Saturday, January 7, 2006

Suicide in Haiti

The Associated Press is reporting that the commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Lieut. Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar (of Brazil), has been discovered quite mysteriously dead, apparently by his own hand. General Bacellar's body was found on the balcony of his room at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince. The MINUSTAH press release says he was 58 years old, and had been in the Brazilian military for 39 years. General Bacellar has been replaced, temporarily, by a Chilean general.
Most curious. Although I would probably feel somewhat suicidal at being assigned responsibility for maintaining order in Haiti -- the place is a madhouse at the best of times -- Lieutenant-Generals are not usually of a suicidal disposition. Still, calling the UN role in Haiti a "Stabilization Mission" represents the triumph of optimism over experience. A better, more accurate name for the UN Mission would be "United Nations Chaos Management Mission in Haiti."

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