Uruguayan Troops Close Military Base in Haiti

Uruguayan Troops Close Military Base in Haiti

By Dialogo
March 13, 2015




Uruguayan Soldiers working with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) recently relinquished control of a Military base in the Caribbean nation.

As part of a plan to draw down the Military component of MINUSTAH, the Uruguayan Soldiers -- “after eight years of outstanding performance" -- permanently closed the Lieutenant Colonel Gonzalo Martirené Base located in the Mirebalais area on February 4.

Closing and dismantling the base was a protracted effort involving 80 Troops working night and day for 28 days. With the support of other contingents -- such as the Bolivian Company (BOLCOY), the Brazilian Battalion (BRABAT), the Brazilian Company of Engineers (BRAENGCOY), the combined Chilean and Ecuadorean Company of Engineers (CHIECUENGCOY), the Guatemalan Company of Military Police (GUAMPCOY) and the Paraguayan Company of Engineers (PARAENGCOY) -- they removed vehicles and packed sensitive equipment to return to Uruguay.

The Soldiers then turned the Military base over to the United Nations in Haiti, which in turn donated it to the local government.

A reduction in Troops


The closing of the Military base coincides with a reduction in the contingent of Uruguayan Troops in MINUSTAH. The country has contributed Troops and police officers to the peacekeeping mission since June 2004, and at one point had four bases in Haiti. In 2010, the South American nation had 1,200 Soldiers in Haiti; but in early January, Uruguay reduced its contingent of Soldiers in the mission from 700 to 250.

In light of the dismantling of the Martirené Base in early February, the remaining 250 Uruguayan Troops in Haiti gathered in Morne Casse -- where the country's remaining base is located, and where they're scheduled to stay until December 31.

“We will keep the Uruguayan Companies (URUCOY) grouped at the Batalla de las Piedras Base, always ready to nobly raise their flag wherever they are needed in the service of peacekeeping,” the Uruguayan Army reported in a statement.

Providing security


Uruguay and Peru's Soldiers are helping provide security and domestic order to the local civilian population as part of an effort by 21 MINUSTAH nations, who have provided more than 5,000 Soldiers at the request of the Haitian authorities.

MINUSTAH has helped Haiti cope with a variety of security and humanitarian challenges. For example, the mission played a key role following the January 2010 earthquake which registered 7.2 on the Richter scale -- a temblor which killed between 160,000 and 220,00 people, including 96 UN peacekeepers, and damaged about 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial buildings.

“In 2010, with the earthquake, the Military component [MINUSTAH] had to adapt its role to the new situation. It then began to prioritize humanitarian actions, rebuilding the country and improving the living conditions of the population – all of this without forgetting, of course, the security levels that had been attained,” MINUSTAH commander Lieutenant General José Luiz Jaborandy Jr., told Diálogo
in January.

“Currently, the Military component no longer plays a leading role. It has adopted a secondary role in support of the Haitian authorities' actions on security, developing infrastructure, humanitarian actions and improving the living conditions of its population."

Uruguayan Troops have contributed to MINUSTAH in a variety of ways, such as fighting gangs and common criminals, protecting and improving the environment, providing assistance to people who had to live in outdoor camps when the earthquake destroyed their home, and building new highways, according to Julián González, a researcher with the Political Science Institute of the University of the Republic of Uruguay.

Other peacekeeping missions


Haiti is not the only country where Uruguayan Troops are participating in international missions.

As of January 31, there were 1,459 Uruguayan Soldiers and police officers working on UN peacekeeping missions, including MINUSTAH, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), and the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), according to the Troop and Police Contributors report issued by the UN.

Ninety percent of the Troops who serve in the Uruguayan Armed Forces have participated in a foreign mission at some point; the country has historically provided more Troops per capita for UN peacekeeping operations than any other.



Uruguayan Soldiers working with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) recently relinquished control of a Military base in the Caribbean nation.

As part of a plan to draw down the Military component of MINUSTAH, the Uruguayan Soldiers -- “after eight years of outstanding performance" -- permanently closed the Lieutenant Colonel Gonzalo Martirené Base located in the Mirebalais area on February 4.

Closing and dismantling the base was a protracted effort involving 80 Troops working night and day for 28 days. With the support of other contingents -- such as the Bolivian Company (BOLCOY), the Brazilian Battalion (BRABAT), the Brazilian Company of Engineers (BRAENGCOY), the combined Chilean and Ecuadorean Company of Engineers (CHIECUENGCOY), the Guatemalan Company of Military Police (GUAMPCOY) and the Paraguayan Company of Engineers (PARAENGCOY) -- they removed vehicles and packed sensitive equipment to return to Uruguay.

The Soldiers then turned the Military base over to the United Nations in Haiti, which in turn donated it to the local government.

A reduction in Troops


The closing of the Military base coincides with a reduction in the contingent of Uruguayan Troops in MINUSTAH. The country has contributed Troops and police officers to the peacekeeping mission since June 2004, and at one point had four bases in Haiti. In 2010, the South American nation had 1,200 Soldiers in Haiti; but in early January, Uruguay reduced its contingent of Soldiers in the mission from 700 to 250.

In light of the dismantling of the Martirené Base in early February, the remaining 250 Uruguayan Troops in Haiti gathered in Morne Casse -- where the country's remaining base is located, and where they're scheduled to stay until December 31.

“We will keep the Uruguayan Companies (URUCOY) grouped at the Batalla de las Piedras Base, always ready to nobly raise their flag wherever they are needed in the service of peacekeeping,” the Uruguayan Army reported in a statement.

Providing security


Uruguay and Peru's Soldiers are helping provide security and domestic order to the local civilian population as part of an effort by 21 MINUSTAH nations, who have provided more than 5,000 Soldiers at the request of the Haitian authorities.

MINUSTAH has helped Haiti cope with a variety of security and humanitarian challenges. For example, the mission played a key role following the January 2010 earthquake which registered 7.2 on the Richter scale -- a temblor which killed between 160,000 and 220,00 people, including 96 UN peacekeepers, and damaged about 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial buildings.

“In 2010, with the earthquake, the Military component [MINUSTAH] had to adapt its role to the new situation. It then began to prioritize humanitarian actions, rebuilding the country and improving the living conditions of the population – all of this without forgetting, of course, the security levels that had been attained,” MINUSTAH commander Lieutenant General José Luiz Jaborandy Jr., told Diálogo
in January.

“Currently, the Military component no longer plays a leading role. It has adopted a secondary role in support of the Haitian authorities' actions on security, developing infrastructure, humanitarian actions and improving the living conditions of its population."

Uruguayan Troops have contributed to MINUSTAH in a variety of ways, such as fighting gangs and common criminals, protecting and improving the environment, providing assistance to people who had to live in outdoor camps when the earthquake destroyed their home, and building new highways, according to Julián González, a researcher with the Political Science Institute of the University of the Republic of Uruguay.

Other peacekeeping missions


Haiti is not the only country where Uruguayan Troops are participating in international missions.

As of January 31, there were 1,459 Uruguayan Soldiers and police officers working on UN peacekeeping missions, including MINUSTAH, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), and the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), according to the Troop and Police Contributors report issued by the UN.

Ninety percent of the Troops who serve in the Uruguayan Armed Forces have participated in a foreign mission at some point; the country has historically provided more Troops per capita for UN peacekeeping operations than any other.
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