Haiti: Fmr Costa Rica President Tells Martelly Army is Enemy of Development, Peace and Freedom [LETTER]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 0 comments

Tuesday, 06 December 2011 09:58 

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica  - The former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, has sent a letter to President Michel Martelly saying that an army would be an enemy of development, peace and freedom.
Mr. Michel Martelly
President, Republic of Haiti.
Dear Mr. President,
Although I have not the pleasure of knowing you personally, I have taken the liberty to write at of your country, where political events are being followed with great interest. My words emerge from the affection I feel for the Haitian people. I do not intend to disrespect the sovereignty of a sister nation, I just want to give advice that I see written on the wall in the history of mankind: in Latin America, most armies have been enemies of development and enemies of peace and enemies of freedom.
In much of the world, and especially in our region, the military has been the source of the most thankless collective memory. It was the military boot that trampled the human rights of our brothers. It was the general voice of the bloodiest arrest warrants delivered for students and artists. It was the hand of the soldier who shot in the back of innocent people. In the best case scenario, the Latin American armies have been prohibitively expensive for our economies. And at worst, have meant a permanent source of instability for our democracies.
The project Politique de Securite Nationale Defense raises fuzzy objectives such as the alleged need to restore dignity and sovereignty with the reinstallation of the Haitian army. Haiti does not need to recreate the army. Its internal security may be in charge of a police professional and well trained force, with the necessary resources to ensure effective law enforcement and national security gains nothing from a military aircraft that will never be more powerful than their neighbors.
As you well know, Haiti, along with Guatemala and Nicaragua, occupy the bottom three places in the region in the human development index prepared by the United Nations Development Programme. Perhaps no coincidence that these three countries share among other things have or have had strong armies and reduced social investment in education and health. The $95 million project that is sought in the Politique de Securite Nationale Defense should be invested in education for your people, health care for their children, to strengthen democratic institutions to ensure minimum political stability in order to restore confidence Haitians and the international cooperation, whose help is essential and will remain so for a while longer.
Like Costa Rica, Haiti, is also a small country. Its tropical climate it is exposed to storms and hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
However, my country is ranked 69 in the world in human development index, and a child born today in Costa Rica is expected to live 79.1 years. Haiti is ranked 145, but the life expectancy of 17.4 years for a Haitian child is less than the Costa Rican child. Similarly we could talk about the years of schooling, or efforts to reduce the digital divide or of the "Venture", which provides a stipend to mothers who need to have their sons and daughters leave school. The difference between the population of a country and another is in education, years of schooling, teaching, diversified and full access to information technology and communication. The population of polite society has many more opportunities and sources can aspire to better jobs.
Mr. President Martelly, there was a time when my people bordered to the north and south with the dictatorship. There was a time when the whistle of shrapnel sounded very close to our borders. Instead of taking up arms, Costa Rica went to fight for peace in Central America. We did not need the army. On the contrary, be demilitarized allowed us to be perceived as allies of all parties to the conflict.
In 1994, after intense debate among the various political forces in Panama, which actively participate Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, and I finally passed Congress, through a constitutional reform, the abolition of the forces military. Since then, Costa Rica and Panama share a border more peaceful world. And not coincidentally, are also the two most successful economies of Central America, because the money that our Almighty destinábamos now devoted to the education of our children and the health of our citizens.
In 1995 Haiti decided to demobilize its armed forces and put an end to an eternal string of coups. This was a decision that the whole world applauded. The Arias Foundation and I, again, we contribute to this wise decision. For Haiti, to enter into that select group of Latin American countries without armed forces, along with Costa Rica and Panama, opened a window of hope that must be kept open.
Mr. President, my relationship with Haiti dates back almost twenty years ago. Since then come asking the developed world not to abandon Haiti, which condones its foreign debt, which a helping hand, cooperation is abundant and timely and that indifference is not an option. But Haiti also has its own responsibilities, and one of them is to adopt the right policy decisions. Try reinstalling the army would be a mistake and that is why I can not remain silent.
Haiti can recover your dignity when all children and young people can see the future with hope and the winds blow Caribbean equally fortunate for everyone. That's what the people deserve, Mr. President, and tell me to do.
Oscar Arias Sanchez
President of Costa Rica 1986-1990/2006-2010
Nobel Peace Prize 1987