By Augusto Scarella Arce /Diálogo April 24, 2017 In early March 2004, part of a Chilean battalion arrived on Air Force planes in Port-au-Prince to join the Multinational Interim Force authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1529 to support the peaceful and constitutional continuation of the political process and to maintain a secure and stable environment. Together with forces from other partner nations, 160 Chileans, the majority of them members of the special forces, quickly assimilated the conditions of chaos and the lack of public safety that prevailed at that time. Days later, after the Chilean Congress authorized it, they received reinforcement from 350 Infantry troops with their respective combat supports. Thus began Operation Secure Tomorrow, which by the end of April already had 2,000 United States, around 900 French, more than 500 Canadian, and nearly 350 Chilean personnel. Chile joined other nations that were trained for rapid and effective deployments in hostile environments, and it had a successful debut in its assignments to various peacekeeping operations. Today’s United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, per its French acronym), replaced the Multinational Interim Force on June 1st of that year, and it has come to include more than 6,700 personnel from various countries. Reaping the rewards Thirteen years later, Haiti has experienced various positive changes, particularly in terms of the security and stability of its population. On October 13, 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2313, which extended MINUSTAH’s mandate to April 15, 2017. In said resolution, the Security Council decided that the maximum MINUSTAH contingency would be 2,370 service members and a police component of 2,601 personnel. On August 31, 2016, the Chilean Permanent Mission to the UN informed the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, of the decision to withdraw Chilean troops from Haiti in the second half of April 2017. Included in the aforementioned document was the withdrawal of service members and other personnel from the general headquarters. The notice indicated, however, a willingness to maintain the presence of the police personnel. Since that date, the withdrawal of the Chilean forces has been planned in different stages. The Chilean units began their withdrawal on April 15th, after standing down their operations. Similarly, the Salvadoran, Honduran, and Mexican contingents that were part of the joint international force will also be withdrawn. For Chile’s Minister of Defense, José Antonio Gómez, the expectations that the UN placed on his nation to support Haiti were met. “Proof of that is how their responsibilities kept increasing. We were part of the operational command of the troops deployed there, and we were even represented by the secretary general through Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés. Chile was an active member in this mission and we are returning home with the satisfaction of a job well done, having returned the nation of Haiti to its development of democratic institutions.” Evidence of the level of comprehensive development and the scope of Chile’s capabilities was demonstrated in its withdrawal plan. “The fact that the withdrawal of our forces is being carried out using our own resources, those that our national defense keeps in a constant state of operational readiness, holds great political and strategic significance. It mainly shows that Chile is capable of acting in situations beyond its region without needing to resort to contracting private services for its deployment,” Gómez added. “The experience, interoperability, skills, and abilities that all of our personnel have acquired through their participation in these operations in Haiti are invaluable, and they have been carried over to the rest of our Chilean Armed Forces as lessons learned, being incorporated into our institutional doctrines for education and training,” said Air Force Lieutenant General Arturo Merino Núñez, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Our troops’ conduct in the Haitian operations was exemplary. According to my assessment, having analyzed 13 years of operations — a period in which nearly 12,000 Chilean personnel participated — I believe that the conduct of our personnel was outstanding. No incidents were recorded that could be characterized as crimes. There were just a few isolated cases that were dealt with through disciplinary action in accordance with Chilean military regulations, and that are capable of occurring given the size of the force that was deployed,” he asserted. Homecoming Chile’s participation in Haiti has had a significant impact on the development of mechanisms for international cooperation in the area of defense. The work carried out from June 2004 onward by the Joint Chilean-Ecuadorian Engineering Company, which returned home in 2015, represented a novel effort in the South American region with regard to joining together the willingness of states and their defense institutions to contribute to the control, consolidation, and protection of peace in a sister nation. This initiative marked a turning point in the region, and in Chile’s case, that was translated into its collaboration with El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico, which, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively, were incorporated into MINUSTAH’s Chile Battalion. The purpose of this development is to improve the standards of enlistment and training in the Chilean Armed Forces, a situation that has undergone an empirical review through the involvement of Chile’s Armed and Security Forces in national emergency situations in which they have employed the experiences and capabilities acquired in the Haitian operations. Chile is leaving behind great work in Haiti; work which, over the course of 13 years of uninterrupted relations, has seen moments of joy for each achievement, but also moments of sadness when mourning their fallen.
Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 26 NFL players had decided to opt out of the coming season, including Patriots’ linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung – two of six New England players opting out – as well as Ravens wide receiver/returner De’Anthony Thomas, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay Tardif, Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Players currently have until early next week to opt out, and you can be certain there will be more.And then there’s this from the land of make-believe: Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Tuesday the school plans to limit attendance to 20 percent of capacity at its home football games. This assumes that there will be a college football season this fall.Right. Never assume, especially outside the [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter We have all wanted so desperately for this to work.It’s an experiment, really, a one-of-its-kind venture played out over several different stages in several different ways. The risks hit home with a resounding thud Monday, when baseball games in two cities had to be canceled and an outbreak of the coronavirus among the Miami Marlins brought into stark relief just how risky it is to conduct sports in a pandemic on anything even close to an “as usual” basis.When MLB announced Tuesday that the Marlins’ season was suspended through Sunday, and other teams’ schedules were revamped to deal with the real-time health crisis, it was a reminder of just how much of a high wire act this is.And if those in charge in other sports – especially the NFL, and especially college football – haven’t been paying close attention and reconsidering their own futures, isn’t that a form of malpractice? But if people did things right and an outbreak took place anyway, and if that continues to happen, at what point do you shut the whole thing down?“This could put it in danger,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day by day basis.”Unsaid in that last sentence but presumably implied: The word “yet.”It is one thing to try to create a hermetically-sealed environment to keep the virus out or at least contained, as the NWSL, MLS, NBA, WNBA and NHL have attempted or are attempting. As described by our Laker beat writer, Kyle Goon, who is in the NBA bubble in Orlando, the restrictions are severe and so are the consequences – four to 10 days in quarantine – but the upshot is a reasonable amount of confidence that the conditions are safe.Baseball eschewed the bubble concept and it probably wasn’t doable anyway. With the number of games involved and the number of fields necessary, no way could you bring an entire league or division to one campus or even one city.“The NBA and the NHL have an advantage: smaller numbers of players, shorter period of time,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a Monday interview on the MLB Network. “I understand why they did what they did. I’m just not sure it was workable for us.”But trying to play even a shortened season with protocols in a quasi-normal environment, with buses, planes and hotels nearly half the time and the honor system governing behavior away from the field, is incredibly risky. It requires perfect buy-in from every player because the chain reaction from just one screwup could imperil a season. And we’ve already seen in one weekend of play that players aren’t even observing the in-stadium bans on spitting, high-fiving and leaning on the dugout railings without using a towel, all part of what is supposed to be an ironclad protocol.MLB issued a statement Tuesday that of more than 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, no new positives had come from any club besides the Marlins. That’s nice but deceptive given the lag between exposure and infection. Let’s see what happens after another week of buses, planes, hotels, etc. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Meanwhile, NFL people are indeed paying attention to baseball’s issues, but they have their own, too. Consider this sobering development: Eric Sugarman is the Minnesota Vikings’ head trainer, vice president of sports medicine and director of the team’s virus prevention plan, and he has tested positive for coronavirus.“We know how they do things there, and we’re all under the same protocol,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said Monday. “We know they’re very strict there.“Reality hits hard on this. You can’t let your guard down at any point, any time.”Related Articles Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros The house of cards started to lean Sunday, when the Marlins played anyway in Philadelphia after four players tested positive for the coronavirus. By Tuesday that number was up to 15 players and two coaches, the Washington Nationals players had voted not to travel to Miami for their weekend series – a mass opt-out, in a sense – and MLB made it a moot point by benching the Marlins for the week, putting the Phillies on ice until Friday, and scheduling a two-game series in Baltimore Wednesday and Thursday between the Yankees (who were supposed to play the Phillies) and the Orioles (who were supposed to play the Marlins), with further rescheduling on the fly to come.Basically, five days into a season that was supposed to cram 60 games into 66 days, the schedule is already a mess in the NL East.Five days.And yes, as Angels manager Joe Maddon noted Monday before his team’s game in Oakland, it is best to reserve judgment until we know if this was just horrible luck or personal irresponsibility on the part of one or more players on those teams.“If it was more extemporaneous, and everything was followed and this popped in there, it would be more problematic,” he said. “However, if it’s more readily explainable by retracing, then you start – not jumping to conclusions but creating some adjustments.” Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error