With Kearsage on the way to Haiti, it might be helpful to delve a bit into the situation there.
The country has been suffering from extreme poverty and instability for quite some time. In 2004, a military coup ousted President Aristide (for the second time), prompting the deployment of a force comprised of U.S. Marines, as well as Canadian and French soldiers. They served as peacekeepers until the U.N. put together MINUSTAH (the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti).
MINUSTAH, comprised mostly of Brazilian troops, has faced several challenges. While many peacekeepers around the world complain there is no peace to keep, MINUSTAH actually was deployed without any peace agreement to enforce. Their mission was to deal with the rampant gang-related violence in Haiti’s urban center that disrupted development, aid and trade.
Though some human rights groups have criticized MINUSTAH, the peacekeepers have effectively put a lid on the gang problem. Unfortunately, lulls in violence have not been accompanied by influxes of aid or investment. This lack of progress has continually resulted in violent riots (like the recent food riots) that MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police have to put down. This exacerbated by the chaos brought by tropical storms.
In many ways, U.N. strategy in Haiti is the opposite of that in Africa. Darfuris in Chad are being bombarded with aid (and making Chadians bitter), while an under-equipped peacekeeping force in Darfur is tasked with protecting people from government militias and bandit minded rebels. Meanwhile in Haiti, a very well equipped force is keeping the peace, but is unable to get the development resources that could sustain it.
I know the folks at MINUSTAH will be thrilled to get any help they can get.