keeping policymaking. Engaging in scenarios of war and peace thus demands a
more focused, experienced and tactical use of military and diplomatic resources
than governments in the developing countries currently possess.
Peacekeeping, foreign policy, conflict intervention, civil–military relations, United
Nations, human security
Modern civil–military peacekeeping methods have exposed the trade-off
between long-term conflict resolution and governance reordering. Although
multilateral missions to poorer and less developed regions of the globe have
1 Latin American Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Corresponding author:
Carlos Solar, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6LY, UK.
International Studies
56(4) 272–291, 2019
2019 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0020881719857395
Solar 273
prevented further evil from arising, their means and ends have not always been
beneficial to the local population. The case of the United Nations (UN)
Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation
en Haïti—MINUSTAH in French) is an example of this. Since the arrival of the
blue helmets in 2004, the second to this troubled country in a decade (the first
occurring between 1994 and 1996), on-the-ground military humanitarian efforts
have been curtailed by multiple factors, including natural catastrophes, disease,
corruption, maladministration and civil unrest. Any contingent analysis of why
this has happened ought to shed light on a myriad of historical variables, with
fingers pointing to Haitian elites, US domestic politics, the donor community,
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private contractors, not forgetting
the local Haitian culture of corruption, illegality and political violence (Buss &
Gardner, 2009; Edmonds, 2013; Gordon & Young, 2017; Heine & Thompson,
2006; Shamsie & Thompson, 2006; Weiss, 2005).
The MINUSTAH aimed to support Haiti’s transitional government in ensur-
ing a secure and stable environment. The mandate included support for security
sector reform (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and
the reform of the Haitian National Police), promotion and protection of human
rights and assistance in organizing and monitoring elections in the country. The
MINUSTAH became the first UN peacekeeping mission with a majority of
Latin American troops. By the end of 2004, the mission had on the ground some
6,000 of its authorized 6,700 troops and about 1,400 of its 1,622 authorized
Civilian Police (CIVPOL), representing some 40 countries. It also had a strength
of up to 548 international civilian personnel; 154 UN volunteers and 995 local
civilian staff. Haiti’s regional neighbours took a big interest in the mission, with
the Special Representative of the Secretary-General hailing from Chile, the
Force Commander from Brazil, the Police Commissioner from Canada and
peacekeepers from eight Latin American countries. As of 30 June 2013 (before
the UN began a drawdown and reconfigured the uniformed strengths to 2,370
troops), the countries with more than 100 military personnel included Brazil
(1,407); Uruguay (942); Sri Lanka (874); Jordan (595); Argentina (578); Nepal
(507); Chile (479); India (458); Peru (373); Bangladesh (321); Bolivia (208);
Rwanda (180); Philippines (178); Indonesia (173); Paraguay (163); Senegal
(151); Pakistan (147); Guatemala (137); Côte d’Ivoire (127); and Canada (126)
(Lemay-Hebert, 2015; United Nations, 2005). Following the 2015 electoral pro-
cess and the installation of a new president, the Secretary General gave its stra-
tegic assessment to the Security Council, highlighting the degree of stability
throughout the country, congratulating the ‘recent positive trends’ and hoping
for the UN presence in Haiti to ‘evolve significantly, including its security pos-
ture’ (United Nations Security Council [UNSC], 2015, p. 15). Following the
adoption of resolution 2350 in 2017, the MINUSTAH commenced a staggered
military drawdown in April (among them the Latin American battalions from
Uruguay, Guatemala and Chile), while the final repatriation of troops happened
in October that same year (including the Argentinean, Paraguayan and Brazilian
units) with the handover of security tasks to the national police and government.
Against this background, we herein set out to explore what the defence and

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