Haiti: Document Shows Martelly’s Plans For New Army
September 28, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Haitian President plans to push ahead with a controversial plan to restore the country’s disbanded military, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press. Martelly’s plan would use $95 million to train and equip a new armed force of around 3,500 soldiers to patrol the country’s borders, keep order during times of crisis and provide opportunities for young people. Another goal of Martelly’s plan would be to someday replace the 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers in the country. The U.N. peacekeepers have faced growing criticism in recent months after a video surfaced of Uruguayan soldiers allegedly sexually abusing an 18-year-old Haitian man. Going along with this is the widely held belief that Nepalese soldiers with the U.N. caused the massive cholera outbreak in the country. Haiti has been without a military since it was disbanded in 1995 under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after years of human right’s abuses and many human rights groups have expressed concern with the idea of restoring the military. “The problems raised in the proposal are real, but there is little basis for believing that the army would be an effective solution,” said attorney Brian Concannon, director and founder of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. “The (army) did not successfully defend the borders against foreign attacks, and the other listed functions — development, disaster response and policing are done more cheaply and efficiently by civilian entities. What the army has done well throughout its history is attack unarmed civilians and stunt democracy.”
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Authorities in Mexico are investigating a group of vigilantes who have announced a campaign to wipe out the Zetas Cartel in the coastal state of Veracruz.
- Five severed heads were found in a wooden box outside a primary school in the Mexican city of Acapulco.
- Authorities in the U.S. arrested Tuesday the suspended head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for South Florida on charges of possessing and distributing images of child pornography over the Internet.
- Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute discovered five human footprints in northern Mexico’s Sierra Tarahumara dating back between 4,500 and 23,000 years.
- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro attacked U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech before the U.N. last week, calling it “gibberish.”
- U.S. officials say they have broken up a marijuana smuggling ring that operated between California and Puerto Rico.
- Authorities in the Dominican Republic say Florida Marlins closer Leo Nuñez will not face charges for using false documents to sign a professional baseball contract.
- Two woman were killed Tuesday in Guatemala when gunmen opened fire inside a beauty parlor in the country’s capital.
Panama proposed creating a regional logistics hub for the United Nations in the country to allow for the quick distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout the region.
- Honduran President Porfirio Lobo was invited by his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez to the next the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLACS) summit in December.
- Nicaragua’s National Coffee Council said that the country will increase production in the next year.
- Bolivian Deputy Interior Minister Marcos Farfan resigned Tuesday following the police crackdown on indigenous protesters blocking the construction of a major highway through Bolivia’s rainforest. Immigration director Maria Rene Quiroga also stepped down in protest, following the resignation of Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon on Monday.
- Nivaldo Riascos Renteria of Colombia was sentenced to 34 years in prison in Seattle for drug trafficking for the FARC.
- Peru’s Monumental stadium has been closed after a 23 year-old fan fell from a box seat to his death during a soccer match on Saturday.
- Brazilian police detained an additional six police officers on Tuesday in connection with the murder of a female judge known for her tough stance on corruption who was shot dead at her home in Niteroí in August.
- Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) leader Alcides Oviedo Brítez said in an interview that journalists would be targeted if they became “informants” for the government.
Image: Hector Garcia @ Flickr.