Chilean Armed Forces: A Decade Working For Peace in Haiti through MINUSTAH

Chilean Armed Forces: A Decade Working For Peace in Haiti through MINUSTAH

By Dialogo
April 22, 2015






For more than 10 years, 5,900 service members of the Chilean Armed Forces have provided security, autonomy, and public safety to Haitians.

Chile was the first country to respond to the United Nations’ request for assistance in the Caribbean country when the UN launched the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2004. Chile's Joint Chiefs of Staff assigned a Military contingent consisting of personnel from the Army, Navy, and Air Force (FACh, for its Spanish acronym) to cooperate in the peacekeeping effort.

“The promotion of peace and international security is one of the fundamental principles of our country’s foreign policy,” said Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Muñoz de la Puente, Commanding Officer of the Chilean company in Haiti.

The first unit formed was the Chile Battalion, made up of 173 men from the Marine Corps and 181 men from the Army, who were organized into two mechanized infantry companies with their respective support for command and logistical and administrative control. ChiBat’s mission was to ensure security in the area, control and support civilian-military opportunities to restore stability to the country, as well as provide humanitarian assistance and protection. The group’s involvement was critical, because the country was in crisis at the time.

“[This was the first time that the country] deployed a number of service members who had no experience with peacekeeping operations, but we managed to overcome time constraints and distance to fulfill the mission entrusted to us,” said General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada, Chief of Staff of the Chilean Army.

Important milestones


Currently, Chile fulfills peace missions on several different continents, such as the European Union Force (EUFOR) Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the aegis of the European Union; the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNIMOGIP); and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East. However, MINUSTAH is the Chilean mission with the greatest number of deployed Chilean service members.

To date, more than 5,900 Chilean Troops – including Officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted personnel – have served in the Caribbean country. The first to do so were from the Special Forces Company and the Infantry Company, which later received reinforcements as the situation progressed, specifically additional Soldiers from the Mechanized Infantry Company, Helicopter Platoon, which stayed until 2006, and the Armed Forces Company of Horizontal Construction Engineers.

Every seven months, a new group of relief service members arrive in Haiti. In order to join the national group, the volunteers must have qualifying résumés, be in sufficiently good physical condition for the work demands, speak fluent English, and have passed a psychological exam. Those selected are trained by the Chilean Joint Peacekeeping Operations Center (CECOPAC), created in 2002 under the Ministry of Defense and dedicated to the training of personnel in the Armed Forces, law enforcement, public security, and civilians for peacekeeping operations.

“It has been my most important professional challenge,” said Army Armored Cavalry Lieutenant Carlos Cárdenas, 27, who has been in Haiti for seven months.

Women Soldiers help keep the peace


The contributions of female Troops to the peacekeeping mission is another important milestone for the Chilean Military. Since MINUSTAH was launched, 140 women from the Army have participated in the units deployed to the Caribbean nation.

“[The women of the Chilean Armed Forces] have been critical in our contact with the civilian population, especially vulnerable groups, to identify problems associated with women’s situations in the mission area and possible violations of their rights,” said Major General Juan Carlos Núñez Bustamante, Commanding Officer of Ground Operations in Haiti, during a meeting between military and Chilean authorities held last December, on the 10th anniversary of the peacekeeping mission.

“The opportunity to help people facing a great need and who achieve a better quality of life with our support is a great human and professional experience,” said Navy Communications Private First Class Leslie Guajardo, 26, who has served as a radio operator for seven months.

Currently, there are 20 women among the more than 450 service members serving in Chile's MINUSTAH contingent. The Chilean Battalion consists of 345 service members, who use Mowag armored vehicles and support vehicles to conduct broad-scope pedestrian and motorized patrols, and provide medical treatment and medical air evacuations, in conjunction with the FACh and several civilian-Military groups

Chile's peacekeepers helped MINUSTAH respond to the devastating 2010 earthquake, which left more than 300,000 dead, hundreds injured, and more than 1.5 million people homeless. The natural disaster set back much of the work MINUSTAH had accomplished in previous years. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, only one of 39 main public buildings remained standing. The Palace of Justice, the Presidential Palace, and the Cathedral, among others, were completely destroyed.

