Washington -- U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has praised the nations of
Latin America for helping to promote peace and stability
In an October 14 speech at an Ibero-American
summit in Salamanca, Spain, Annan said 9 Latin American
countries collectively contribute over 3,500 troops of the
7,640 international troops who serve as a peacekeeping force
The United States maintains a small military
staff contingent in Haiti as part of the multinational peacekeeping
force, which is known by the acronym MINUSTAH. Besides its
support for MINUSTAH, the United States is also providing
$15 million to support Haiti's upcoming elections, as part
of a $44 million commitment from international donors to
promote democracy and stability in the Caribbean nation.
In 2004, the United States provided $8.7 million to support
Haiti's electoral process.
Two rounds of legislative and presidential
elections in Haiti are tentatively scheduled to take place
on November 20 and in January of 2006, with local and municipal
elections taking place December 11. A new Haitian president
is expected to take office February 7, 2006.
The Latin American nations contributing
to the MINUSTAH military contingent are Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.
Annan told the heads of state of Latin America,
Spain, and Portugal that Haiti will need further international
aid to break the cycle of violence there, and he appealed
to donor countries for timely and sustained financial support
for Haiti's recovery and reconstruction.
With all its challenges, dangers and promise,
Latin America is a "microcosm" of the world "in
which all that the United Nations stands for is put to the
test," Annan said.
"When I think of this delicate balance
of tremendous promise and urgent perils in the world today,
I think particularly of the nations of Latin America,"
he said. "Because yours is a region that truly hangs
in that delicate balance."
Latin America, said Annan, has seen an "astonishing"
spread of democratic governance, with increased social spending,
improved human development, infant mortality halved by 50
percent, primary education offered to nearly every child,
and millions lifted out of poverty.
"But we also see the stubborn persistence
of inequality and exclusion, along economic, social and
ethnic lines," said Annan. He added that while people
in Latin America believe in democracy, "some have begun
to doubt whether their governments can respond effectively
to the needs of the poor."
Of course, "I do not, for a moment,
pretend that there are easy answers to the challenges"
faced by Latin America, he said. "But I do believe
that the answers will be found in more democracy, not less.
Your democracies must become true citizens' democracies,
governed by a rule of law that applies to everyone, and
willing and able to respond to the needs of all your peoples,
including your indigenous citizens."
For information on U.S. policy in the region,
Washington File Staff Writer