Corruption by ‘Peacekeeping’: The Lure of Foreign Exchange

Bangladeshi_UN_police

Editorial comment

United Nations soldiers from

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, United States and Uruguay

United Nations police from

Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Egypt, France, Grenada, Guinea, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Yemen

are in Haiti to support the military occupation that followed a United States-France-Canada coup in 2004 against democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In general, these personnel from the UN (de)Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) serve as an instrument of repression for Haiti’s elite.

  • During the first two years after the coup, MINUSTAH “peaceekeeping” troops from Argentina, Brazil and Chile (ABC) killed thousands of Haitians.
  • In October 2010, Nepalese MINUSTAH troops introduced a cholera epidemic into the rice-growing region of Haiti that decimated the rice farmers. In all, the epidemic has killed over 8,000 people, mostly children.
  • MINUSTAH personnel routinely prey on Haiti’s poor. They have violently attacked workers’ protests, run child prostitution rings, engaged in an exchange of food for favors called “cambiar,” raped numerous teenage girls and boys, and even committed murders, some of this on UN bases.
 Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy speaks with school children during a visit to Cité Soleil, a slum on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (January 2009).


Under-Secretary-General for “Peacekeeping” Operations, the French national Alain Le Roy, speaks with Haitian school children during a January 2009 visit to Cité Soleil, a slum on the outskirts of the capital city of Port-au-Prince (UN Photo).

The soldiers and police officers who participate in repression in Haiti are recycled back into their home countries’ armies and police forces. Those who oversee the soldiers and police in MINUSTAH also govern their home countries’ armies and foreign affairs. Such is the state of the world today.

If your favorite “leftist” government appears on one or both of the above lists, you have no choice but to revise your views. There can be no democracy in any of these countries, regardless of any electoral process or how free their citizens believe themselves to be.

It has been argued that some participating countries in MINUSTAH function as good occupiers, when otherwise we would be left with only bad ones. The idea of good versus bad occupiers is analogous to the notion of a good versus bad slave master. The contributors of troops and police to MINUSTAH are in the business of occupation. They do this for diplomatic perks from the UN and for foreign exchange (mucho dinero). It is actually more imperative to get rid of the pseudo anti-imperialist occupiers who are presumed to be benign or even good. Everybody knows what should be done with the bad ones. The “good” ones do a lot more damage.

Although it is true that one reason countries such as Brazil and Rwanda participate in the repression of Haitians and other people is because they get diplomatic perks (for example, temporary seats or hopes of permanent seats on the UN’s Security Council), their main motivation by far is greed. Participants in the looting of Haiti are required to put up money, soldiers, or both. Enterprises such as the Brazilian construction company Constructora OAS Ltd and the South Korean textile (sweatshop) concern Sae-A Trading Company Ltd are able to exploit Haiti and Haitians because their governments support the UN presence. Furthermore, MINUSTAH’s annual budget itself is about half a billion dollars, and those who serve in MINUSTAH send home a lot of foreign exchange.

The article below describes the importance of “peacekeeping” to Bangladesh’s economy. It is worthwhile to note that Bangladesh is not only a country where cholera is endemic but also one where the strain of cholera (Vibrio cholerae O139 synonym Bengal, with multi-drug resistant versions) is foreign to Haitians and the citizens of most other countries occupied by the UN. In other words, the presence of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the world is a source of cholera, and their presence in Haiti could lead to a new cholera epidemic, possibly more serious than the one that was started by Nepalese UN troops. But what’s a little contamination, killing and rape when billions of dollars are in play?

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

UN_Cholera


Anti-MINUSTAH protestor (Thony Belizaire, AFP/Getty Images).

Bangladesh peacekeepers send home $1.24b in three years

By Staff
AFP via AsiaOne

Dhaka, Bangladesh — Bangladeshi soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers have sent home nearly US $1 billion (S$1.24b) during the past three years, the country’s envoy to the UN said on Thursday.

Bangladesh is the biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping forces with more than 10,000 soldiers serving in 45 out of the global body’s 65 missions across the world.

Over the past three years, Bangladeshi peacekeepers sent home 75 billion taka (S$1.138 billion) to their families, said the country’s UN representative, Abdul Momen, according to a statement released in Dhaka.

Impoverished Bangladesh relies on remittances to help pay for its surging imports.

In 2010-11, the country’s seven-million-plus overseas workers sent home US $11.6 billion – representing over 10 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product.

Lucrative peacekeeping duties are hugely popular with Bangladesh’s armed forces, giving those who take up such jobs a chance to buy homes and save for retirement.

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An all-female police unit from Bangladesh, serving with MINUSTAH in Haiti, arrives in Port-au-Prince, ostensibly to assist with post-earthquake reconstruction (Marco Dormino, UN Photo).

Experts say the possibility of landing UN peacekeeping postings are one of the key reasons why mid-ranking officers in Bangladesh’s powerful armed forces have lost the appetite for staging coups in recent decades.

Bangladesh has been hit by around 20 failed and successful coups since its independence in 1971, but most occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s when local soldiers did not have access to UN peacekeeping jobs.

In 2010, the Muslim-majority nation sent its first female peacekeepers – a 110-strong battalion of policewomen – to Haiti, and the UN envoy said the country could send more women to serve in UN missions.

Sources: Haiti Chery | AsiaOne | UN Photos (featured image by Hadrien Bonnaud)

Related:
Bye-Bye MINUSTAH! (English | French | Spanish | Portuguese)
MINUSTAH’s Gang Rapes (English | French | Spanish | Portuguese)
‘Peacekeeping’: A Cancer on the World
Rwandans Contributing to UN (De)stabilization of Haiti
Total Withdrawal of Brazilian UN Occupation Troops Most Wanted from Roussef (English | French)
Withdraw UNASUR’s UN Troops from Haiti!

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