Uruguayan General to Coordinate All UN Blue Helmets
By Javier Bonilla, for Defensa.com December 08, 2016Uruguayan General Carlos Loitey was appointed chief military advisor to the United Nations (UN) Department of Peacekeeping Operations. “This is the first time Uruguay has had a position of so much responsibility and decision-making power within the most important peacekeeping organization,” said Defense Minister Jorge Menéndez. Between 1,300 and 1,400 Uruguayan troops are serving on peacekeeping missions. The secretary of state explained that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which traces its roots back to 1948 and was formally established in 1992, centralizes the actions of peacekeeping missions, their troop deployments and the contributions made by countries to the missions. The head of the department, Frenchman Hervé Ladsous, receives military advice from a high-ranking UN official who is “the most important peacekeeping mission advisor.” This position recently became available. Previously, the UN sent out a call to different countries asking them to propose candidates for this position. “In response to the call, the Ministry of Defense, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Uruguayan Army, evaluated the possibilities. The name of General Carlos Loitey, a person with broad experience in peacekeeping missions, was put forward. He was Uruguay’s representative on missions to the United States, and today he commands Army Division II in San José,” explained Menéndez. The proposal was analyzed and after two candidate selection rounds, Gen. Loitey was chosen for the position from a group of four applicants, “which is a source of pride and uplift for Uruguay, as well as an acknowledgment of our long-standing contributions to peacekeeping missions.” Menéndez stressed that the selection is a result of Gen. Loitey’s personal merits, as well as the acknowledgment that the country is up to the great responsibility required by this international organization. Gen. Loitey will assume his position before the end of the year and will be based in the United States. Uruguay deployed between 1,300 and 1,400 troops on three major missions: the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and in the Sinai Peninsula following the 1978 Camp David Accords. Uruguay has also sent military observers to Kashmir in the India-Pakistan border, and the Sahara, among other destinations, and participated in the high-profile missions to Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola and Eritrea in the '90s and early 2000s. Gen. Loitey is the commander of the approximately 1500 troops of Army Division II, after being promoted to this position at the end of 2012. The division oversees the military units of Colonia, Soriano, Durazno, Flores, Florida and San José in the southeastern part of the country. Hailing from Dolores (Soriano), Gen. Loitey was trained as an infantry weapons officer and served as the defense and military attaché assigned to the Uruguayan Embassy in the United States, as the head of the Uruguayan delegation to the Inter-American Defense Board and as advisor to Uruguay’s permanent mission to the Organization of the American States. Previously, he served as chief of staff of the Army, and director of the Military Arms and Specialties Institute, as well as of Uruguay's National Intelligence Agency. At the international level, he was a military observer in Iran-Iraq (1990), Rwanda (1995), and the Congo (2003), in addition to being part of the Uruguayan contingent of the U.N. mission to Cambodia (1993), and serving as head of the Integrated Support Services for the UN Mission to the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in 2010, among other locations.