Brazil to Help Haiti Build a Professional Army

The Government of Haiti has asked Brazil's military to help put together armed forces, capable of assuming peacekeeping duties the UN currently provides. Haiti Minister of Defense, Jean Rodolphe Joazile, along with Brazil's Minister of Defense, Celso Amorim, issued a joint statement on July 26, 2012 regarding the request. Amorim said Brazil would send military representatives to Haiti on a fact-finding visit to decide what kinds of resources Haiti would need to build their army.

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Amorim pointed out assistance from Brazil is based on the stipulation Haiti train and pay their soldiers as a professional military operation. In other words, Brazil does not want a volunteer militia that can't perform the job now being handled by UN peacekeeping forces.

Joazile promised the new army would not revert to a volunteer militia. As proof that Haiti is serious about building a professional peacekeeping force, he suggested commanders could earn a degree in civil engineering in Brazil. Training and knowledge of constructing roads, dams, bridges, and other structural forms would prepare Haiti to deal with the frequent tropical storms and earthquakes that routinely damage the country's infrastructure.

Brazilian military forces increased more than two-fold after the 2010 earthquake, and Amorim is emphatic it draw down its forces at a steady pace because, "it is not good for Haiti, the UN, or Brazil that the forces stay there in a permanent way." Beyond the peacekeeping responsibilities, he adds, Haiti needs to be able to provide protection for its borders and coastline.

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Read more: Military, Jean Rodolphe Joazile, Brazil, Defense Minister, Military

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