Haiti: Uruguayan People Demand MINUSTAH Withdrawal


By Fernando Moyano
SURda (Spanish)

English | Spanish

Translated from the Spanish by Dady Chery for Erzili Danto Open Salon

“The U.N. does not contain or resolve conflicts but is a globalized world policeman serving the imperial order.” – Fernando Moyano



The Foreign-Hand Syndrome: a Country that is Not Your Government

Everyone knew it. The [Uruguayan] minister of “defense” who is supposedly versed in military matters, always says that he knows very well how a barrack runs. Simultaneously he argues that the facts surrounding the recent denigration of Haiti involved only four “bad apples” and not the military institution.

If true, one would have to think that the Navy commander of a unit is picked for being the most reverend asshole who can sit on a couch and let a striped alligator pass right under his nose. As you know, things like this are difficult not to know.

A month ago a report by a Haitian NGO in Port-Salut denounced the rapes of minors perpetrated by Uruguayan marines from MINUSTAH. Within a matter hours, the Navy carried out an “internal investigation” that concluded these allegations were all false and all the military innocent. The ministry, government, all across the political spectrum, the communications media, made use of that version.

Then a specific complaint came to light, with a victim referred to by name: an 18-year-old kid. And a video appeared. Now the Navy version says that this is a joke in very poor taste.

The versions from the army are that this is a joke in poor taste, statements by the Secretary of the President of the Republic are that this is a joke in poor taste, the conclusions from the UN are that this is a joke in poor taste.

The events occurred two months ago and took a month to hatch because of the shame and pain of the victim, but the video taken at the naval base shows with what bravado these rapists did their feat.

The military command denies everything about the investigation. But totally outside, a Haitian manages to get a copy of the video and broadcast it; someone goes to the Internet; a Haitian judge takes up the matter and notifies the United Nations, which refers the matter to the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And that’s when the minister of “defense” takes cognizance.

But before this, a human rights organization in Haiti collected facts demonstrating that an exchange of sex for food called “cambiar” is a practice that was installed in the Uruguayan naval base in Haiti from the beginning, together with traffic in illegal substances. It is impossible for these things to exist without knowledge of the command. Those entering any military unit must pass through checkpoints. There is a guard’s office and an officer in charge, and so on. And no soldier turns a blind eye without getting something for it. Anyone who really knows headquarters knows how this works.

It is also impossible that what happened in Haiti was unknown to Montevideo. The relay system is such that 75% of the troops and almost 90% of the officers go through “peacekeeping” destinations, and those who return always talk about the things that are going on.

The fact that the Navy investigation exonerated all fault while pretending not to know the real facts is a flagrant proof of concealment and complicity. Similarly, the versions “softening” the involvement of the U.N. are the clearest demonstration of the cynicism of these “peacekeepers.”

The U.N. office was lying shamelessly when it said that a rape had been ruled out of the question. The case forwarded to it by a judge included the video as well as the victim’s testimony, and medical experts found a tear in the victim.

Murphy’s Law dropped one on them. Things are bursting because of the undeniable failure of MINUSTAH, yet they are being forced to accommodate this body and are only talking about a “phased withdrawal”… In 10 years!!

And as Murphy’s law is bound to do, things blew open in Uruguay, which had to play the “good soldier”. Only two months ago, pedophilia made its appearance on the scene when the Uruguayan army organized to show the benefits of MINUSTAH to the Haitian people in a photographic exhibition that wound up displaying scenes of Uruguayan soldiers inappropriately playing with Haitian children.

Mujica’s government worked all this time (and there’s a difference with the previous ones) to “restore the image” of the armed forces, insisting that “inside” the “soldiers of the homeland” must have “friendly relations” with the people, and outside, they try to play a subservient role in the international order as good so-called “peacekeepers.” Both have failed in the worst way.

But the issue here is not rape but degradation. Throughout history all occupation armies have been rapists. But this is because this condition destroys the morality of the occupant and leads to aberrant acts.

Sexologist Gomensoro Arnaldo Uruguay explains: in these violations,

“Sex is just the tool to consummate the act of violence against those people who are discriminated against, the sadistic abuse of power by those who have the ability to oppress their victims, a political issue [and not merely one about sex or gender]. This is why the victims are often small children whose only attribute in common is their vulnerability and helplessness.”

Mujica says this is normal for some soldiers in every army. He fails to explain why this is so, and he also fails to specify that this is an army of occupation soldiers, because they are occupying. And the proof that this is a military occupation (and not a “humanitarian intervention”), if this requires confirmation, is the fact that it violates the self-determination of peoples and promotes the widespread moral degradation of the soldiery.

So let us deal with the political question.

It is our responsibility as a people, beyond what this government does or does not do, to assume solidarity with the Haitian people while we occupy a worthy place in the world. It is our responsibility to join the fight as anti-imperialists and anti-militarists.

We happened to be at an interview on 30 August with Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro and Vice Chancellor Roberto Conde, attended by other members of the Coordinating Committee for the Withdrawal of Troops from Haiti and two representatives of the PIT-CNT. We were told that the position of the Uruguayan government was to go to a “gradual withdrawal”.

We reiterated our demand for immediate withdrawal and offered our personal opinion about it: to stay five more years would be nonsense, and talk of ten years would mean DOUBLE nonsense.

In our organization for the withdrawal of troops from Haiti, we’ve heard four arguments from those who support keeping the troops. They are always the same.

1. The military exists, and this gives them something to do.

2. We are there to prevent a direct U.S. invasion.

3. If we leave, these blacks are going to kill each other.

4. Uruguay is acquiring better standing in the world with the “peacemissions”.

In a future series we will deal more thoroughly with these points.

Briefly our points of view are as follows:

1. The “peacekeeper” role has become the almost exclusive task of the Uruguayan armed forces and a way to keep them hypertrophied, parasitic, and useless for territorial defense.

2. The U.N. does not contain or resolve conflicts but is a globalized world policeman serving the imperial order.

3. Haitians present is a new paradigm of recolonization.

4. Social democratic governments in Latin America meet the sad role of easing the burden of “sepoy” military imperialism.

5. In Uruguay the “sepoy” is congenital to the country and its bourgeoisie, and this also fits the current government policy of ex-prisoners becoming jailers, extending the complicity of the past.

6. Nevertheless, the political decline of the current American and Social “sepoy” imperial order on the one hand, and the resistance of the Haitian people on the other, are causing a crisis in the laboratory of neocolonial domination. There’s a chance to reconnect the links of solidarity between the peoples of our continent, beyond the quarrels between the bourgeoisie pimps and governments.


Sources: SURda (Spanish original) | Erzili Danto Open Salon (English)

© Copyright 2011. This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints of this English translation must cite the author, Dady Chery and Erzili Danto Open Salon, and include a “live link” to the article.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Leave a Reply