Trapped between many worlds: a post-colonial perspective on the UN Mission in Haiti (Minustah)

From a post-colonial perspective, this article argues that the Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haiti (MINUSTAH) helps in our understanding of how the conventional peace operation model is, at the field-level, constantly challenged and renegotiated. Formally conceived as a francophone mission operating in a francophone country, MINUSTAH's deployment and interactions on the ground proved to be complex. Composed of a majority of Latin American troops, MINUSTAH has been exposed to symbolic and material pressures that range from the UN ‘liberal peace model’, French colonial heritage and previous US interference, to post-colonial worldviews and local demands. Benefitting from the combination of an academic approach and a practitioner's perspective this article demonstrates that although MINUSTAH was framed inside a specific UN mission pattern, grounded in a supposedly dominant francophone culture and located on the ‘outskirts’ of the United States, it has been subjected to a plurality of other pressures – such as demands from leading contributing countries – and opened to multiple re-articulations of its original mandate. This article politicizes the multiple encounters between a pre-defined peace operation model and everyday field realities.


Carlos C. V. Braga , Maíra Síman Gomes , Marta Fernández,

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