Consequently, Chile stepped up its response. “Chile’s commitment was increased in all areas,” said Lt. Col. Muñoz de la Puente, highlighting the efforts of the Chilean-Ecuadorian Corps of Engineers in constructing buildings and repairing roads; cleaning green areas, landfills, and sewers; constructing rainwater retention walls; and transporting materials, among other tasks.

The mission today


Providing engineering expertise is one of the ways Chile's Armed Forces contributes to MINUSTAH. Chilean Military Soldiers are part of a team of about 70 construction engineers, a group which also includes 52 Ecuadorean Troops and one Honduran officer. This group performs construction, leveling and trash removal on the streets and roads that are difficult to access, as well as topographical studies.

Chilean Military personnel also contribute to the peacekeeping effort from the air. The Chilean Air Force participates through the Haiti Helicopter Group, composed of 54 men and women who work with four UH1H helicopters, conducting medical air evacuations, aerial reconnaissance, and operational insertions and extractions every day, as well as transporting authorities and passengers. This unit has the ability to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It recently completed 15,000 flight hours in Haiti, over 50,000 passengers transported, and 2,400 flight hours with night vision support, as the only MINUSTAH country that possesses this technology.

The Chilean mission also has a police component, with Carabineros
and members of the Investigations Police (PDI), who have contributed to the training of personnel from the Haitian National Police (PNH).

“Peacekeeping operations does not only refer to security, but also to providing facilities for political processes, protecting civilians, helping the disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants, and supporting the organization of electoral processes,” Maj. Gen. Nuñes Bustamante said.

“[Haiti] has improved substantially, but there is still much to do, and we are willing to continue working in the same way that we have been doing for ten years, so long as the United Nations requires us to,” Lt. Col. Muñoz de la Puente said

In 2015, MINUSTAH entered a transition phase toward the consolidation of peace. The goal is to gradually scale down the involvement of the military component, according to United Nations Resolution 2180 (from 2014).

In this context, the institution proposed that Brazil and Chile lead the final phase of the UN Military operation, which will begin to close down in 2016, once the 2015 presidential elections have been held.







For more than 10 years, 5,900 service members of the Chilean Armed Forces have provided security, autonomy, and public safety to Haitians.

Chile was the first country to respond to the United Nations’ request for assistance in the Caribbean country when the UN launched the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2004. Chile's Joint Chiefs of Staff assigned a Military contingent consisting of personnel from the Army, Navy, and Air Force (FACh, for its Spanish acronym) to cooperate in the peacekeeping effort.

“The promotion of peace and international security is one of the fundamental principles of our country’s foreign policy,” said Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Muñoz de la Puente, Commanding Officer of the Chilean company in Haiti.

The first unit formed was the Chile Battalion, made up of 173 men from the Marine Corps and 181 men from the Army, who were organized into two mechanized infantry companies with their respective support for command and logistical and administrative control. ChiBat’s mission was to ensure security in the area, control and support civilian-military opportunities to restore stability to the country, as well as provide humanitarian assistance and protection. The group’s involvement was critical, because the country was in crisis at the time.

“[This was the first time that the country] deployed a number of service members who had no experience with peacekeeping operations, but we managed to overcome time constraints and distance to fulfill the mission entrusted to us,” said General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada, Chief of Staff of the Chilean Army.

Important milestones


Currently, Chile fulfills peace missions on several different continents, such as the European Union Force (EUFOR) Althea in Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the aegis of the European Union; the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNIMOGIP); and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East. However, MINUSTAH is the Chilean mission with the greatest number of deployed Chilean service members.

To date, more than 5,900 Chilean Troops – including Officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted personnel – have served in the Caribbean country. The first to do so were from the Special Forces Company and the Infantry Company, which later received reinforcements as the situation progressed, specifically additional Soldiers from the Mechanized Infantry Company, Helicopter Platoon, which stayed until 2006, and the Armed Forces Company of Horizontal Construction Engineers.

Every seven months, a new group of relief service members arrive in Haiti. In order to join the national group, the volunteers must have qualifying résumés, be in sufficiently good physical condition for the work demands, speak fluent English, and have passed a psychological exam. Those selected are trained by the Chilean Joint Peacekeeping Operations Center (CECOPAC), created in 2002 under the Ministry of Defense and dedicated to the training of personnel in the Armed Forces, law enforcement, public security, and civilians for peacekeeping operations.

