MINUSTAH Brought Cholera Into Haiti; Sought to Keep Aristide Out
|Friday, 01 July 2011 11:18|
Revelations about MINUSTAH are in the news again. First, a new study published in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal affirms that a MINUSTAH camp was the origin of the cholera outbreak which has killed over 5,500 people so far.
As AP reports:
As we described in detail when suspicions first arose that Nepalese blue helmets had brought the cholera strain to Haiti, MINUSTAH rejected the claims and showed little interest in uncovering the truth about the cause of the epidemic. Cholera, meanwhile, continues to spread, recently increasing with the heavy rains:
This isn’t the only revelation about MINUSTAH to emerge this week. A U.S. Embassy cable recently made available by Wikileaks reveals that in 2006, then-head of mission for MINUSTAH, Edmond Mulet “urged U.S. legal action against Aristide to prevent the former president from gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti.” But as various legal and human rights experts have explained, there seem to be many allegations but little evidence to charge Aristide with anything. (Aristide, of course, has not been charged with anything since returning to Haiti.)
The cable also states that then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan pressured South African president Thabo Mbeki “to ensure that Aristide remained in South Africa” – just as Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon, and President Obama, were to do earlier this year when it became apparent that Aristide would attempt to return to Haiti.
These aren’t the only interesting revelations in the cable. As in other cables we have previously reviewed, this one talks of MINUSTAH “fatigue”. Under a heading entitled “MINUSTAH Could Lose Steam Over Long Run,” the cable describes waning enthusiasm for the Mission from South American countries:
This section then concludes
As previously noted by Ansel Herz and others, the Chapter VII designation is intended for situations in which the consent of the destination country for the UN “peace keepers” is not required. According to the academic expert Herz cited [PDF], to justify a Chapter VII status
So the Venezuelan government may have been bothered by the Haitian government not having a say in whether and how long MINUSTAH would remain in place. This claim by Mulet also fits in with the theme we have noted previously of the U.S. government’s use of MINUSTAH as a force that excludes Venezuela. Regional groupings that include the U.S. but exclude Venezuela are becoming increasingly rare in the Western Hemisphere.