07 January 2006

Haiti UN Forces Commander Found Dead

BBC reports that the Commander of the UN forces in Haiti has been found shot dead in a Port-au-Prince hotel room.
The body of Gen Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar, a Brazilian, was discovered early in the morning in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The general had taken over as head of the 9,000-strong peacekeeping force in September last year.

Haiti has been blighted by political and criminal violence and instability over the last two years.
The past two years? Haiti had a very promising begining -- it was the world's first black-led republic and the first Caribbean state to achieve independence. However, previous regimes such as "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier dragged the island nation into a hole it has never climbed out of. Life is so bad in this tiny nation that thousands of hopeful refuges take to the Caribbean in vessels ranging from bathtubs to dozens of pallets lashed together only to be intercepted by the Coast Guard and repatriated.
The role of the UN troops is to keep the peace between rival gangs who support and oppose the ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The mission's mandate, which expires in mid-February, also includes supporting the political process.

On Friday, the UN Security Council urged the country's interim government to hold an election by 7 February.
Hmmm. The UN has an armed military mission in Haiti to support the political process and to ensure that elections take place within a certain timeframe. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Why aren't France, Germany, John Kerry and John Murtha demanding that the UN forces immediately withdraw from Haiti?
The election has already been delayed four times because of spikes in violence, delays in distributing 3.5 million voter identification cards and problems with polling stations.

Voting has originally been scheduled for November, then moved to December, and then delayed a third time until 8 January.

But last week Haiti's provisional electoral council postponed the election again, without setting a new date.
I'm still waiting to see blue fingers in Haiti.

Thanks to the Open Posts at Stop the ACLU and The Mudville Gazette.

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