“It has been my most important professional challenge,” said Army Armored Cavalry Lieutenant Carlos Cárdenas, 27, who has been in Haiti for seven months.

Women Soldiers help keep the peace


The contributions of female Troops to the peacekeeping mission is another important milestone for the Chilean Military. Since MINUSTAH was launched, 140 women from the Army have participated in the units deployed to the Caribbean nation.

“[The women of the Chilean Armed Forces] have been critical in our contact with the civilian population, especially vulnerable groups, to identify problems associated with women’s situations in the mission area and possible violations of their rights,” said Major General Juan Carlos Núñez Bustamante, Commanding Officer of Ground Operations in Haiti, during a meeting between military and Chilean authorities held last December, on the 10th anniversary of the peacekeeping mission.

“The opportunity to help people facing a great need and who achieve a better quality of life with our support is a great human and professional experience,” said Navy Communications Private First Class Leslie Guajardo, 26, who has served as a radio operator for seven months.

Currently, there are 20 women among the more than 450 service members serving in Chile's MINUSTAH contingent. The Chilean Battalion consists of 345 service members, who use Mowag armored vehicles and support vehicles to conduct broad-scope pedestrian and motorized patrols, and provide medical treatment and medical air evacuations, in conjunction with the FACh and several civilian-Military groups

Chile's peacekeepers helped MINUSTAH respond to the devastating 2010 earthquake, which left more than 300,000 dead, hundreds injured, and more than 1.5 million people homeless. The natural disaster set back much of the work MINUSTAH had accomplished in previous years. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, only one of 39 main public buildings remained standing. The Palace of Justice, the Presidential Palace, and the Cathedral, among others, were completely destroyed.

Consequently, Chile stepped up its response. “Chile’s commitment was increased in all areas,” said Lt. Col. Muñoz de la Puente, highlighting the efforts of the Chilean-Ecuadorian Corps of Engineers in constructing buildings and repairing roads; cleaning green areas, landfills, and sewers; constructing rainwater retention walls; and transporting materials, among other tasks.

The mission today


Providing engineering expertise is one of the ways Chile's Armed Forces contributes to MINUSTAH. Chilean Military Soldiers are part of a team of about 70 construction engineers, a group which also includes 52 Ecuadorean Troops and one Honduran officer. This group performs construction, leveling and trash removal on the streets and roads that are difficult to access, as well as topographical studies.

Chilean Military personnel also contribute to the peacekeeping effort from the air. The Chilean Air Force participates through the Haiti Helicopter Group, composed of 54 men and women who work with four UH1H helicopters, conducting medical air evacuations, aerial reconnaissance, and operational insertions and extractions every day, as well as transporting authorities and passengers. This unit has the ability to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It recently completed 15,000 flight hours in Haiti, over 50,000 passengers transported, and 2,400 flight hours with night vision support, as the only MINUSTAH country that possesses this technology.

The Chilean mission also has a police component, with Carabineros
and members of the Investigations Police (PDI), who have contributed to the training of personnel from the Haitian National Police (PNH).

“Peacekeeping operations does not only refer to security, but also to providing facilities for political processes, protecting civilians, helping the disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants, and supporting the organization of electoral processes,” Maj. Gen. Nuñes Bustamante said.

“[Haiti] has improved substantially, but there is still much to do, and we are willing to continue working in the same way that we have been doing for ten years, so long as the United Nations requires us to,” Lt. Col. Muñoz de la Puente said

In 2015, MINUSTAH entered a transition phase toward the consolidation of peace. The goal is to gradually scale down the involvement of the military component, according to United Nations Resolution 2180 (from 2014).

In this context, the institution proposed that Brazil and Chile lead the final phase of the UN Military operation, which will begin to close down in 2016, once the 2015 presidential elections have been held.


LET US SAY YES TO WORLD PEACE.
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This is not in the news .... Sincerely, thank you TELESUR ... My respects .... MORE ON ARMED FORCES IN CONCEPCION I like these news items I would like to help Haiti
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