chapter  10
Brazil’s Grand Design for Combining Global South Solidarity and National Interests: A Discussion of Peacekeeping Operations in Haiti and Timor
ByW. Alejandro Sánchez Nieto
Pages 18

ABSTRACT This study analyzes how Brazil has assumed visible leadership of peacekeeping

operations in order to increase its international status, with the ever-present goal of attaining

a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, but also with the larger aim of cultivating

forms of political-economic, cultural, and military globalization in which the Lusophone

giant can articulate new forms of transnational influence. Brazil’s role in MINUSTAH (the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) and in peacekeeping interventions in Timor have become

cornerstones of Brazilian nationalism, which is evolving into a particular, global South

framed ‘Brazilian exceptionalism’. I will argue that these operations are seen by Brazilian

policymakers as win-win scenarios: Brazil increases its international peacekeeping

credentials while these fragile states obtain internal security, a first step towards

development. But is this what is actually happening? I will conclude by addressing how

peacekeeping in Haiti and Timor fit into Brazil’s grand design for long-term global extension.

Brazil has become Latin America’s powerhouse, with its increasing influence and prestige

reflected in the international extension of its security profile, as it entertains ambitious programs

like developing a nuclear-powered submarine and obtaining a permanent seat on the UN Secur-

ity Council.1 Furthering its international visibility and influence, the Portuguese-speaking nation

has volunteered to serve in a number of UN peacekeeping missions throughout the past decade.

One mission in which Brasilia has taken a leadership role is the UN Stabilization Mission to

Haiti (MINUSTAH), which was created by UN resolution 1542 (April 2004) to aid the

transitional government that took control of Haiti after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was

deposed by a US-supported coup. The goal was to bring order to the country, in coordination

with the Haitian police, and assist with a national reconciliation process. The mission originated

in controversy, as Aristide’s ouster was regarded as unconstitutional, as was the subsequent gov-

ernment of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue (2004-2006). Brazil provided the military comman-

ders for MINUSTAH along with a significant portion of the troops. In view of the January 2010

earthquake that virtually destroyed much of the capital city’s infrastructure, the UN mission is

regarded by its supporters, and in the hopes of Brazilian diplomats, as the cornerstone for a stable

and orderly reconstructed Haiti.