First Sergeant Guillermo Arévalo of the Chilean
Navy died Sunday morning after being brutally attacked and shot four
times while leaving a restaurant in suburban Port-au-Prince, Haiti on
Arévalo was part of the defense attaché for the Chilean
embassy in Haiti. Apart from Arévalo there are also several hundred
soldiers from Chile’s Armed Forces who are currently serving in Haiti as
part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission (MINUSTAH) in the country. In
addition to Chile, many other countries have deployed armed forces to
Haiti, with the total number of foreign troops in the country nearing
11,000. In the eight years Chile has been a part of MINUSTAH, Arévalo is
the country’s first casualty.
Arévalo’s death has prompted several Chilean senators to question
the country’s role in Haiti. Sen. Juan Antonio Coloma from Chile’s
far-right Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party, expressed his
support for reevaluating Chile’s objectives in Haiti.
shouldn’t be a drastic revision,” he said. “The least we could do would
be to consider in greater detail what the objective of Chile’s military
presence in Haiti is.”
Coloma’s sentiments were not shared by all in Congress.
death of a member of the Air Force is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t
cause us to question the real reason for our troops’ presence in Haiti,
which is to bring peace to the country,” Jose Pizarro of Chile’s
center-left Christian Democrat (DC) party said.
Eugenio Tuma of Chile’s liberal Party for Democracy (PPD) and Carlos
Kuschel of Chile’s center-right National Renewal (RN) party have also
been outspoken in their support of Chile’s sustained presence in Haiti.
is unique in that it is the first UN operation that has been led
predominantly by troops from Latin American countries, notably Chile and
Brazil. The UN’s peacekeeping presence in Haiti commenced in 2004,
following the coup d’etat that ousted President Bertrand Aristide.
Chile's participation is expected to continue through 2017.
Chile’s Senate voted to extend the presence of Chilean troops in Haiti
through June 1, 2013, with a vote of 31 in favor and seven against.
By Chris Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012 – The Santiago Times