Originally: Alternative Brazilian Policy Urged

On Sept. 6 Sen. Rudolph Boulos met with the chairman of Brazil?s Senate foreign-relations committee Sen. Heráclito Fortes to recommend fundamental changes in Brazil?s policy toward Haiti.

1. Senator Boulos thanked Senator Fortes and Brazil for its leadership of MINUSTAH. Without the deployment of this U.N. stabilization mission since 2004, Haiti might well have suffered several coups by now and be reduced to virtual anarchy.

2. Senator Boulos thanked MINUSTAH for its enormous work in disaster relief.

3. Senator Boulos recalled the effective security presence of MINUSTAH at the polling sites in his department, the Nord?Est, in 2006. Voting in his department had gone peacefully.

4. The senator therefore urged Brazil to keep supporting free and fair elections in Haiti, to protect the constitution of 1987, and to protect parliament. The constitution of 1987 was the only one that had not been written for one person but for the whole people. Parliament was elected by the people in 2006 in free balloting not controlled by the central government in Port-au-Prince.

5. Senator Boulos noted Brazil?s close support for Haiti?s president. Normally, this was a good thing when a president was democratically elected. However, in Haiti, presidents could be destabilizers. They overreached and overstayed until they generated their own opposition, bringing both themselves and the country down.

Brazil would need to watch this problem in order to make this intervention a lasting success, unlike the intervention of the 1990s which failed precisely because of this problem. Generally, past Haitian presidents attacked the structures of democracy in order to stay in power. Now a president was doing this behind the protection of Brazilian troops. Brazil should not let itself be so used. If it didn?t avoid this trap, then both it and MINUSTAH would be set up for failure.

6. The support of MINUSTAH should go equally to the other co-repositories of Haitian sovereignty: the constitution of 1987, parliament, and the machinery for free and fair elections.

7. Elections to fill the missing third of the senate were a year late, and were being delayed until they could be rigged.  The current electoral commission was handpicked by the Haitian president and the bylaws were rewritten to exclude impartial management. A more proactive, hands-on role by MINUSTAH was indicated. MINUSTAH should accept no less than the level it achieved in the elections of 2006. The Haitian and Brazilian senates could promote this together as an act of solidarity.

8. Senator Forte expressed himself fully in favor of parliamentary cooperation and congratulated the senators of Haiti for all their actions to promote it.